October 2001
WEDDING "BELLES" RING FOR CAPE TOWN

Cape Town is fast establishing itself as one of the world's favourite marriage cities of the world, with resultant financial benefit in the region of R 100 million per annum to the Mother City and its environs.

Wedding Tourism has been identified as the newest tourism niche market for Cape Town, and is as yet an untapped market with a fantastic potential for growth. What is South Africa's loss in young girls leaving for London to au pair or work in a pub for a year has become its gain, as these girls fall in love with a British lad, get engaged, and plan their wedding to be held in Cape Town.

These weddings attract between 50 and 100 international guests from the United Kingdom, friends of the bride and groom who are able to afford to take a one or two week break. Typically these guests may have been interested in visiting South Africa, but may have been concerned about reports of crime. Attending a wedding means that the accommodation is organized for the wedding guests, as are outings, nights out at restaurants, and sightseeing trips prior to the wedding. Instead of a one day celebration, the wedding becomes a week long party.

A wedding can generate anything from R 700 000 upwards in accommodation, gifts and souvenirs, restaurant meals, car hire, as well as the wedding ceremony itself. Receptions are typically held in traditional Cape Dutch venues, either in Cape Town or in the Stellenbosch winelands.

Cape Town is also an attractive wedding location for brides and grooms from the United Kingdom and Australia and New Zealand, being the central point in which family and friends from these countries can meet and enjoy their weddings most economically.

Not only does Cape Town offer a most beautiful setting to a summer wedding , compared to the grey London weather, but it also is becoming increasingly less expensive as the Rand depreciates against the pound sterling.

Wedding guests visiting Cape Town for the first time are usually so taken with the Mother City, that they are confident enough to come back on their own in future. To assist London-based brides and grooms in planning their weddings in Cape Town from a distance, Chris von Ulmenstein (in Cape Town) and Merryl Wyatt (based in London, previously from Uitenhage, who got married in Cape Town in 2000) have formed Cape Town Weddings (website www.capetownweddings.com).

TERROR TAKES ITS TOLL ON TOURISM

While the Guest House industry in South Africa was not directly affected by the tragic events of 11 September, it would appear that the ripple effect that the event has had on the airline industry, particularly on Swissair, and its links to Sabena and LTU, could dramatically impact on the local tourism industry.

The industry was already concerned about a shortage of seats on flights to South Africa prior to this date, and this problem may be exacerbated if airlines cut back on flights in the interest of economic considerations.

Good news however is the additional flights which Virgin Atlantic has introduced to Cape Town, given its cut back on flights on its USA - UK routes. The Rand exchange rate, which has improved dramatically in favour of international currencies in the past month, should also make tourism to South Africa even more attractive as a value-for-money destination.

The German market would appear to be as strong as ever, with very few cancellations of confirmed bookings. Lufthansa has just announced that it is adding three extra flights a week to South Africa as of 1 December.

RECORD WHALE SEASON

The number of Southern Right whales off the Cape coast is the highest in 150 years, according to a report in The Argus.

The number of Southern Right whales has returned to the level prior to the introduction and subsequent ban on whaling, which nearly wiped out this mammal.

The annual whale survey commences shortly along the West and South East coasts of South Africa, with all whale cows and their calves sighted photographed from a helicopter for identification purposes. The distinctive callosities of the Southern Right whale makes each whale unique, and is used to gather information for scientific purposes.

CAMPS BAY CAB ROLLING

The Camps Bay Cab service, exclusively servicing the Camps Bay area, has been launched.

Offering an airport shuttle service to Camps Bay, as well as a taxi service within Camps Bay, and to the city and the Waterfront, the Camps Bay Cab offers an economical and safe journey for locals as well as for tourists who do not want to drink and drive, or who do not wish to drive "on the wrong side of the road" at all !

Camps Bay Cab can be contacted at +27 21 438-3838 or at cab@campsbayinfo.com

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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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