Tag Archives: Ian Bartes

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 12 August

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  Travelers have barely heard of ‘sharing’ services such as Uber and Airbnb, and they are not yet a threat to established accommodation and taxi services, a Travel Weekly Consumer Trends survey has found.  More than two-thirds of the respondents had not heard of the services, and only 8% had used them.  The target age group of sharing services appears to be the 18 – 23 year olds, highest users of these services.

*   Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde has announced the new members of the Board of the tourism, investment, and trade agency Wesgro:   Professor Brian Figaji (previously of Pentech) is the new Chairman, while other Board members are Paul Continue reading →

Cape Town Tourism ‘destinated’ to start afresh in marketing Cape Town!

mariettedth_1369339943_39Last week two senior members of staff left the services of Cape Town Tourism, being its CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, and its PR and Communications Manager Skye Grove.  A new era lies ahead for the tourism body, which can hopefully get on with the focused marketing of Cape Town and its tourism industry again.

Given how badly Cape Town has been marketed as a tourism destination in the past few years, it is a fantastic opportunity for new CEO Enver Duminy to show what he can do to deal with the city’s terrible problem of Seasonality with barely any business in the winter months, which is unique to Cape Town, compared to South Africa’s other major cities.  Every year Mrs Helmbold has paid lip service to the problem, and promised to tackle the problem, but she never did, and business has become progressively worse every winter.

Shocking was the blatant exploitation in the past ten days by Mrs Helmbold to actively market the services of her new destination marketing consultancy whilst still in the employ of Cape Town Tourism.  She announced that she would establish a consultancy in April after her resignation from Cape Town Tourism became public in February.  As if Tweets on her own Twitter account were not enough to market the new consultancy whilst still working for Cape Town Tourism,  Cape Town Continue reading →

New Cape Town Tourism Chairman Sabine Lehmann to focus on new City of Cape Town marketing relationship!

As we predicted, the new Chairman of Cape Town Tourism is its previous Deputy Chairman and the Managing Director of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company, Sabine Lehmann, the first female Chairman of the tourism body, and elected at the first meeting of the new Cape Town Tourism Board two weeks ago, said an e-mail sent to Cape Town Tourism members last week.

Ms Lehmann will not have an easy task to negotiate with tough City of Cape Town funder Anton Groenewald, the Director of the new City of Cape Town Tourism, Events and Marketing (TEAM) Directorate, who showed his muscle eight years ago, when he brought the previous Cape Town Tourism and its Board (with CEO Sheryl Ozinsky) on its knees, by withholding funding when we as a Board attempted resisting amalgamation with all the other tourism bodies in Cape Town, and closing down the original Section 21 company (which still has not been wound down!).

At the AGM of Cape Town Tourism last month, Mr Groenewald announced that his Directorate will take away Destination Marketing from Cape Town Tourism, which will be left with Visitor Services and Tourism Marketing only, seen by most in the industry as well as journalists as a vote of no confidence in the marketing, or lack of, of Cape Town. Its future marketing role will be restricted to representing Cape Town at international exhibitions (such as World Travel Market in London, where CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold is representing Cape Town with Wesgro at the moment), hosting local and international media, and digital marketing. The City of Cape Town has appointed Rory Viljoen as its new Director of Place Marketing (or Destination Marketing).

In the Cape Town Tourism member e-mail Mrs Helmbold tried to sound upbeat towards her members, and made the right noises towards the City of Cape Town and its future relationship: “…the Cape Town Tourism Executive team and Board are optimistic about working with the City on a new destination marketing model for Cape Town”. She referred to the Constitution of Cape Town Tourism, writing that the tourism body ‘will continue to deliver tourism marketing and visitor services in line with our Constitution’. However, the City’s removal of Cape Town Tourism’s Destination Marketing role is in breach of Cape Town Tourism’s Constitution, an issue which she does not address.  A new three year contract is to be negotiated with the City of Cape Town as a first priority, to provide greater financial and operational stability for Cape Town Tourism, as the contracts have been renewed annually in the past. Ms Lehmann will have to live with the Service Level Agreement which appears to have been hastily signed by outgoing Cape Town Tourism Chairman Ian Bartes before the AGM, and possibly without approval from the rest of the Board members.

The rest of the two page e-mail is a badly written copy and paste job of a recent media release, as well as of Mrs Helmbold’s speech at the AGM, with unacceptable grammatical errors and Mrs Helmbold’s love for nonsensical phrases: “We’ve had to make difficult decisions in the past, and we will do so again to ensure that Cape Town Tourism is a well-run organisation that contributes in a real way to positioning Cape Town as one of the world’s leading tourism destinations. As always, we will take the industry along on our journey and ensure that our strategies and plans are co-crafted with the industry and the stakeholders who are the flesh and blood of the tourism sector in Cape Town. Changes in our environment, whether local or international, brings (sic) with it the opportunity to go back to basics, re-imagine the future and ensure that we stay relevant”.

The e-mail to the Cape Town Tourism members does not explain to its members what exactly its future role will be, and what impact this will have on the staffing of Cape Town Tourism (some retrenchments were hinted at at the AGM) and on the service delivery to its members. Surprising is that Mrs Helmbold does not know the correct company name of her new Chairman!

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

New City of Cape Town Place Marketing Director Rory Viljoen to put Cape Town on the map!

While many in the Cape Town tourism industry are shaking their heads about yet another change at Cape Town Tourism, the City of Cape Town taking away the role of Destination Marketing from Cape Town Tourism four years after having given it to the tourism body, one can be grateful for two things: that a change can only be better than the little and ineffectual marketing being done by Cape Town Tourism, and that one could not wish for a better Marketing Director for brand ‘Cape Town’ than Rory Viljoen, Place Marketing Director in the new Tourism, Events and Marketing (TEAM) Directorate of the City of Cape Town.

It was a bumpy start to meeting Rory, who has only been working for the City for ten weeks, and is still suffering temporary staff in setting up his appointments.  It was third time lucky, despite a time error, to finally meet him and Daylin Mitchell, the Executive Support Officer for Councillor Grant Pascoe, the Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing, in Rory’s office in the TELKOM Tower adjacent to the Civic Centre.

Rory gave little away in the interview, instead turning the tables by asking what should be done in marketing Cape Town.  We discussed the impact of Seasonality on our businesses, and how we have been made promises in this regard by both Cape Town Tourism and the ex-Cape Town Routes Unlimited (now amalgamated into Wesgro); sharing information with the industry; generating coverage in traditional media locally and internationally with Social Media support (and not the other way around, as practised by Cape Town Tourism); Events in the winter months; addressing the lack of airline seats from Johannesburg to Cape Town on Fridays; the extreme airfares to get to Cape Town from international destinations; the confusion that has resulted amongst the tourism industry about the City’s new destination marketing directorate which some mistakenly seeing it to be Wesgro’s new marketing department; the reduced bookings via Cape Town Tourism’s tourism bureaus as tourists are booking most requirements on-line, before they leave or on their iPads; the ‘Mommy’ Tweeting by Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold; the role of the V&A Waterfront in the tourism portfolio of Cape Town; the controversial trip by ten Cape Town Tourism and City of Cape Town executives to Turkey (clearly a sensitive issue, judging by Rory’s body language when the topic arose – he was not part of the delegation); the renewal of Mrs Helmbold’s contract as CEO next year; and much more.

While Rory has chosen to call his portfolio ‘Place Marketing’, he said it is just another name for Destination Marketing.   His private sector experience in marketing Distell’s brands in Africa and Europe, as well as having been South African Marketing Director of Coca Cola during the 2006 and 2010 World Cup soccer championships, shadowing the Beijing and Vancouver World Cups, and his involvement in the European Championships played in Germany and Switzerland, gives him an excellent insight in hosting events, and in creating marketing linkages.  He said that he does not know the Marketing Budget yet (we have seen that the Tourism, Events and Marketing Directorate, headed by Anton Groenewald, has a budget of R500 million per annum!), as he needs to finalise his Strategic Plan, translate that into the Marketing Budget, and then appoint the staff to execute his Marketing Strategy.  He said that he likes to work in an organised manner, step by step, ‘every chapter must stand like a book’, he said.  His biggest challenge is to find a measurement of success for his department, currently believing that arrivals at Cape Town International would be the most reliable measurement of marketing success at this stage, despite Cape Town International Service Standards Manager and outgoing Cape Town Tourism Chairman Ian Bartes warning that there would be no growth in tourism arrivals via our local airport in the next two years.

While Daylin is active on Twitter, Rory and Mr Groenewald are not.  Currently Digital and Social Media Marketing of Cape Town rests with Cape Town Tourism in their new mandate of only focusing on Tourism Marketing (with Visitor Services), but Rory indicated that they are looking to appoint a strong Media person, who will be responsible for Media Relations, Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and the writing of Speeches.  One can assume that the Digital Marketing of Cape Town will move from Cape Town Tourism to the City of Cape Town once the position has been filled.

It will be interesting to see how brand ‘Cape Town’ will be packaged, with a new logo, a pay-off line, and an extensive communication campaign to support new events, the focus being to make the Cape Town Stadium commercially viable by hosting more events there, and ultimately to attract more visitors to Cape Town.

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