Cape Town Tourism: poor marketing comes from the top!


Yesterday we wrote about the poorly maintained website of Cape Town Tourism, and had naively hoped that our contribution would have helped its Communications Manager Skye Grove to fix all the embarrassing errors on the site. Sadly, nothing has been fixed at all.

Finding this state of affairs unacceptable, especially during this peak tourism period, I called City Councillor Grant Pascoe’s office (Tel 021 400-1346), and his secretary kindly gave me his cellphone number (082 748 3998) when I told her that the esteemed Councillor has not once returned my calls nor responded to my Tweets and e-mails addressed to him in the past few months.  The Councillor answered his cellphone immediately, and was in a noisy space sounding like a children’s playground, and said that he could not speak to me because he was in a meeting with a colleague, and was off anyway, and was only back in the office on Monday.  I asked him to confirm that he would indeed call back, given his poor record of non-response in the past year, which unleashed a torrent of abuse from him, saying that he didn’t know why he should call back because of what I have written about him on this blog, and demanded an apology first!  I said that I have only written about his rudeness in not responding to me. When I asked him to elaborate about what else I had written that had offended him, he told me to read my blog, indicating that he could not remember! Over and above highlighting the Councillor’s non-communication rudeness, we wrote about his Design Indaba PR gaffe!

Councillor Pascoe has been a DA Councillor for Westridge in Mitchell’s Plain for the past ten years, appears to have studied theology for a year, with Who’s Who falsely claiming that he has a degree in theology, has been chairperson of the Cape Town Metro region of the Democratic Alliance, and has been Mayoral Committee Member for Social Development & Special Projects since 2010, his profile on Linked In says, but his Twitter profile states that he serves on the Executive Mayoral Committee for Tourism, Events and Marketing.  Last year Mr Pascoe stood for Mayor of Cape Town.  The R40 million Cape Town Tourism budget buck stops with him! Interestingly, the Councillor has protected his Tweets, mainly focused on cricket, not understanding that they are readable via Hootsuite!  A Twitter exchange about my call to Mr Pascoe this morning has attracted the attention of DA Leader Helen Zille, and she has requested Western Cape provincial Minister of Tourism Alan Winde to get involved.

It gets even better: Ian Bartes has been the Chairman of Cape Town Tourism for the past four years, and is the Services Standards Manager of the Airports Company in Cape Town (Tel 021 935-3860). He is on leave, only returning to the office on 26 January!  Interesting is his role at ACSA, being quality standards, and one wonders if he reads what Cape Town Tourism puts on its website, as the content should not meet his approval.  Trying to obtain his cellphone number via Cape Town Tourism was a major mission, marked top secret!  Deputy Chairman Sabine Lehmann, CEO of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company (Tel 021 424-0015, cell 082 305 9019), was in a meeting, but her office sweetly passed on her cellphone number, also designated as top secret.  She took my call to her cellphone immediately, even though she was in the meeting, and has promised to call back.

Cape Town Tourism Acting CEO Enver Duminy (Tel 021 426-4260) was contactable, and said that he had been at work over the festive period, for which I congratulated him, but admitted to not having seen our blogpost about Cape Town Tourism’s out-of-date website yesterday.  He promised to get back to me once he had read it.

POSTSCRIPT 5/1:  I am impressed with Enver Duminy’s response time, as Acting CEO of Cape Town Tourism – his CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold could take a leaf from his book!  This was his reply: I would like to thank you for bringing some of your website comments to my attention, and the team have been tasked to review your points and amend spelling errors and remove expired content where and when possible, and as appropriate. Thank you for highlighting  the “Beyond Cape Town” sections, which the team will look into, and with the support our LTO and RTO colleagues in the regions, provide us with updated content to populate as such”.

POSTCRIPT 5/1:  Sabine Lehmann has just called back, and refuses to comment as a Cape Town Tourism Board member, and neither as Deputy Chairman in the absence of her Chairman Ian Bartes.  She was not aware of all the website errors, and will take it to the next Board meeting, she said.

POSTSCRIPT 9/1: Not surprisingly Councillor Grant Pascoe did not return my call today, as he had promised last week!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: Twitter: @WhaleCottage

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6 replies on “Cape Town Tourism: poor marketing comes from the top!”

  1. No doubt some high level politicking going on, debating how they can/may respond Rob!


  2. Oh dear Oh dear – what to say or what to do. I really have to wonder how our Premier Helen Zille would act and what she would have to say about this member of her party, charged with a most important portfolio, in terms of our local economy. Since the DA ( whom I support) claim that it is the party that governs effectively??
    For an elected official to behave so defensively is hardly politically correct! What with demanding an apology no less – I would have imagined that adopting a more ” let me see what I can do” attitude would be more in keeping with the heart of a true politician, who is always guarded against offending a member of the public whom he serves. Just let me stop there, because this kinda defensiveness really upsets me.

    if it were not for your thought provoking and challenging blog reports, I would not give what is happening in and around the officials charged with taking care of tourism locally another thought, becoming one of the many complacent citizens that make it possible for our tourism officials to be as lax as they seem to be.

  3. I agree Frances, and it didn’t take him too long.

    Disappointing was Sabine Lehmann’s quite abrupt response and refusal to comment.


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