September 2001
GERMAN MARKET TO CAPE TOWN COULD GROW FIVE-FOLD

The German tourist market to Cape Town, estimated already at 150 000 visitors from Germany per annum, could grow five-fold to 750000 per year in 2002.

Germans love South Africa, and the country is one of the trendy destinations. There are several reasons for this. First and foremost is the natural scenic beauty and wildlife they can experience whilst also enjoying the benefits of a first world country. With an exchange rate advantage relative to the Deutschmark, South Africa has become 12 % less expensive to German visitors in Rand terms in the past year.

Cape Town is the desired destination in South Africa, with Johannesburg, and even Durban, being avoided due to safety. Favourite destinations in addition to the Kruger National Park and the greater Cape Town area are the Winelands, and the Garden Route.

Germans are avid travelers, with 44,5 million Germans, of a population of 82 million, having traveled outside of Germany at least once during 1999. Their standard of living is high, and they have disposable income which they spend on travel. On average they spend close to R 1000 per person per day on their holiday in South Africa, making this a close to R 1,5 billion market for Cape Town alone.

Germans enjoy the friendliness South Africans offer, are attracted to the country because they can fly into Cape Town on a direct flight from Frankfurt or Munich, because they remain in the same time zone, and because they do not lose any time to jetlag.

The most popular travel time for German tourists is the October to November period, when one will almost exclusively hear German spoken on Table Mountain, at Cape Point and in the Waterfront.

But it is important to note German preferences: They look for value for money, and are too smart to be ripped off. They prefer twin bedded accommodation with individual rather than double duvets, they demand hygienic and clean facilities, they enjoy a good solid Continental breakfast, and value proactive information and tips they receive from their hosts. Weather information is vital to plan their outings for the day, and they must be reassured about their safety whilst in the Mother City, given the warnings about crime in Cape Town they leave home with.

An inhibitor to the growth in German tourism is flight availability. Already German tourists, who enjoy a very generous leave allowance of 30 working days per year, have to cut short their trips to South Africa because they cannot get seats on flights back to Germany. Further inhibitors are the constant media reinforcement that crime is a problem in this country and their fear of contracting malaria (and even AIDS).

The German economy is being affected by the world recession, and this is leading to retrenchments in Germany. The introduction of the Euro on 1 January may also impact on tourism from Europe generally, as citizens of a host of countries some to grips with a new regional currency. Excessive price increases and inefficient service in South Africa are also deterrents.

New German niche markets are Honeymooners, Language Course delegates and Golfers.

CAPE OF STORMS LIVES UP TO ITS NAME IN WILDEST WINTER

The last week of August and first week of September have seen the Cape Peninsula live up to its reputation as the Cape of Storms.

The worst Cape storm in fifty years hit the Mother City on Wednesday 5 September, with waves crashing onto Victoria Road in Camps Bay and Beach Road in Sea Point and Mouille Point. The week before, a severe rainstorm caused widespread flooding, as well as rockfalls, leading to the closure of Victoria Road between Camps Bay and Hout Bay for numerous days. Even the first 6 kms of the Chapman's

Peak Drive from the Hout Bay side, usually open to traffic, has been temporarily closed.

July this year has seen the most rainfall recorded in a July in Cape Town in 44 years.

WHALE WATCHING TOPS BIG FIVE

Whale watching in South Africa is starting to outstrip wildlife viewing amongst foreign tourists, according to a recent South African Tourism survey, and the industry is showing the fifth fastest growth rate in the world.

Hermanus, just 120 kms east of Cape Town, is internationally renowned as offering the best landbased whale watching in the world.

A Whale Trail was recently opened at De Hoop nature reserve, east of Hermanus, which boasts excellent whale watching opportunities to hikers.

WHALE WATCHING ON THE WEB

A new website www.whaletrail.co.za has been launched, to guide whale watchers on the best whale watching sites in Hermanus.

Whale observers along the Walker Bay coastline have been appointed to report sightings of whales, which are then recorded on the website, enabling whale watchers to drive to the prime whale watching spots in the greater Hermanus area.

The whale watching report service on the Whale Trails website is to be extended to other whale watching areas on the West Coast and South East Coast in future.

WHALE OF A SUMMER SEASON AHEAD

Pre-bookings for the new summer are exceeding those of previous years, indicating that the greater Cape Town will enjoy a bumper tourist season as of October.

Whilst many parts of Europe experienced an excellent summer, South Africa's attractiveness as a value for money destination is growing due to the ever falling Rand exchange rate.

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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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