July 2002
Weddings ring in millions

Wedding tourism is growing dramatically, and could be worth close to R 5 billion in the Western Cape, as weddings are hosted week after week during the summer months at more than 200 wedding venues in the Western Cape alone.

Based on an analysis prepared by Celebration House, a wedding planning showcase, up to 10 000 weddings are held in the province per season, with half of these involving bridal couples from overseas. The international couples often attract 50 - 60 overseas guests to their weddings, creating a total value to tourism of up to R 1 million per wedding.

The international bridal couples getting married in South Africa usually involve at least one South African currently living in the United Kingdom. However, often it is convenient and economical for bridal couples with family in the United Kingdom and Australia or New Zealand to also host their wedding in Cape Town.

The Cape's attraction and reputation as the Wedding Capital of the World is the excellent value for money offered, the wonderful weather, the great service offered by local wedding planners, the beautiful settings of wedding venues, the many honeymoon destinations available, and the enjoyment of the overseas wedding guests in discovering one of the trendiest destinations in the world.

A company uniquely planning weddings in the Cape for UK based bridal couples is CapeTownWeddings - contact www.capetownweddings.com

Events expenditure creates exponential earnings

The funding of major events in Cape Town by the Events Office of the City of Cape Town has paid off handsomely for the city and its businesses, a study conducted by the London based Sports Marketing Surveys has found.

The Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour, North Sea Jazz Festival, J & B Met and Volvo Ocean Race generated more than R 700 million in the past few months, and also created job opportunities, enhanced the incomes of many Cape Town residents, attracted investments, created publicity to the value of millions of Rands for the city of Cape Town, and confirmed the city's credibility as a premier destination.

The Cycle Tour generated a total economic benefit of R 317 million, and the Volvo Ocean Race's contribution was measured at R 225 million. The indirect benefit of these events is that more than 90 % of the international participants in the events would return to Cape Town in future, to enjoy the Mother City's hospitality, shopping and accommodation.

Film focus finances future

Cape Town has experienced the most successful filming season ever this past summer, with a record number of film permits issued by the city's Film Office, with vast financial benefits to the accommodation, restaurant and film industry, as well as free publicity value for the city.

In December last year the Film Office issued 330 film permits, in January this almost doubled to 600, and further increased to about 860 permits each in February and March. The film industry is estimated to generate R 2 billion in income for Cape Town.

The growth in film shoots in Cape Town has led to the development of a business plan for the development of a Film City in the city, housing a film studio, set manufacturers, service related industries and a film school. Such a complex could attract the production of blockbuster movies to the city.

The Wall Street Journal has just covered the popularity of Cape Town as one of the world's favoured film shoot destinations, not only for its beauty but also for its excellent value for money - for example, a local production crew costs 40 % less to hire than in Los Angeles.

Germans generate growth

The German tourist market to South Africa, traditionally strongest during October and November, is set to see another bumper season.

The widely read Bunte magazine recently gave South Africa its highest rating, shared with Cuba, as a desired tourist destination, with a five star rating on Value for Money and on Experience Value.

In the evaluation, South Africa was lauded for its safaris, golf courses, beaches and wines. The average 9 % drop in prices due to the exchange rate was also highlighted.

Other countries which were rated as popular holiday destinations for German visitors were Turkey, Croatia, Thailand and Bulgaria. Three German provinces were also highly rated: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schleswig-Holstein, and Bavaria.

In anticipation of demand, Lufthansa is to increase the number of its flights to South Africa to 13 per week between November and March, three more per week than in the previous season. Flights will leave from both Frankfurt and Munich to Johannesburg.

South African Tourism in Frankfurt reports that interest in wellness and fitness holidays amongst German tourists has increased dramatically.

Amazing TV coverage for City

The popular reality television show Amazing Race recently featured Cape Town in its international line-up of destinations, creating untold value for the city as a tourist destination, and generating millions of Rands in free publicity.

The eleven pairs of contestants still in the race arrived at Cape Town International Airport, and were guided by clues to Robben Island, Kalk Bay, the townships, and finally to the Lanzerac Hotel in Stellenbosch, where the last pair to arrive was eliminated from the Amazing Race.

The episode was shot on a picture perfect January sunshine day, with wonderful footage of Table Mountain, the Waterfront and False Bay being woven into the excitement of the competitors' race against time.

SLEEPOUT wakes up Guest House industry!

SLEEPOUT, the relaunched New Media Publishing Sleepover accommodation guide, was introduced to the accommodation industry at a highly successful Guest House Workshop, sponsored by SLEEPOUT and held at Erinvale last week.

Positioned as South Africa's leading traveller's guide, SLEEPOUT will be a South Africa orientated travel publication which will advise international as well as domestic tourists about child-friendly destinations, wonderful wedding venues, wellness and health safaris, trendy weekend breakaways, golfing holidays, adventure activities, the eclipse in December, game viewing and solo travelling.

The SLEEPOUT Guest House Workshop was attended by close to 200 guest house owners, who enjoyed the quality of the presentations on a variety of topics relating to their businesses, and the networking opportunities it presented.

More details about SLEEPOUT and a summary of the papers presented can be requested from editor@sleepout.co.za

SAA invests in tourism

South African Airways has announced a number of changes to its schedule, with direct flights to Milan introduced this week, and new flights to Copenhagen planned from October.

The airline is also looking to fill its capacity, and has introduced reduced prices on the last domestic flights of the day on Tuesdays and Saturdays. This offer holds until the end of July.

In anticipation of the larger number of tourists expected to visit South Africa from China, SAA is to increase the number of flights to and from Hong Kong from three to seven per week.

Medical Tourism addresses crippling UK costs

The Western Cape's hospitals are looking to benefit from tourists who seek the highly regarded medical skills of local medical practitioners at excellent value for money. The income generated would be ploughed back into improving medical care for the poorer communities of South Africa.

South Africa's medical tourism services benefit patients in the United Kingdom in the main, who face long waiting lists at UK hospitals as well as crippling medical expenses for such operations. The cost of an operation in the UK is higher than the total cost of travelling to South Africa, the cost of the operation and the accommodation required for the recuperation period thereafter.

Only major medical procedures are to be performed at the teaching hospitals in the province, and would include Groote Schuur, Tygerberg Hospital and the Red Cross Children's Hospital.

The Western Cape Department of Health is looking to persuade the National Health System in the United Kingdom to allow its patients to be treated outside the European Union.

A whale of a new Whale Cottage Hermanus !

In September Whale Cottage Hermanus will be opening a new guest house with spectacular seaviews of Walker Bay and offering whale watching from the cliff paths opposite it or directly from the comfort of its rooms and decks, on Westcliff Drive, halfway between the Old and New Harbours in Hermanus.

Hermanus is known to offer the world's best land-based whale watching in the world between June and December.

What's in a name?

Name changes have become popular in South Africa, with cities, towns and provinces relooking their names. Even streets and mountains are set to be renamed!

The Northern Province has been renamed Limpopo Province, Pretoria is now called Tshwane and Pietersburg is to change its name to Polokwane.

WhaleTales is a newsletter issued by the Whale Cottage Guest House Portfolio and is edited by Chris von Ulmenstein.
Christiane von Ulmenstein
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