May 2003
Golf Tourism keeps Western Cape on the ball!

Golf Tourism in the Western Cape is worth R 233 million, and has the capacity to more than double in value in the next few years. This estimate was presented at a Cape Town Tourism function by Gert Blij of Golf SA Tours.

The Western Cape has 35 out of a total of 69 golf courses which are deemed by Blij to be tourist friendly. Most of the golf courses in Cape Town are however close to saturation level, in offering a limited opportunity for tourists to play at their courses. The golf courses in the Winelands and Garden Route have good capacity to accommodate the ever growing numbers of golf tourists.

The more than 18 000 golf tourists who visited Cape Town and the Western Cape over the 2002 season typically spent R 1270 per day over a 10 day period, on accommodation, meals, car rental, green fees and sightseeing. The typical golf tourist is over the age of 50, has a golfing spouse, is affluent, seeks good quality four or five star accommodation, enjoys good food and wine, and is well travelled. Currently growing numbers of golf tourists come from Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, France and the U.K.

For German tourists South Africa is 8th on their list of favourite golfing destinations. Germany is the only golf tourism source country to include South Africa in its top ten list. This indicates that South Africa has a vast opportunity to enhance its potential to become a golfing destination of note, in that it offers excellent and well-maintained golf courses, inexpensive green fees, beautiful scenery and excellent weather conditions.

The future of golf tourism looks very rosy, based on the 20 % growth between 2001 and 2002 alone, according to Blij. Restrictions on this growth are the limited number of opportunities for golf tourists in Cape Town, where clubs are discouraging non-affiliated members by means of excessive green fees and short booking windows.

Golf enthusiasts from all over the world are expected to visit South Africa, and the Garden Route in particular, when the President's Cup is played at The Links golf course at Fancourt in George from 18 - 23 November. Golfing greats such as Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player are expected to play in this prestigious event, the proceeds of which are donated to charity. South Africa's President Mbeki is the Honorary Chairman. A TV audience of more than 800 million golf enthusiasts is likely to watch the President's Cup via NBC internationally, and on Supersport and SABC locally, offering South Africa another magnificent opportunity to market itself to tourists.

Capital Convention Centre

The impressive R 580 million Cape Town International Convention Centre is set to open in June, with Vanessa Mae and Sibongile Khumalo being the star performers at the opening ceremony, in what promises to be a glittering event.

More than 130 conventions and events have been booked at the Convention Centre from July for the next 10 years, the majority of which are international conferences. Based on an estimated daily expenditure of around R 2000 per conference delegate, convention tourism will generate more than R 1 billion per annum for Cape Town. According to Cape Business News, the Convention Centre needs around 600 conferences a year to make it viable. In addition to hosting conferences, exhibitions and trade fairs, the Convention Centre will also be utilised for shareholder meetings, product launches, cultural events and weddings.

Cape Town currently ranks 30th on the list of most popular convention destinations in the world. With its new Convention Centre, the city is hoping to move into the Top 10 list within the next 10 years.

The ArabellaSheraton Grand Hotel, built alongside the Convention Centre, will open in August with 485 bedrooms and suites, reports Hotel & Restaurant. The imposing twenty storey glass and granite hotel will offer its guests beautiful sea and mountain views. An unusual feature will be the canal alongside it, which will enable guests to reach the Waterfront by boat.

SAA cuts fares

SAA appears to be feeling the pinch of the competitive fares of other domestic airlines, and is to introduce low cost domestic fares soon. The 11 % increase it had announced for its London route has also been cancelled, due to fierce pricing competition from BA and Virgin.

The Hell is Heaven on Earth!

One of the tiniest hamlets in South Africa, known as The Hell by locals as it sits at the foot of the Swartberg Pass near Oudtshoorn, is on the itinerary of the newly established Karoo Biking company. The area offers motorcyclists the ultimate biking challenge on tarred and dirt-roads.

Karoo Biking has been established to capitalise on the trend to motorcycle tourism in South Africa. It rents out BMW motorcycles and organises motorcycle tours, in English and German, in Cape Town around the Cape Peninsula, and on the Garden Route, the West Coast, the Little Karoo and Route 62. Motorbikers from the USA, Germany and the United Kingdom will be targeted.

More details about Karoo Biking are available at www.karoo-biking.de.

Chapman's Peak to peak in December

The long-awaited re-opening of Chapman's Peak is planned for December this year, after a three year closure due to rockfalls.

Work to the value of close to R 160 million is underway in securing one of the most scenic drives in the country, with more than 1500 meters of Swiss-engineered catch fences, two concrete cantilever roof canopies, a half tunnel, and catch walls to prevent rocks from falling on the road. The road conditions will be monitored daily, and Chapman's Peak Drive may be closed from time to time if the operators believe it to be in the interest of the public's safety. Drivers will still be warned that they are using the road at their own risk.

To play it safe, the company that has won the concession to operate Chapman's Peak Drive has taken out public liability insurance to the value of R 100 million, reports the Cape Times.

Toll stations are to be built at the Hout Bay and Noordhoek sides of Chapman's Peak. The toll revenue, estimated to be in the region of R 199 million over the next 30 years, will be used to finance the cost of construction, according to The Argus. Toll fees of R 18 - R 22 will be charged.

Becks supports World Cup Soccer Bid

England soccer team captain David Beckham has publicly stated his support for the bid by South Africa to host the World Cup Soccer tournament in 2010.

Beckham was in South Africa with his England team to play a friendly against South Africa's Bafana Bafana, and won the match. A highlight for the England team was its meeting with Nelson Mandela.

A senior member of FIFA, the international soccer governing body, has stated that South Africa should be a certainty to host the Soccer World Cup in 2010. The event has never been hosted in Africa. South Africa is competing against Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia within Africa. South Africa's controversial loss to Germany by one vote in hosting the 2006 World Cup is seen as a further confirmation of the country's chances in hosting the tournament. The announcement of the winning host country will be made in May 2004.

Gourmet Festival has Cape Town cooking !

The Gourmet Festival has reached new culinary heights, with a better than ever value for money gourmet feast offered to Capetonians during May.

The Gourmet Festival "starter" was a two week Fleur du Cap Restaurant Week, during which 40 restaurants offered their guests two-course lunches at R 65 and dinners at R 85, inclusive of a glass of Fleur du Cap wine and a glass of L'Aubade water. Restaurants participating in the Restaurant Week were fully booked on most nights.

Madame Zingara was named the winner in the Contemporary section of the Restaurant Week promotion, Buitenverwachting won the Fine Dining & Gourmet category, Les Oliviers won the New Restaurant category, The Grillhouse on Main won the Steakhouse category, Ocean Basket in Kloof Street won the Seafood category, the Cape Malay Restaurant at the Cellars Hohenhort Hotel won the South African category, and Colours won the Foreign/Exotic section.

Running concurrently with the Restaurant Week, the Cape Coffee Route, established for the first time this year, attracted locals to a number of coffee shops in the city.

The "main course" was the Tastic Table of Unity, at which 650 guests sat around the longest lunch table at the foot of Table Mountain to enjoy a three course gourmet lunch, including the longest loaf of bread ever baked, running along the length of the table. The proceeds went to the Red Cross Children's Hospital.

The "dessert" was the Good Food and Wine Show, held at the Good Hope Centre, at which numerous food and wine related exhibitors displayed their products.

A number of Cape Town restaurants are offering good winter deals: Bayside Cafe in Camps Bay is offering two main courses for the price of one on weekday nights, Tuscany Beach in Camps Bay is offering a 15 % discount off the bill, and the Mount Nelson's Oasis restaurant is promoting its "don't even consider missing it" lunch special of R 125 per person, with a buffet of mediterranean-inspired dishes, curries and roasts.

The Restaurant Week principle would do well if it were to be extended throughout Cape Town during all the winter months, to great profit of both restaurateurs and locals.

Escape to the Cape!

The Western Cape Tourism Board has launched a promotion to attract South African visitors to Cape Town and the Western Cape during winter, with an "Escape to the Cape" theme.

Featured in the SABC3 Licence to Leisure slot, separate advertorials for Cape Town and the Province have been run.

The Western Cape advertorial focuses strongly on Montagu and Route 62 in the Little Karoo, which is the longest wine route in the world, as well as on Mossel Bay. The Montagu Country Hotel is also featured.

The Cape Town advertorial highlights Table Mountain, the Waterfront, sea kayaking, surfing, wellness, shopping at Cavendish Square and Greenmarket Square, the flowersellers, beach horse riding and paragliding. Whale Cottage Camps Bay, Colona Castle in Muizenberg, and Straightway Head Country House in Somerset West are also featured.

Sweet & Sour Service

The WhaleTales Sweet Award goes to John Stopford, Portfolio Manager of Investec Asset Management, who has challenged the calculation of the rate of inflation by Statistics SA. The outcome has been a 2 percentage point lower inflation rate, and an anticipated cut in interest rates in June.

The WhaleTales Sour Award goes to the Kruger National Park, which is set to raise its fees to R 120 per person per day in June. Previously the Park charged R 30 entry fee per person, and R 25 per vehicle, irrespective of the number of days spent in the Park! In the past season the Kruger National Park received more than 1 million visitors, its highest visitor number ever.

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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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