Tag Archives: S A Tourism

South Africa wins Olympic Games with Stellenrust Fairtrade ‘London 2012’ wines!

Brand ‘South Africa’ and ‘Fairtrade‘ will be in the lips of hundreds of thousands of Olympic Games supporters for the next three weeks, being branded on two of the three official ‘London 2012’ wines produced for the 2012 Olympic Games, reports Winemag. The Chenin Blanc and Rosé wines (made from Pinotage, Shiraz, and Merlot) come from Stellenrust, the largest Fairtrade-certified wine estate in South Africa, one of the largest family-owned wine estates in the country, and ‘a very successful winery’, according to its Platter entry.

For the first time in Olympic history, the International Olympic Committee contracted with Bibendum, a London-based wine merchant, which was awarded the title ‘European Merchant of the Year 2012’, to source 650000 litres of 2012 vintage wines, for sale at the Olympic Games venues in London.  The third wine is not Fairtrade-certified, and comes from Brazil’s Seival Estate, being a Shiraz, Tempranillo, and Gamay Nouveau blend. The Brazilian wine reflects the country hosting the Olympic Games in 2016, and its emergence as a wine producing country.

The wines are to be sold at £4,80 (R62) for a 187 ml recyclable PET bottle, and at R250 for a 750 ml bottle. One million bottles each of the Rosé and Shiraz Tempranillo will be available for sale, as will be 1,2 million bottles of Chenin Blanc.  A total of 9 million tickets have been sold to Olympic Games spectators.

In addition to the marvellous branding benefit for the country and its wine industry, an excellent outcome of this win for the Stellenbosch wine estate is that R450000 will go its staff, for allocation to social upliftment projects, which will be overseen by the Fairtrade Foundation in the UK, reports The Times.

WOSA (Wines of South Africa) and SA Tourism couldn’t have wished for a better free marketing opportunity to give the world a taste for South African wines and for marketing South Africa as a tourism destination

POSTSCRIPT 5/8: The Fairtrade ethical logo is attracting increasing custom, reports the Cape Argus, internationally its brands having generated sales of € 5 billion in 2011.  In the UK the spend on Fairtrade brands increased by 12% last year relative to 2010.  Locally, Fairtrade sales more than tripled to R73 million last year.  Cape Chamber of Commerce President Michael Bagraim said that the Fairtrade certification could help give local products a competitive edge in international export markets.  Wine and coffee are the Fairtrade products that have sold best locally, South Africans having bought 255600 bottles and 3,5 million cups of coffee certified by Fairtrade.  Woolworths Cafés, operated by TriBeCa, sell Fairtrade certified organic coffee.

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

Mayday, Mayday – Cape hospitality industry ship is sinking!

The signs are everywhere – doom and gloom where one goes in the hospitality industry – restaurants are close to empty, accommodation establishments cannot pull in guests, and the enquiries and bookings just are not rolling in, the 50 % deposits for accommodation establishments being an important means of surviving the winter. Bookings generally are a barometer of the summer season lying ahead.   The next few months will see a bloodbath of closures, as hospitality businesses run out of cash.

It is sad to see the day-to-day reality of close to empty hotels and guest houses, with a trickle of businesspersons keeping things going, and of seeing top restaurants in Cape Town and in the Winelands standing empty for weekend lunches and dinners, not to mention the poor weekday trade.   This scenario is despite fantastic winter specials  offered by close to 100 restaurants in the Cape and Winelands, and accommodation rates that drop by close to half from May to August.  Chats I have had with owners of restaurants and hospitality establishments in Cape Town and Franschhoek paint a picture of gloom, all saying that this May is far worse than last year’s.  Last May was not great, falling into a pre-World Cup vacuum.

Disturbing is to read headlines, such as in Business Report yesterday, crying “Hotels fill more rooms, but special offers hit profit”.  Referring to now two-months old figures for March, it writes that the occupancy in 3-, 4-, and 5-star hotels rose relative to March a year ago, but that revenues ‘are down steeply and some are making a loss’, especially in 4- and 5-star hotels, due to rates cut to meet those of 3-star hotels in some instances.  However, the ‘South African Hotel Review’ oddly showed lower occupancies for 3-star hotels than for more luxury hotels.  Many hotels are for sale, and being converted into retirement homes.   Protea Hotels says that it regularly receives requests for this largest local hotel group to take over the management or to buy their properties.  The hotel group understands the financial pressures on establishments, and their inability to cut its expenses, such as taxes and municipal costs, as these are fixed.

This scenario is echoed in the STR Global report, an international hotel data tracking company, which shows that 5-star hotels in Cape Town dropped their rates by 11% on average in the first quarter of this year, thereby increasing occupancy by 9%, to achieve an average occupancy of 63%, reports South African Tourism Update.  Sandton hotels dropped their rates by 9% on average in the same period, and achieved an average occupancy of 52%.   The Average Daily Rate for a 5-star hotel room in Cape Town was R1867, the survey found, compared to R1407 for Sandton’s 5-star hotels.   Nationally the 5-star hotel occupancy rose to 55% in the first quarter, but Average Daily Rate dropped by 9% to R1629, and Revenue per Available Room dropped by 6 % to R893.

In complete contrast, the Business Report  lead article optimistically trumpeted in its headline report yesterday “Consumers now in better shape”, when most hospitality owners will say that the recession has hit South Africans hard for the first time.   The newspaper report bases its sensational headline on the good financial results posted the day before by Famous Brands (with low-cost restaurant chain brands Steers, Wimpy, Debonairs and Mugg & Bean), which opened 111 outlets until February 2011, and plans to open a further 176 outlets in the year to come, and has an objective to double the size of its business by 2013.   The company benefited greatly from the World Cup.  The Lewis Group as well as Verimark also posted good results.

What is of the biggest concern for the summer season lying ahead is that the UK market is extremely quiet, with only a few enquiries trickling in from a handful of regular guests.  Agents and tour operators report how cash-strapped British consumers are, and that they are just not travelling, due to the austerity measures and tax increases imposed by their government, and the strong Rand.  The forecast is for the hottest UK summer in years, which is not good news for Cape Town.  A small consolation is the increase in the number of BA flights, to two per day, between London and Cape Town from October, reports the Cape Argus.  The eruption of the Grimsvötn volcano appears to have had no effect on business locally, due to the low numbers of international arrivals this month.

The South African hospitality industry will be largely dependent on the South African domestic market, and the promised SA Tourism advertising campaign to encourage locals to travel in their own country has not yet been seen.  It is sorely needed.  So too is some advice and comfort from our tourism bodies Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited, who are not communicating with their members, other than to list winter specials.

The recent accolades that Cape Town and South Africa received from TripAdvisor members and Telegraph readers, respectively, earlier this month appear to have made no impact on enquiries and bookings at all.

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

Earth, Wind and Fire and all that jazz blows at Cape Town International Jazz Festival!

The 12th Cape Town International Jazz Festival, taking place in Cape Town from tomorrow, is estimated to inject R475 million into the economy of Cape Town, to contribute R685 million to the GDP of South Africa, and has created 2000 jobs, reports the Cape Argus.  The headline act is Earth, Wind and Fire, and 42 artists will perform at the Jazz Festival, half of them from Africa and the rest from other countries.

Last year the International Jazz Festival attracted 34000 jazz lovers over two days, making it the single largest event in Cape Town, said Joey Pather, the CEO of the Cape Town International Convention Centre, inside and outside of which the Jazz Festival takes place.  President Jacob Zuma acknowledged the economic importance in terms of income and job creation of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival during his State of the Nation address in February. 

The attendance is expected to grow when the Convention Centre expands its capacity.   Sponsorship of the Jazz Festival has been under pressure, especially last year, due to the World Cup, but 95 % of the tickets have been sold to date.   More visitors to the Jazz Festival are from Gauteng, with the Western Cape surprisingly having the lowest number of Jazz Festival attendees.   About a quarter of all attendees are from overseas.

The spokesperson of the Western Cape Department of Tourism said that the direct benefit of the International Jazz Festival is R 43 million, spent on flights, hotels, restaurants, shopping and other expenditure. The CEO of S A Tourism, Thandiwe January-McLean, praised the contribution of the Jazz Festival: “South African Tourism takes great pride in supporting this world-class event that has helped showcase our country as a (sic) unique lifestyle and musical destination”.

Some of the acts performing at the International Jazz Festival include Youssou N’Dour, Gang of Instrumentals, Chad Saaiman, Mathew Moolman, Lloyd Jansen, Hugh Masekela, Larry Willis, David Ledbetter and the Clearing, and Bebe Winans.  Some ‘concept bands’ will be created especially for the Jazz Festival, such as the ‘Tribute to Oscar Peterson’ concept band, which will consist of Jack van der Poll, James Scholfield and Hein van de Geyn, and play Peterson’s repertoire.  Guitafrika is another concept band, and consists of beloved local guitarist Steve Newman, Eric Triton from Mauritius, and Alhousseini Mohammed Aniviolla from Niger.   The Cape Town Tribute Band will be put together to do exactly that, paying tribute to the many jazz musicians who passed away in the past year, including Tony Schilder (‘Montreal’), Winston Mankunku, Robbie Jansen, and Hotep Galeta (‘Harold’s Bossa’).   The fourth concept band includes bassist Victor Masondo, and will see him perform live – he was recently invited to perform at the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival in Washington.   The ‘concept bands make the festival unique.  People have the opportunity to see bands that they are unlikely to see somewhere else or in their lifetime” said Rashid Lombard, the creator and Festival Director of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town.   www.capetownjazzfest.com  25 -27 March.  Book at Computicket.

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

New R1/2 million marketing slogan for South Africa hits trash can!

Don’t you just love it when you read that a R140 million tender, which included coming up with a new international marketing slogan for South Africa, generated a slogan that is not any more creative than the previous boring slogan, and is not original, in having been used in other countries!   Now it has been canned!

Last week the government approved the new slogan “More than you can imagine…” for South Africa, reports the Cape Times.   The contract was handled by the International Marketing Council.  The slogan will be used not only by the International Marketing Council, but will also be adopted by S A Tourism for its marketing of South Africa as a tourism destination.   The new slogan replaces the meaningless slogan: “Alive with Possibility”, as it had slipped in its popularity rating to 64%, it is reported.

The only problem is that the slogan is not only totally generic, not creatively and uniquely defining what makes South Africa special, breaking a cardinal marketing rule in finding a positioning that differentiates one from the competition, but also is not unique to our country.   Other uses of the same slogan have been in Portugal, the state of Maryland in the USA, the county Clackmannanshire in Scotland, by a training company in Australia, and in an advertising campaign in the USA!

Themba Maseko, a cabinet spokesperson, said the cabinet did not know of the slogan’s use elsewhere: “When the cabinet approved the slogan, it was not aware it had been used by other countries.  Our understanding was that thorough research was conducted before the recommendation was made to cabinet.”  The International Marketing Council CEO, Miller Matola, defended his Council’s slogan choice on the basis that it has not been used for any other country!

Now the government has canned the slogan due to its use elsewhere, reported the Sunday Times.   “Once it had been brought to our attention that the slogan was not original, we had to investigate”, government spokesperson Vusi Mona is reported to have said.   Bodies that had been consulted in the development of the slogan included the Departments of Tourism and Trade and Industry, Nedlac, S A Tourism, and the provinces.  Excluded from the consultative process was the tourism industry! 

The slogan development is part of a four year R140 million contract to market South Africa via the International Marketing Council, and cost R470000 to generate.

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