JULY 2004
TOURISM MARKETING COMES HOME

South African Tourism has launched a new marketing strategy and campaign, aimed at encouraging South Africans to travel in their own country.

Called "Sho't Left", the campaign recognises that locals made 49 million trips in the 2002/3 season, to the value of R 47 billion, compared to only 6,5 million tourists arriving from overseas, at an almost equal value of R 54 billion in the same period.

The Domestic Marketing Strategy is aimed at reducing seasonality during the winter months, improving the geographic spread of tourism destinations, and increasing the volume and value of tourism revenue.

Whilst only 15 % of South Africans travel locally on holiday, they account for 44 % of tourism expenditure. More than two-thirds of locals travelled locally to visit friends and relatives, accounting for 37 % of the value.

The Western Cape province lies in fourth place as a tourism destination for locals, after Kwazulu Natal, which receives almost three times as many visitors, and Gauteng and the Eastern Cape. Local travellers are mainly from Kwazulu Natal and Gauteng, and 60 % tend to travel inside their own province first and foremost.

South African Tourism research indicates that the largest spending tourism segments are young couples and families, and "Golden Active" couples, jointly worth just less than R 9 billion.

Running alongside the Domestic Campaign is an International Campaign, which uses media such as DVD's handed out on SAA flights, cinema, IMAX, TV, and touch screens at airports and travel agents to advertise South Africa. The decor of South African embassies and information offices around the world is to be standardised, to tie in with the campaign, and South African Tourism staff will wear clothes by top local designers to functions.

The International Campaign, with a budget of R 460 million spent in 20 countries, emphasises South Africa's natural beauty, its rich cultures, its celebration of music and dance, and heritage of freedom.

GRAND FARCE AT GRAND WEST!

The inaugural meeting of the Cape Town Visitor Services Association, held at the end of June at the Grand West Casino, turned out to be an event criticised by the industry for many irregularities, and has left the interests of Cape Town Tourism members unrepresented in this new body.

Created by the Destination Marketing Organisation for the Western Cape and Cape Town (DMO), a body established a year ago with provincial and City of Cape Town funding, the Cape Town Visitor Services Association is a conglomeration of the six tourism bureaus which serve the greater Cape Town area, and their 2 400 joint members

Cape Town Tourism, which was voted by its members to deregister and join the Cape Town Visitor Services Association, still has not been transferred into the Association. It is the model for the proposed Cape Town Visitor Services Association.

Two Cape Town Tourism members were nominated for the Executive Committee of the Cape Town Visitor Services Association, together with seven other tourism players frm the other tourism bureaus. Neither of the two Cape Town Tourism members were voted on to the four elected positions on the Executive Committee, even though Cape Town Tourism represents 50 % of the membership of the new Association! Cape Town Tourism's Chairman officially represents Cape Town Tourism on the Executive Committee, but the company he works for does not operate in the Cape Town Tourism geographic area (City Bowl and Atlantic Seaboard), nor is it a member of a tourism bureau in the greater Cape Town, or of Cape Town Tourism specifically.

The Executive Committee voting procedures were criticised, for not having numbered ballot papers, for non-members being able to vote, and for nominees not being adequately introduced to the total membership. Furthermore, members of all tourism bureaus, other than those of Cape Town Tourism, were bussed in to Grand West at the expense of the DMO.

The Cape Town Visitor Services Association has been described by the DMO as "... separate and independent to the DMO...", but in reality the DMO plays a dominant role in it, with seven of the twelve seats of the Executive Committee having been allocated to the DMO prior to the inaugural meeting. All major decisions by the Association have to be made in consultation with the DMO, according to the Constitution of the Association.

In a surprise move, the DMO disallowed questions at the inaugural meeting, even regarding the Constitution of the new Association, which had to be approved by the members at the meeting. A further surprise announcement, and not yet catered for in the Constitution, was that three additional seats are to be created on the Executive Committee for previously disadvantaged tourism players.

A month after its creation, the Cape Town Visitor Services Association has just sent its first newsletter to members, updating them on new developments.

CAPE TOWN CBD CONFIDENCE

The Cape Town Central Business District is seeing an unprecedented boom in new developments that are planned for its city centre, contrary to the trend to move businesses out of such areas.

The former Old Mutual building in Darling Street, an Art Deco building, is being developed into an apartment block, as are fourteen other similar projects. In Adderley Street, further apartments, a 4-star hotel and restaurants are to be developed.

An Irish developer has bought a block of buildings on Wale, Adderley, Burg and Church Streets, and is creating 150 apartments, a six star hotel with 130 beds, parking, a winery, restaurants and retail outlets, at the cost of R 400 million. It is to be called Mandela Rhodes Place.

WHALE COTTAGE CAMPS BAY GETS TOP BILLING

Whale Cottage Camps Bay has been featured in the August issue of Top Billing, a new magazine which was launched in June to tie in with the popular TV programme.

Whale Cottage Camps Bay has also just been used for a shoot for Oprah magazine.

TOURISM TOPS

South Africa generally, and Cape Town specifically, remains a popular tourism destination reaping important tourism awards.

Cape Town has been voted as the number one Long Haul Destination for the business meeting and incentive travel market by the UK 2004 Trends and Spends Survey. The Mother City beat New York, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Dubai, New Orleans, Orlando, Barbados and Las Vegas. Long haul travel represents 27 % of the travel market.

Subscribers to Travel & Leisure magazine from the USA voted five South African hotels in their Top 10 Hotels in the world list, including Singita Private Game Reserve, which was voted as the Top Hotel, Bushman's Kloof Wilderness Reserve, Londolozi and Phinda Resource Reserve. Other local hotels making the Top 100 list include the Cape Grace, Table Bay Hotel, Grande Roche, The Plettenberg, The Grace, and Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve. The survey also voted Cape Town as the fifth best city in the world, after Sydney, Rome, Florence and Bangkok, and the best city in Africa and the Middle East, ahead of Fez, Marrakech, Jerusalem, and Cairo.

HOTELS UNITE FOR CONVENTION ACCOMMODATION

FEDHASA Western Cape, representing the interests of hotels, has signed a charter with the Cape Town International Convention Centre, to jointly promote Cape Town as a convention destination, and to attract more convention business during the quieter winter months through keen rates packages.

Convention competition is increasing in South Africa, with almost every major city in the country boasting a state of the art convention centre. Pretoria and Port Elizabeth are also developing international convention centres.

The charter also looks to standardise booking conditions and procedures across all players, and to offer broadband internet facilities for convention delegate accommodation.

The charter stems from the poor benefit the hotels and other accommodation establishments in Cape Town have experienced from the launch of the Convention Centre a year ago, despite promises to the contrary.

Rick Taylor, previously Head of the Cape Town Convention Bureau, and another casualty of the establishment of the DMO, has joined South African Tourism to market the country and its cities as an international convention, incentive trip, event and exhibition destination.

According to Business Report, he has acknowledged that the benefits of the Cape Town International Convention Centre to the accommodation industry in Cape Town have been disappointing, and puts this down to smaller conventions having been held to date, which have been largely accommodated by the Arabella Sheraton Hotel, which is adjacent to the Convention Centre. However, Taylor expects larger conferences to be booked as of 2005. For example, the International Diabetic Association has booked its conference in Cape Town for 2008, and is expecting 10 000 delegates.

Cape Town is currently in 32nd position of Top Conference destinations. It is aimed to see Cape Town in the Top 10 list by 2010.

WHALE WATCHING WELCOMED

South Africa is fighting the lifting of a ban on commercial whale hunting and the killing of whales for scientific research, in order to protect its whale watching industry.

South African Department of Environment Affairs and Tourism Deputy Director, Horst Kleinschmidt, has been elected as Vice-Chairman of the International Whaling Commission, at its annual general meeting, which has just been held in Italy. Japan is strongly in favour of commercial whaling and is the largest consumer of whale meat, having been allowed to hunt whales for "scientific " purposes in the past, reports the Cape Times.

A study has found that killer whales off the American West Coast are struggling to make themselves heard as a result of an increasing number of whale watching boats in the area, says a report in the Cape Times. The length of the killer whales' calls has increased by 15 % when boats are in their vicinity.

GUEST HOUSE GUIDE

Shelley Winter, owner of Tonquani Lodge in Knysna, has written a candid and frank book, documenting the hard work she put into the property she and her husband bought on the outskirts of Knysna, and developed into what has now become a 5-star graded B & B/Guest House, and three-time winner of the AA Accommodation Awards.

Called "From Zero to Winner", the book also contains useful guidelines to running a guest house, including branding, licenses required, networking with other guest houses, dealing with difficult guests and their complaints, and dealing with staff.

The book can be ordered from Tonquani Lodge at tonquani@mweb.co.za

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