Tag Archives: COSATU

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 13 January

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Eskom remains a laugh-a-minute, its CEO Tshediso Matona saying yesterday to a meeting of 100 business and agriculture executives that ‘one unexpected event at any of its power stations can push the country to the total failure of the national electricity system that may take weeks to resolve’.  Loadshedding was predicted for late last week, but did not take place.  It has now been predicted for next week. Economists predict that Eskom’s ability to prevent loadshedding will influence the country’s economy.   A shortage of diesel appears to be affecting electricity supply.

*   The City of Cape Town plans to revise its loadshedding schedule, to make it more equitable and fair to all its residents from 1 February.  This comes in response to the claim by COSATU Western Cape leader Tony Ehrenreich that the City’s current loadshedding schedule is ‘racist and unfair’, and plans to take the matter to the Human Rights Commission!

*   Franschhoek wines Boekenhoutskloof Semillon 2010 and Chamonix Chardonnay Reserve 2012 are the only two South African Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 16 September

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Scandinavians are the happiest in the world, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network World Happiness Report 2013 has found.  Denmark is in first place with the happiest citizens in the world, followed by Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

*   The future of tour operators is uncertain, following the e-Travel Africa Summit, which was held in Cape Town last week, the E-Tourism Frontiers organiser Damian Cook saying that their days are numbered, while SA Tourism’s Chief Marketing Officer Jan Hutton disagrees.

*   The South African National Parks’ free entrance to all bar three of its national parks last week has met with criticism from COSATU (the Confederation of South African Trade Unions) in being discriminatory, benefiting those Continue reading →

Cape Town winter seasonality has little chance of recovery! Politicians not playing ball for tourism!

Once again the tourism authorities are paying lip service to Winter Seasonality in Cape Town and the Western Cape, and it is rather sad to see the City of Cape Town scramble to host events this coming winter which in all likelihood will make no difference to the tourism industry at all.

Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold has admitted to the Cape Argus how grave the effect of Seasonality is on our tourism industry: ‘Despite growth in tourism of late, seasonality remains the biggest threat to our tourism industry. Many misperceptions exist around winter being an undesirable time to visit.  This is a critical issue for an industry that employs more than 300000 people and is the second largest contributor to the Western Cape’s GDP. Tourism role-players in Cape Town long ago realised that Cape Town needs a 365-day brand position to fill beds during the quieter months’. Unfortunately in her ten years of heading up Cape Town Tourism, she has not made any contribution to the worsening effect of Seasonality on the Cape tourism industry.

The new City of Cape Town Tourism, Events, and Marketing department has egg on its face, for the Liverpool/Ajax Cape Town soccer match, which was scheduled for next Tuesday, having to be called off.  The City has blamed the Premier Soccer League (PSL) for the fiasco.  Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events and Marketing, Councillor Grant Pascoe, who traveled to the UK earlier this year to sign up a number of soccer clubs for friendlies to be played in Cape Town, angrily hit out on his Facebook page yesterday at criticism directed at him in the Cape Times by COSATU Secretary General and ANC Councillor Tony Ehrenreich, who called for disciplinary action against Pascoe for the handling of the soccer saga, with its resultant wasted costs and loss of reputation for Cape Town.  Words between Ehrenreich and Pascoe sound more like a political slanging match than a genuine concern about enhancing the number of tourists in our city!

Pascoe followed this up with a poor media release issued by the City’s Integrated Strategic Communication and Branding Department:City responds to allegations of mismanagement surrounding the cancelled visit of Liverpool FC. In response to the press statement from COSATU, “Livepool (sic) Saga shows a Serious Mismanagement from City of Cape Town”, I am able to comment on only those facts that are known to me, and not on vexatious rumours. The City is inclusive and would consider any and all similar proposals from other Cape-based teams. Ajax Cape Town FC, in good faith, negotiated with the South African Football Association (SAFA), and Liverpool FC with the English Football Association for permission for the match to take place. Permission from both these bodies was granted. In a letter from SAFA to the CEO of the Premier Soccer League (PSL), SAFA states, ‘we are therefore granting your club permission to participate in this International Friendly Match, provided they comply with FIFA regulations governing international matches, and that FIFA responds favourably to the application’. Based on this positive correspondence, the City continued engagements with Liverpool FC, and made arrangements for the game to take place. There are no guidelines or regulations for PSL teams, or external organisations, to follow that govern these arrangements. They are assessed purely on a case by case basis. To the City’s knowledge, no prior applications have been refused before this one. After extensive consultations, including trying to find an alternate date, a solution could not be found to suit all concerned. It is the City’s position that the reputational damage lies with the PSL. Even their sponsors have actively distanced themselves from the decision taken. The City will not be deterred or deflated by this obstacle, and is actively negotiating several other sporting events to bring to the people of Cape Town”.

To address Ehrenreich’s criticism, the Cape Argus ran a story yesterday, to announce the two new events which the City of Cape Town has organised for the winter months.  The first is the Cape Town Performance Arts Festival, which is due to attract ‘between 10000 and 15000 people at the festival from all over the country, as well as international guests‘!  No details were found about the Festival, which is scheduled to take place in July without exact dates specified, other than that it is an arts festival which will include dance, music and other art forms which will be held in the V&A Waterfront, Artscape, and the City Hall, the newspaper reported!  If a Festival of this scale is to be hosted in Cape Town in two months from now, one would have expected that details would have been made available already, and that the marketing work will have commenced, by both Cape Town Tourism and the City’s Tourism, Events, and Marketing department!

In August the Cape Town Design Exhibition Conference takes place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, with 4000 delegates expected to attend, the focus being on Cape Town’s design challenges.  No further information was found.

Disappointingly the City of Cape Town’s Tourism, Events, and Marketing department has not managed to make any visible marketing impact on Cape Town’s tourism industry in the past year. The odd soccer match, the Cape Town Design Exhibition Conference, and the Cape Town Performance Arts Festival are unlikely to make any significant difference to the poor and declining occupancies which the accommodation industry is suffering each winter!

POSTSCRIPT 16/5: The Pundits website today posted Councillor Pascoe’s explanation about the cancelled soccer match, and wrote critically about the confusion the announcement of the match and subsequent cancellation had caused. It also advised the City of Cape Town to use the official channels when negotiating with international soccer clubs.  The post was written by a Jason Pascoe (relationship to Councillor Pascoe unknown, but hinted at being the son of Councillor Pascoe by a comment writer!), and oddly enough was Retweeted by Councillor Pascoe!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:  www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

SA wine industry’s social responsibility praised by top Swedish wine buyers!

A delegation from Systembolaget, a Swedish liquor monopoly according to a media release issued on behalf of Wines of South Africa (WOSA), has declared itself to be ‘very impressed’ with the social responsibility work being done by our local wine industry.

Led by Chairman  Dr Cecilia Seidegård and CEO Magdalena Gerger, the Systembolaget delegation visit earlier this month included the full board  of directors of the company, a visit to the Cape Winelands which had been planned a year ago, and was not initiated as a result of the more recent farm worker strikes. The Western Cape Minister of Agriculture Gerrit van Rensburg accompanied the visit to the wine farms by the delegation.

Sweden is an important export market for the South African wine industry, buying 33 million litres of wine a year, across ‘several hundred labels’. Two years ago our country was Systembolaget’s largest supplier.

Ms Gerger said that her company wants to promote a supply chain of wines that is ‘fair and honest towards people and the environment’, important requirements for Swedes. Faitrade registered wines are well supported, and our country was praised by her for its strong support of Fairtrade and for being at its forefront internationally. The reasonably new WIETA accreditation may become a Systembolaget tender criterion, she said. She did however add that there is room for improvement, encouraging wine producers to improve conditions for their workers.

Systembolaget conducts audits regularly on its source countries, and the delegation conducted their audit while in the Winelands. Ms Gerger said that should a wine estate’s audit result not be satisfactory, an action plan would be developed and it would be re-audited twelve months later.  Should the owner not make the required changes, the relationship would be terminated. She added: We believe anyone involved in the making of the products we sell should earn a living wage. We are at present involved in the revision of the Code of Conduct for the Nordic countries, and there is every indication that the revised code, which is expected to come into effect in 2014, will contain a ‘living wage’ condition.”

Minister van Rensburg welcomed the visit by the delegatiom, and said that his government believes that ‘real improvement in social conditions can only be brought about through economic growth’. He said that his government welcomed the ‘trade relations with Sweden’.

Strikes of farmworkers, including those working on wine farms, in January this year and November last year, severely damaged South Africa’s image as a tourist destination. The effect on wine sales is not yet known, COSATU Western Cape leader Tony Ehrenreich having called for a boycott of South African wine purchases by overseas wine lovers as well as by retailers at the time of the strikes.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage