* International tourism in the first half of 2013 has grown by 5% relative to the same period the year before, reports the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.
* The film ‘The Giver‘, starring Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges, is to be shot in its entirety in Cape Town from the end of September, reports the Cape Times. Moonlighting Films has been appointed as the production company, which was also involved in the filming of ‘Invictus’ and ‘Safe House’. The Cape Town Film Commission said that the Mother City’s film industry has been growing at 30% per year in the past three years, has contributed R5 billion to our economy in the past year, and is creating positive talk about Cape Town in Hollywood. ‘The Giver’ is expected to generate R160 – R200 million for Cape Town.
* Namibia is changing the names of towns and regions, and its tourism authorities say that it can confuse tourists to the country!
* SAA says disruption to its flights and those of other airlines that its technical teams service have had minimal disruption since their technical staff started striking yesterday.
* The Two Oceans Hermanus Whale Festival will be held from 20 – 24 September, calling itself ‘the country’s only enviro-arts festival’. Wine tasting and live music are on the programme. (via media release from De Kock Communications)
* Two of sixteen Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) awards have gone to the Cape, to Distell and to the Alexander Bar’s Alexander Upstairs theatre.
* The One&Only Cape Town is one of few hotels that has done well during winter, with claimed occupancy of 75% in July and 70% in June, the result of a targeted marketing campaign at the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in particular, offering halaal food as well as in-suite cooking services, prayer mats in rooms, women-only housekeeping staff, Arabic TV channels, Arabic guest service staff around the clock, and other optional extras.
* Out of 100 olive oils entered, 43 were rated Gold in the 2013 SA Olive Awards.
* Former South African One&Only owner Sol Kerzner is buying Hayman Island off Australia’s North coast, and will be developing it as a resort.
* Bistro Sixteen82 is ‘Taking Tapas To…’ Mexico in September, its dinner tapas menu featuring ten traditional Mexican dishes with a contemporary twist created by Chef Brad Ball, including Cooling Crema and Queso Fresca, in the traditional style of Mexican cuisine, with crisp flour tortillas, pulled pork, chicken, and spices. Other dishes include Chile de Arbol Wings and Flautas de Puerco. The tapas theme for October will be the Orient. (via media release from Communication Services Africa)
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage