Cape Town to become top 10 world brand


Cape Town Tourism sees one of its goals as developing Cape Town into a world city by 2020.  This was announced at the Cape Town Tourism AGM by its CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold earlier this week.

Du Toit-Helmbold sees Cape Town developing into a top world city in 2020 in which to “live, visit, study, work and invest in”, and into a centre of innovation and creativity, welcoming 4 million international visitors annually.  It will become a favourite domestic destination too, and will be known as the ‘events capital of Africa’, she said.   “The city is clean, green and safe – recognised as one of the most livable cities in the world” in 2020, she added.

We welcome her vision that by 2020 “Cape Town now sustains a healthy year-round tourism industry with many direct flights from key markets across the world”, especially as she mentioned that feedback from Cape Town Tourism members shows that “…some establishments reporting alarmingly low occupancy levels” since the World Cup.  Also, she indicated that there was no clear picture yet about the festive season bookings, and reiterated how important it is to address seasonality variations, the winter months being a severe problem.  Events are an important means of countering seasonality, and she announced that with its funder, the City of Cape Town, Cape Town Tourism is working on an Events Strategy for the city, linking already established events with new ones held in “off-peak” season.

Du Toit-Helmbold also said that world cities such as Cape Town, and its tourism brands, must work on their “future fit”, in exploring new markets, and in investing in web, emarketing and technology to ensure that Cape Town Tourism can meet its goal of doubling its economic impact on the city in the next 10 years.   She said that more than 70 % of tourism bookings are made on-line.

On the topic of the suggested amalgamation of Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited, which Cape Town Tourism is respectfully resisting, a guest speaker Claes Bjerkne, a destination marketing expert, said that Cape Town is the “ideal master brand as it is one of the better known cities of the world’, on a par with Paris, London, San Francisco and Beijing.  Du Toit-Helmbold said that Cape Town Tourism was seeking an apolitical tourism structure for the province and the city, “driven by the private sector and supported by government”.   “Cape Town Tourism will not compromise our status as an industry-led association, and we remain committed to marketing Cape Town and its unique experience”, she concluded.

At the AGM, new directors were elected/re-elected: quantity surveyor Pierre du Plessis (we question his tourism knowledge), Susanne Faussner-Ringer (who pushed for MATCH bookings for the World Cup with her friend Nils Heckscher, which should have got both of them fired from the Board of Cape Town Tourism for their irresponsible advice to and pressure on the accommodation industry, in our opinion), Bulelwa Nobuzwe Makalima-Ngewana (Deputy CEO of the Cape Town Partnership), Sarah Struys (Events and Marketing Manager of Kirstenbosch), and Claus Tworeck (CEO of City Sightseeing Cape Town).  They join existing directors Sabine Lehmann of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company, Nils Heckscher of the Winchester Mansions Hotel, Guy Lundy of Accelerate Cape Town, and Rashid Toefy, of the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

POSTSCRIPT 10/10 : Southern African Tourism Update provides extra input to the Cape Town Tourism AGM, the future of brand Cape Town, and of the funding of Cape Town Tourism, not mentioned in the Cape Town Tourism media release:

“Keynote speaker, Claes Bjerkne, CEO of Bjerkne & Co, a Swedish destination marketing consultancy, said the city and province should work together to develop a tourism strategy, “but it’s a waste of time not to use the strong city brand”. He suggested: “Let Cape Town be the driving force in the process of developing tourism in the city as well as the province.” He proposed local tourism marketers combine brand Cape Town with topics of interest – such as wine, whales, flowers, culture, golf and wildlife – to entice visitors further into the region.

Pointing out that few people knew the provinces that housed such strong city brands as Berlin, San Francisco, Paris, Beijing, Edinburgh, Amsterdam and London, he said similarly visitors to South Africa didn’t know its various regions but recognised brand Cape Town. This did not mean they would not travel further into the province to pursue their interests. The same was true overseas, he said, where tourists combined San Francisco with the Nappa Valley to taste wine, travelled to the Great Wall of China from Beijing, or left Edinburgh behind to play golf at St Andrews.

CTT CEO, Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, also made a strong case for Cape Town to be the brand for the city and the province and for tourism marketing to remain driven by the tourism industry and not by civil servants. “We will not compromise on the industry playing the leading role,” she said. “Cities are the super-brands of the future. Cape Town has all the potential to become this.”

Cape Town City Council Mayoral Committee for Economic Development & Tourism, Felicity Purchase, expressed continued confidence in CTT as the city’s marketer. The city will fund CTT to the tune of R38m for the next financial year.”

POSTSCRIPT 12/10:  We have amended our blog post after receiving feedback from Cape Town Tourism.  A future vision for Cape Town for 2020 was oddly written in the present rather than in the future tense in the media release.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: Twitter: @WhaleCottage

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6 replies on “Cape Town to become top 10 world brand”

  1. Hi Chris

    You misconstrued Cape Town Tourism’s media release that clearly stated:

    “Du Toit-Helmbold also shared her vision of Cape Town in 2020; “In my mind I see a city celebrated globally as one of the top ten world cities to live, visit, study, work and invest in. Recognised as a centre of innovation and creativity, Cape Town attracts close to four million international visitors and is a favourite domestic tourism destination. As the events capital of Africa, Cape Town hosts a series of mega events, specialising in sport, the green economy, the creative sector and technology. Cape Town now sustains a healthy year-round tourism industry with many direct flights from key markets across the world. The city is clean, green and safe – recognised as one of the most liveable cities in the world.”

  2. Dear Skye

    When one makes an allegation of “misconstrued”, one needs to motivate it. I am afraid that I cannot see what you and Mariette du Toit-Helmbold are querying.

    The content of the whole paragraph was featured in my blog post, largely paraphrased, all coming from your media release.


  3. This is what you misconstrued:

    You wrote: We question her statement that “Cape Town now sustains a healthy year-round tourism industry with many direct flights from key markets across the world”.

    We never claimed that Cape Town enjoys a healthy year-round tourism industry at the moment. We know, like everybody in tourism, that seasonality is one of our industry’s biggest challenges.

    If you read our media release properly you would have reported that a healthy year-round tourism industry is one of the key aspects of our vision for Cape Town in 2020 and not a reflection of tourism in our city at the moment.

  4. To be very honest. There is a lot of talk every year how Cape Town is going to grow its tourism market and how well we are doing. To be frank, the current situation is past the point of disrepair. Half of Cape Town’s hospitality work force is retrenched or unemployed at the moment. Looking at the shocking occupancy levels in the hotels, one hardly can say everything is rosy.
    I never saw the hotel sector in Cape Town so desperate. Hotels are on the brink of bankruptcy and it is time for the role players to open their eyes and see what is really going on in this beautiful city of ours.

  5. Thank you for your feedback Skye.

    The media release contained a paragraph creating a scenario for 2020 written in the present tense, which casued the confusion. We have amended the blog post.

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