July 2003
Cape Town to become lead brand for the Western Cape

The Western Cape Province and the City of Cape Town are to pool their funds in marketing the city and province to leisure tourists visiting the region on holiday or to attend specific events, to businesspersons attending conventions and exhibitions or wishing to invest in the region, to the film industry shooting commercials and features, and to consumers in other countries buying exports from the region.

Having identified a large degree of duplication in marketing funds spent by the agencies representing the interests of the city and province, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed last week, whereby the City and Province undertook to establish a new joint marketing company, to be called the Cape Town Tourism and Events Company, at the beginning of this month.

To facilitate the establishment of this company, the six local tourism bureaus serving the greater Cape Town metropolitan area are to be disestablished. The members of Oostenberg, Blaauwberg, Peninsula, Tygerberg and Helderberg Tourism Bureaus have voted to disestablish and to be incorporated into the new company from 1 October. Cape Town Tourism members will be asked to vote to join the new company in September.

A new transitional Board of Directors is to be appointed next month, which in turn will appoint the CEO and Management team of the Company. A budget of R 60 million is available to the Company, of which 70 % is earmarked for marketing the City and Province. In July 2004 a new Board will be appointed when the Company, currently a section 21 company, becomes a statutory body.

The new Company will tackle seasonality and direct air access to Cape Town as two important industry issues. It has been agreed that Cape Town is the destination brand name that will attract tourists into the City and Province. The brand name that will be used in marketing campaigns and on tourism products, together with the logo, has not yet been launched to the industry. The marketing approach will also focus on the better integration between Leisure, Business and Events tourism. The branding developed will also be applied on produce exported overseas, e.g. wines, fruit. A greater representivity of the players in the industry is also be a priority.

A new e-business strategy will see the launch in 2004 of a database of all tourism products and members across the province, allowing bookings to be made province-wide from any tourism bureau in the City and Province. Real-time bookings can be made through the system.

The new Provincial Minister of Tourism and Gambling, Mrs Joyce Witbooi, appointed a day after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, will take the tourism industry transformation forward with Alderman Clifford Sitonga, her City counterpart

Convention Centre opening strung out !

Violins and strings formed the foundation of the grand Opening Ceremony of the new Cape Town International Convention Centre on 28 June. More than 6000 guests experienced the fine new Convention Centre, and the show which featured Vanessa Mae and Sibongile Khumalo as the star performers. Mae received R 2 million for her performance, and the budget for the evening was in excess of R 10 million.

Invited guests spent a very long evening in the Convention Centre, having been requested to arrive at 17h30. The crème de la crème of tourism stood for three hours, having their dinner and drinks before the show started.

The four hour long Opening Ceremony Show in the Exhibition Hall was preceded by three speeches. Unbeknown to the audience, Vanessa Mae had apparantly fallen ill, and had to be attended to by President Mbeki's medical team, whilst Sibongile Khumalo had to stretch her performance, to allow the jazz violin star time to recover. When Vanessa Mae started her professional and electrifying performance, all sitting and seating discomfort was soon forgotten.

The Convention Centre was constructed in a record 24 months and covers 64 000 square meters. It received R 140 million in funding from SunWest, R 142 million from the Western Cape provincial government and R 284 million from the City of Cape Town. South Africa RAI, with its head office in Amsterdam, was selected as the Convention Centre operator.

The Convention Centre offers a diverse range of facilities: 1500 seat auditorium, 620 seat auditorium, 400 person roof terrace meeting room with a view of Table Mountain, 33 break-out rooms that can cater for 25 - 320 persons each, 10 000 square meters of exhibition space, three restaurants, a 2000 square meter ball room and other banqueting rooms, and 1400 parking bays.

Delegates attending conferences at the Convention Centre are estimated to spend R 1413 per day, about 40 % more than the equivalent spend of a leisure tourist. The South African Conventions and Exhibitions industry generates R 20 billion and represents 246 000 jobs.

The canal linking the Convention Centre to the Waterfront will be flooded in August, reports The Argus. Water taxis will transport guests between the two points.

Cape Town goes to the movies!

In August the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape province will appoint one of six bidders to operate the official Cape Film Studio.

Each bidding company has chosen a different venue, which could benefit the adjacent area tremendously if it is appointed. Empowerment linkages characterise all bids, being an important requirement in the tender document.

The Cape Town Motion Picture Company has chosen Culemborg in the city centre as its desired site. This company has built its bid on the historic past and close proximity to Woodstock and District Six. The company has linked with Malaysian financiers and a Los Angeles film studio.

The Ikapa Film Consortium has selected Capricorn Park in Muizenberg as its location for the proposed film studio. It is hoped that this bid will revitalise the business park. Basetsana Kumalo, well-known TV presenter and producer, is one of the bid partners, as is Maundy Vundla, who has produced the popular TV series Backstage and has just completed "Country of my Skull", starring Juliette Binoche and Samuel L. Jackson.

One of South Africa's best known film producers, Anant Singh, heads up the Dreamworld consortium. His company has chosen a site in Faure near Stellenbosch.

The other three bidding companies are Cape Film and Tourism World, Cape Town Film City and Cape Town Film Studios. No details about these three companies have been released, other than that the sites chosen by these three companies include the Ysterplaat airforce base, Vergenoegd farm off the N2 highway, and the Conradie Hospital.

The winning film studio bid will be selected with the help of Australian Rod Allan, an independent consultant and producer, reports the Cape Times. Allan has stated that Cape Town is seen to be a growing film destination of the world.

The City of Cape Town has prepared for comment a draft policy for film and photographic locations, to address the often strained relationship between the residents of Cape Town and the film production companies. Increasingly, residents and retailers affected by film productions are making themselves heard. The criticisms are linked to the significant growth in the film industry in Cape Town - in 1999 the City Film Office issued 890 permits, which increased to more than 4000 permits in 2002.

Some of the guidelines contained in the Commercial Film and Photographic Location Policy is that production companies would have to inform and consult with ward councillors, businesses and civic organisations about planned film shoots, according to the Cape Times. All affected parties within a 250 meter radius will also have to receive a letter at least 24 hours ahead of the shoot. A staff member of the Cape Town Film Office will have to be present at shoots, as must be an environmental control officer where shoots take place in environmentally sensitive areas. The impact on public transportation and parking requirements will have to be stated in permit applications.

The joint stand of the Cape Town Film Commission and the Gauteng Film Office won third place overall in the Association of Film Commissioners Awards in Los Angeles, achieving second place on the informativeness offered. Visa requirements, crew rates and other vital information was packaged to present South Africa as a vital film destination.

The Cape Town Film Commission has announced that 25 % of all film shoot fees will be placed into a trust fund, to finance the maintenance and upgrade of public facilities which are used for film shoots.

Whale of a winter at Whale Cottage Camps Bay

Rennies Travel, one of the largest travel agencies in South Africa, has selected Whale Cottage Camps Bay for one of its promotional winter special package offers.

The Rennies package offers a Fly Drive Stay package from Johannesburg for 2 nights at Whale Cottage Camps Bay for R 1484, including airfare, car rental and accommodation.

Discounted winter rates have led to record occupancy levels at Whale Cottage Camps Bay during the past two months.

Drivers Beware : Penguins Crossing

A first ever Penguin Crossing has been introduced on Main Road at Boulders Beach outside Simonstown, home to the African Penguins and popular penguin spot. The Penguin Crossing has been introduced due to the increasing number of penguins crossing this busy road to reach their nests.

The African Penguin population in the province has increased by 19 %, largely due to volunteer help when oil spills occur and leave their mark on the penguins.

Hermanus cleanest in the Cape

The Overstrand municipality, covering the towns of Hermanus, Gansbaai, Kleinmond and Betty's Bay, beat 23 other municipalities to win the Western Cape Cleanest Town Campaign, and will go forward to the national competition for the R 1 million prize. Elements evaluated were physical cleanliness, monitoring and enforcement, equipment of the collection of refuse, community mobilisation, public participation and awareness and education.

The Competition forms part of the Clean-Up Campaign, launched by Valli Moosa, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, to improve the quality of life of all South Africans.

The Knysna and Oudtshoorn municipalities won second and third place, respectively, in the Campaign competition.

Flights to Cape Town

Direct non-stop flights to Cape Town will be offered by KLM and LTU during the next summer season.

Lufthansa will take all its flights to Cape Town via Johannesburg, and will re-introduce its Johannesburg - Munich flights.

LTU will commence its direct flights to Cape Town from 1 November, but has scheduled three flights on 8, 15, and 22 October to meet demand.

Cathay Pacific Airways increases its Johannesburg - Hong Kong flights back to four per week this month, and to five a week in August.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is introducing five non-stop flights between Cape Town and Amsterdam from October for the first time.

SAA's retaliation to the cheeky fares of internet airline kulula.com is late night flights between Cape Town and Johannesburg on Tuesdays and Saturdays, at R 695 return.

Whale Tourism recognised

The International Whaling Commission meeting in Berlin in June highlighted the power of whale tourism, in that it voted in favour of a motion to form a conservation panel. German Minister of Agriculture Renate Kuenast encouraged whaling nations to develop whale watching as an industry, rather than pursue the hunting of the mammals.

At the Commission meeting recent research, confirming that 300 000 whales, dolphins and porpoises are accidentally caught up in fishing nets, was presented. Member countries were called upon to address this problem, as it could lead to the depletion of these species over time.

Sweet & Sour Service

The WhaleTales Sweet Award once again goes to John Stopford, Portfolio Manager of Investec Asset Management, whose query about the calculation of the inflation rate by Statistics South Africa led to a 2 percentage point lower inflation rate, and a subsequent cut in the interest rate by 1,5 percentage points to 15,5 % in June. A further interest rate cut is expected in August.

The WhaleTales Sour Award goes to the City of Cape Town Road Signage Department, which has used the abbreviation "CTICC" for all signage leading to the new Cape Town International Convention Centre. Conference delegates and exhibition visitors from out of town could be excused for thinking that "CTICC" may be a new ten pin bowling alley in Cape Town, given the visual linked to the abbreviation on the signage!

WhaleTales is a newsletter issued by the Whale Cottage Guest House Portfolio and is edited by Chris von Ulmenstein.
Christiane von Ulmenstein
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