Tag Archives: leisure tourism

Mining Indaba 2015 a gold mine for Cape Town!

Cape Town Mining IndabaAlan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, which includes the Tourism portfolio, has welcomed the delegates attending the ‘Investing in African Mining Indaba‘, starting at the Cape Town International Convention Centre today and running until the end of Thursday.

Minister Winde said 7 000 delegates from 110 countries are in Cape Town for the Mining Indaba. ‘The Mining Indaba brings the most influential leaders in the continent’s mining sector to the province. This event is an important economic driver for the Continue reading →

Cape Town Tourism misleads tourism industry on state of winter business (or lack of)!

It is shocking to see how Cape Town Tourism publishes meaningless media statements, especially during winter, to attempt to deceive the tourism industry about the state of business.  Every tourism business owner and manager is aware how poor the current winter business is on a daily basis.  Last week the predictable media release once again was sent out, exaggerating the ‘state of the tourist nation’, when most in the industry are reporting that their current winter performance is even worse than 2011, which then was labelled as ‘a tourism crisis‘.

Cape Town Tourism conducts a survey amongst its members irregularly, and reported that the 83 members (out of at least 1000 – 1500 accommodation members making up the bulk of its membership, an embarrassingly poor response rate) had experienced unbelievable occupancy levels of 50 % and 39% in April and May, respectively.  Making the figures even more unbelievable is that Cape Town Tourism’s membership is no reflection of the average accommodation establishment in Cape Town, many leading guest houses having elected to no longer be members of the Cape Town tourism body.

It is no surprise that Seasonality is mentioned as tourism’s biggest threat, and blamed for the poor tourism performance, the winter weather being a deterrent for local tourists to visit the city, and the ‘over-reliance on leisure tourism’ leading to mainly summer tourist visitors, it is written. Surprising is that Cape Town Tourism has been tasked with promoting leisure tourism specifically, and just cannot crack the ‘Seasonality’ nut. Last year the tourism body bragged at its AGM how it would promote tourism during the winter season, but its winter advertising activity has been poorly executed, and has resulted in no impact to date!

Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold is quoted in the media release as saying: “If we cannot establish a year-round demand for Cape Town as leisure, business and events destination the industry will remain threatened and we will not be able to grow the sector. This is a critical issue for an industry that employs more than 300 000 people and is the second largest contributor to the Western Cape’s GDP.”  The tourism body does not have a mandate to promote business tourism, even though it tried to expand its advertising campaign with the slogan ‘You don’t need a holiday, you need Cape Town’ to include conferencing, and setting up businesses locally.  The business application of the campaign has not been visible since the launch.

The media release also records the ‘modest‘ increases in passenger arrivals (it is not qualified if the arrivals were international or local) compared to 2011, a year all in the tourism industry know was the worst winter in years.

The media release is shocking in its poor quality information, in stating that the Pick ‘n Pay Cape Argus Cycle tour and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival took place in April, when in fact they were held in March! We have seen the poor writing quality by Cape Town in the past, but these factual errors are unforgivable!

The shocking conclusion to the release is Mrs Helmbold’s admission that Seasonality is out of control of her organisation, with a waffled identification of what is needed to fix the problem, which the industry is told year in and year out: “The need for a year-round brand positioning and demand-generation strategy to fill beds during the quieter months has been recognised, but seasonality and destination marketing are not one organisation’s concern. We can only solve Cape Town’s seasonality challenges and create year-round demand through partnerships and through understanding the changing needs and travel habits of potential visitors, whether business or leisure. We need collaboration within the industry, innovation, new experiences to promote, joint mobilisation within niche sectors on unusual projects, value-for-money travel packages and convenient access to the destination. We need an exciting calendar of events all year round and we need to cultivate tourism sectors such as food and wine, family travel, extreme adventure and sport”.

It is time that some new thinking is demonstrated at Cape Town Tourism.  The organisation’s strategic and marketing skills clearly are lacking, and even its CEO appears to no longer have the respect she once had, and seems severely taxed by her domestic challenges. She should take responsibility for the poor quality media information which her Communications department is issuing. It is time for new blood at Cape Town Tourism, to save Cape Town’s tourism industry from drowning!

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

SA Tourism goes Down Under to attract visitors to South Africa!

Marthinus van Schalkwyk, national Minister of Tourism, returned from a marketing trip to Australia last week, where he promoted South Africa as the ideal leisure and business tourism destination. Australia ranks sixth in long-haul source markets, and its tourism numbers to South Africa grew by 39 % between 2005 and 2010, to reach 107000 visitors.

Minister van Schalkwyk is looking to grow the Australian market: “We are aiming to achieve and exceed the target of 120000 Australian tourist arrivals in the next two years. We actively need to work at improving seasonality by exposing and promoting South Africa’s all-year, easy-to-do and value-for-money experiences”. The Minister said that Australian tourists look for ‘unique, memorable destinations with amazing wildlife, incredible beaches and coastlines, urban centres and warm, friendly people‘.

SA Tourism opened an office in Sydney nine years ago, and has invited the travel trade on familiarisation trips to South Africa, and has conducted joint roadshows and workshops with the travel trade in Australia. Business Tourism to South Africa was marketed too, the Minister referring to the successful lnternational Olympic Committee and COP17 Climate Change conferences held in Durban last year.  The Minister visited the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo, at which our country was promoted as a ‘highly accessible and value-for-money destination’, and its successes since hosting the 2010 World Cup were highlighted.

The Australian tourism market is attractive, with its visitors staying 15 days and spending R11800 per person per trip on average.  It has a strong word-of-mouth communication network with so many former South Africans living in Australia, although not all of them are positively predisposed to their former homeland.

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

Jonty Rhodes to bat for team SA Tourism in India!

Jonty Rhodes, former South African cricketer and now coach for the Indian Premier League, has been appointed as a tourism ambassador for South Africa in India, reports Business Line. The announcement comes as part of a high level tourism delegation currently visiting five Indian cities to bat for tourism business.   Tourism from India to South Africa grew by 18% to 85000 in 2011, and the target is 100000 Indian tourists in 2014, reports Southern African Tourism Update.

SA Tourism Country Head for SA Tourism in India, Hanneli Slabber, is largely responsible for the great success achieved in the Indian market, with her enthusiastic marketing programmes, having got to know this market well in the short time that she has been based in India.  Market research has shown that Indian tourists to our country are more likely to come from Mumbai and Delhi, but visitors from cities such as Chennai, Ahmedabad, and Bangalore are above average holiday spenders.  The SA Tourism advertising budget in India grew by 50 % last year, and is expected to grow by another 50 % this year.

Cape Town Routes Unlimited appears to be one of only few Cape representative attending the India road show, with Cape Town Tourism visible by its absence.  The 132 South African tourism product and service representatives of 62 products has doubled in one year, and includes Spier, Pepper Club Luxury Hotel & Spa, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, Montagu Country Hotel, Grootbos Nature Reserve, hotel and safari lodge groups, and tour operators, visiting Mumbai, New Dehli, Bangalore, Pune, and Chennai. Indian tour operators representing MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) as well as leisure tourism product owners and managers are attending the road show events. ‘Learn South Africa’ training programs have been hosted for 1500 travel agents throughout India in the past two years, and top operators have been flown to South Africa to show them the country.

Even national Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, is attending the India road show.  Given the size of the Indian population, and that it is expected to be one of the three largest global economies by 2050, this emerging tourism market is of great importance for South Africa, the Minister said.  For our country, India is the 7th largest source market, and marketing in India focuses on fashion, food, sport, film, and wine.  Nine direct flights from Johannesburg to India are available per week. In November 1000 delegates will attend the Travel Agents Federation of India Convention in Durban, a huge boost for the city and country to win this bid.

Provincial Tourism Minister Alan Winde said he is confident that the Western Cape and Cape Town would be top of mind in the presentations about South African in India, one of the BRICS markets being targeted by Cape Town Routes Unlimited. Ms Slabber added that South Africa has become a popular tourism destination for the Indian market. Not only do the road shows expose the diversity of the tourism products of our country, but they also help to attain “market insights for future product development.  With the burgeoning development, increasing purchasing power and flourishing travel aspirations of Indians, we wish to expand our reach in these promising markets through our road shows and advertising and marketing campaigns. We will continue to invest strongly in our marketing efforts and initiatives to promote South Africa across various consumer segments”, she said. Cape Town Routes Unlimited CEO Calvyn Gilfellan praised the friendly reception to the Western Cape representatives from the Indian travel agents, who are ‘really selling Cape Town and the Western Cape vigorously’.

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