16 replies on “Open letter to Cape Town Tourism: Freedom of Tourism Speech!”

  1. I am surprised that they have taken such action – I presume when the truth hurts its easier to attack than to look at one’s self and admit fault. I hope they stop trying to bully you wasting funds (I can only imagine what the WW letter would have cost them!) And taking it so personally.They have the ability to change! Good on you Chris.

  2. Thank you for your (brave) support Andrew.

    It felt funny writing the introduction, about having our Cape Town Tourism membership threatened due to our Blog, and more specifically comments on the Blog! LOL!


  3. The question is, does Chris have the ability to change? As a cpt tourism member I am happy to see fees spent on lawyers taking action.

    The hypocracy of the author of this blog needs to be held to account.
    The industry will be pleased to see her kicked out of cape town tourism, so we can all get on making a positive contribution and making a difference, rather than consistently disparaging others.

    Well done Ian, you have my support.

  4. It would appear that CTT have regard matters other than tourism to be more important … like being vindictive … you know what they say about burying your head in the sand? You leave yourself exposed to a kicking that you can’t see coming!

    Good response, Chris … sterkte!

  5. Thanks for your support Rob.

    Cape Town Tourism’s actions comes across as real ‘women’s’ stuff, childish and vindictive, as you write.


  6. I wondered how long it would take you to write Mike, being one of the trio of (regularly disparaging) Cape Town Tourism supporters on our Blog!

    You demonstrate your disparagement ‘beautifully’, and that is why I have allowed your comment, as it is mild by comparison to your usual vitriol.

    What would you like to have changed about me? There has been no wrong-doing.

    I don’t think that you have read the blogpost carefully, as we have not been ‘kicked-out’, as you allege in your defamatory comment, but we have decided to not renew our membership of Cape Town Tourism (it’s in the last paragraph), due to the disrespect shown to us by Cape Town Tourism and its staff!

    You cannot be a tourism player if you see Cape Town Tourism’s expenditure on legal fees as responsible and justified!

    May I ask again why you are punishing yourself so badly by reading this Blog if you dislike it so intensely?


  7. Dear Mike

    Your follow-up comment is back to its usual vitriol.

    It is clear that you have no intention of participating in a constructive debate on our Blog. You are no longer welcome to post any comments on our Blog.


  8. Dear Melanie

    Your comment contains defamatory and untruthful statements, and can therefore not be published. If you remove the defamation, untruthfulness and disparagement, we will consider it for publication.


  9. Hi Chris, I am not sure if you will allow my comment without my full names. But here goes: I am the founder and community manager for @CapeTown in Twitter, and operate as independent and unaffiliated private citizen behind the tourism scene for reasons of my own. Cape Town, its people, our reputation, the city’s marketing bodies and private tourism industry growth are all important to me.

    I always followed both the tweets of @CapeTownTourism and @WhaleCottage until your GPS coordinates changed to (iPhone: -34.083138,23.360741) which took me to the house in Plettenberg Bay. So I lost track of your tweets. I hope you will consider changing your location in Twitter back to ‘Cape Town’ so my self-imposed rule of following Capetonians could kick back in.

    I am also hoping that this exchange between CTT and Whale Cottage will have a positive outcome (or more), but it does seem that some stakes have been put into ground that make it rather difficult to repair relationships. Indeed, when it comes to issues of reputation and social media, we all know how thin the ice gets.

    I have two comments/questions to make after reading the public exchange:

    Firstly, has there ever been an attempt to talk privately instead of blog publicly (about differences of opinion and strategy)?

    Secondly, I do not believe any one in the social media space (or life for that matter) can demand respect. It is one of those things you gain without demand or request – because if you have to ask for it, it means you could not inspire it with actions leading to it.

    I look forward with reservation to the development of the conversation and will follow on the sidelines. Forgive me not responding after this entry. I favor tweets about penguins, whales and people with funny hats in Adderley. May Cape Town win.

  10. Dear @Cape Town

    Thank you for your comment and for Re-Tweeting our Tweet with the link to our Open Letter to the Chairman of Cape Town Tourism, to your 13000+ followers.

    A year ago Mrs Helmbold and I met for a coffee at the offices at Cape Town Tourism, a meeting Ms Grove was meant to attend as well, but her absence was not explained.

    Thereafter I have only seen Mrs Helmbold, and met Ms Grove for the first time, at the Brand Cape Town presentation, as well as at the ‘Strategic Plan’ presentation at the Baxter. Mrs Helmbold and I have had a collegial relationship over a number of years. Her refusal to reply to our e-mails in the past month caught us by surprise, as we did not expect such rude behaviour from Mrs Helmbold.

    I too hope that the situation can be resolved amicably, but Cape Town Tourism has been very naughty this evening, in its (defamatory) writing that our membership has been terminated in their Tweet and web statement. Our annual membership expired two weeks ago, and we have not renewed it, so there is nothing to terminate. There is therefore nothing for the Board of Cape Town Tourism to be ‘deliberating’ at its meeting on 22/9, and no ‘decision’ to be made, as per Cape Town Tourism’s post on their website today.

    I agree with your view on ‘respect’, but Cape Town Tourism and its management cannot demand respect of its members when its staff do not show respect to their members. Interestingly, the Code of Conduct I have been e-mailed by Cape Town Tourism only requires respect from members, but not from Cape Town Tourism staff!

    I am concerned that the Cape Town Tourism lawyers are demanding exposure of commenters to our Blog, which goes against the grain of Social Media, and the Freedom of Speech incorporated in it.

    Thank you for your feedback about our GPS reading, which I will ask my tech-savvy son to fix this weekend.

    I love your penguin avatar.


  11. As an old battle scarred veteran of the marketing community,I see little evidence of any marketing of any value by our tourism body. Seems to be a complete waste of time. Their bully boy tactics are absolutely despicable. Sis.

  12. Heaven help us!
    First we have the Protection of Information Bill (Secrecy Bill) foisted upon an unwilling populace and now we have the Tourism authority trying to silence our right to freedom of speech as well!

    This country’s Bill of Rights enshrines the right to freedom of speech, but these days the battle appears to be decided by the party that has the biggest legal budget! Since CTT always bemoans the fact that their R40m budget is so small, I cannot fathom why they are wasting money on a legal challenge that is so flawed.
    (Is it because they know that those who control the media control the news?)

    Blogging gives us the opportunity and platform to stand up and voice what we want to say. It should do this without fear of reprisal or prosecution, but when that very right is challenged, one has to ask the question: WHY?
    (Why does CTT want to silence von Ulmenstein so badly? Is it so that they can continue to sanitize the marketing & PR information they put out, and hide their secret flaws?)

    Frankly, the legal action (which sounds spurious and heavy handed) simply appears designed to silence this outspoken critic.

    Is it because the criticism leveled at CCT and its staff is justified? Many think so.

    Does the truth hurt so much that they find it necessary to pursue legal recourse to silence their critics rather than engage with them?

    Instead of venting in a public & legal slanging match – plus wasting valuable time and precious funds – I suggest the parties engage in constructive dialogue and co-operate with each other so as to benefit Tourism – not harm it.

    Sadly, tourism in the Western Cape is reeling from the chilly bite of winter, the deepening global recession, and the lack of strategic vision & effective marketing by CTT – (now manifesting its inadequacy).

    What Cape Town least of all needs right now is these two key role players snarling and baring their teeth in public.
    Rather, let’s see them bare their teeth in a smile.
    Over to you guys…
    Let’s see who smiles first.

  13. Thank you for your input Butch.

    For a market researcher you have an enviable brevity of phrase to communicate what you want to say!


  14. Thanks Mel, your input is always welcomed.

    Perhaps we can get you to ‘mediate’ such a meeting?

    The irony of all the legal action and posturing by Cape Town Tourism is that we will continue writing about Cape Town, tourism, and Cape Town Tourism. Threatening us with the potential ‘termination’ of an expired membership is a (misguided) waste of monies spent on lawyers, and will make no difference at all to this Blog and its content.


  15. Since Butch and I share the same opinion on CTT’s marketing effort I doubt whether they would entertain the idea of me mediating such a meeting – but I will continue to offer my opinion where it is welcome.

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