Cape Town tourism recovery only in 2014, says Cape Town Tourism!

It was depressing to read the article”The Business Case for Tourism and a strong brand for Cape Town” by Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, and published on the Cape Town Tourism Blog.  Oddly it has not been sent to its members.  The most disturbing prediction it contains is that the R14 billion Cape Town tourism industry, which employs just short of 300000 staff, will only recover in 2014, in getting back to the 2007 level, the last good year for tourism in Cape Town.  What is disappointing is that Mrs Helmbold does not provide any guidelines to her Cape Town Tourism members as to how businesses should survive the next three years of poor business, nor does she spell out what she and her organisation are doing to market Cape Town more visibly!

To set the scene, Mrs Helmbold writes that international arrivals to Cape Town as well as domestic arrivals have stagnated due to the ‘Global Financial Crisis’, as she calls it, and she estimates a total loss of R 1,5 billion for the Cape Town tourism industry between 2008 – 2014, with zero job creation as a result.  Unlike other provinces, Cape Town and the Western Cape has little Africa-business, with more than 80 % of its business coming from Europe (including the UK, one assumes) and the USA.  Cape Town is a small fish in a massive global tourism pond, with our city’s market share being 0,2 % of world tourism.  She blames SA Tourism by implication for doing too much marketing of wildlife, and too little of the cities in our country :”…many national campaigns are of a tactical nature, which do not necessarily build knowledge and esteem values of our cities”.  The marketing of Cape Town, which is the responsibility of Cape Town Tourism, does “not allow for Cape Town to be compellingly and relevantly portrayed to potential visitors”.  This sounds odd, as Mrs Helmbold is pointing at her own organisation, but she does not explain what constraints there are to marketing the city. She also states that Cape Town’s attributes of being “iconic, complex and multi-faceted” are not evident to tourists.

The rest of the five page document becomes a long and theoretical ramble about how Cape Town should be positioned and at whom it should be aimed: in summary, the marketing of Cape Town no longer should be focused on leisure tourism alone, by highlighting the beauty of Cape Town, but it should incorporate business, investment, academia, and the creative sectors too. All of this appears to have been written to justify to its funders, the City of Cape Town, that unnamed ‘partnerships’ (probably the writers of the document, given its theoretical nature and unusual style for Mrs Helmbold’s writing) are “waiting in the wings for public sector endorsement of Cape Town Tourism’s new 2011/2012 marketing strategy and for the brand execution plan”. 

Sydney is used as an example, in how the 2000 Olympic Games caused a five-year tourism slump to that city, mainly because they stopped marketing themselves, thinking that they had world exposure.  The key learning points for Cape Town Tourism are that cities do not market themselves, they need to be marketed; investment in infrastructure and hosting events create growth and ‘livability’, but may not be relevant to tourists: “lack of marketing induces invisibility and irrelevance, which in itself reduces demand”.

The conclusion of the article seems far too obvious, and one must question why Cape Town Tourism, custodians of brand Cape Town, have not been able to identify the poor tourism and resultant poor industry performance trends, and have not acted proactively to address these problems.  Mrs Helmbold concludes: “If we do not act decisively now our industry and the economic well being of our city and people are at great risk.  If we don’t proactively engage in a new marketing and branding strategy we run the risk of being positioned nonetheless by our competitors, our critics and the media, and most likely to our disadvantage”. The last sentence does not make sense in its wording, nor can one understand why Cape Town Tourism has not changed its marketing strategy to date, having been responsible for the city’s marketing for the past three years already.

As we have pointed out on this Blog, the recent TripAdvisor accolade of Cape Town being ranked in first place as its Travellers’ Choice Top Destination, has seen no tourism benefit at all, and this is echoed by Ms Helmbold: “Although we are considered as one of the new cities to watch for 2020 and continue to rake in travel accolades, it is no guarantee for success or economic growth”.

One must question whether Cape Town Tourism is capable of driving such an important campaign, influencing the revenue of almost all the city’s businesses, all directly or indirectly influenced by tourism, and of its population, dependent on jobs.  Cape Town Tourism’s Marketing Manager until recently was Lianne Burton, a journalist, and not a marketer.  Her departure from the organisation has been kept low-key.  Ms Burton has not been replaced to date.  Mrs Helmbold and her PR Manager Skye Grove are very active on Twitter, but this is rarely about tourism, and far more about their social life. We must question why their time during working hours is not focused on their work and the marketing challenges of our city !  A further concern is the information that we have received that the highly respected PR company that Cape Town Tourism had appointed in Germany, KPRN, no longer does the PR for Cape Town.  There appears to be no visible benefit to tourism in Cape Town of the appointment by Cape Town Tourism of PR agencies in Holland, Germany and the UK.

We wrote to Mrs Helmbold, and asked her some questionsaboutthemarketing of Cape Town.  The first question related to the replacement of Ms Burton.  It appears that Ms Burton left some time ago, but is assisting Cape Town Tourism in a “consultative role” until the end of this month.  A new Executive Manager: Marketing should start on 1 July, she wrote.  Of concern is that Cape Town Tourism also does not appear to have an eMarketing Manager, with a job advertisement posted on Careers24 yesterday, and requiring the person to start on 1 July, not giving anyone time to work out their notice!   We asked about the international PR companies that had been appointed, but Mrs Helmbold was only detailed in respect of the non-renewal of the contract with Kleber Public Relations Network, which has worked with SA Tourism for years.  The company has been replaced by Akomasa Creative Connection in Germany.  Mrs Helmbold did not provide information about the success of the PR campaigns overseas, other than to say that information about it has been presented at workshops, which not all Cape Town Tourism members can attend.  One hopes that Cape Town Tourism can justify its international spend by sending members a detailed report of their international activities to obtain exposure for Cape Town. 

In reply to our question:”What is Cape Town Tourism doing to prevent a bloodbath of restaurant, hotel and other accommodation closures due to poor forward bookings?”, Mrs Helmbold was generalist and vague, and she does not appear to understand that a solution must be found NOW, and not in months to come! This was her disappointing response:

“As I explained in the Paper done on the Business Case for Tourism, the global financial crisis and the subsequent consumer behavioural change has had a significant adverse effect on the tourism industry; demand has diminished, visitor spends have steadied and costs have increased. Our over-reliance on traditional source markets, worse hit by the GFC, places us at further risk. There is not a quick-fix for this problem and no one could anticipate the extend (sic) of the impact of the GFC, of which we are really only now experiencing the magnitude of the impact. This is of course exaggerated by seasonality and as I said before our over-reliance on international leisure visitors from mainly Europe and the US.  

Investing in a strong, multi-dimensional brand is critical. We are pursuing private partners for a few significant brand platforms like international TV productions (BBC, National Geographic), events and campaigns, focusing on our unique strengths as a destination i.e. food and wine. We are focusing our efforts and resources on the “dream” and “conversion” part of the customer journey – assuming that the choice to come to Cape Town is not an obvious one and expensive to get here. We have to reinforce the awareness created during the World Cup, but move to conversion with good value for money offers. From an eMarketing perspective we are adding bookabilitytoourweb-platforms by July this year, starting with accommodation and then introducing it for tours and activities as soon as the new module is built. Through the new marketing alliance with Joburg and Durban we should be able to leverage some of SAT’s marketing spend, this will be a key focus for us in the next 4 months.

Whilst we continue our investment and reinforce our presence in traditional international leisure markets, we are investing in domestic tourism, using mainly some key events as draw-cards and working with the business sector to start changing negative perceptions around our business brand. Both the domestic and business markets are complex issues and will take a long-term approach to turn the tide against seasonality.

We are hosting a series of product workshops within the next few months on value, price, packaging and marketing alignment aimed to assist the industry to become more competitive and mitigate some of the risks faced within these tough economic times.

We will all have to work very hard together, under a powerful and united destination brand, to change the current trends and grow tourism into a more sustainable, year-round industry with a more healthy balance between international leisure, business and domestic tourism.

We are making a few significant changes to our marketing strategy and as soon as the plan is finalised and partners confirmed we will share it with the industry.”

We call for a heavyweight Marketing professional to be appointed, to drive Cape Town Tourism’s marketing of Cape Town. Ms Helmboldhasbeen running “Brand Cape Town” workshops for the past three years, and she is still asking workshops what Cape Town stands for.  Surely by now she and her team should have decided on a unique positioning for Cape Town that would be universally applicable in communication with all the sectors it wishes to attract to Cape Town.  Ms Helmbold’s article sounds like a city marketing organisation that is overwhelmed by the problems its tourism industry is facing, and that does not know the way forward – a very scary situation indeed!

POSTSCRIPT 10/6:  The only response from Cape Town Tourism is this sarcastic Tweet from its PR Manager Skye Grove:  @MariettedTHons le, sit, loop, rol rond op twitter.. tsk tsk.. mar (sic) ek belowe ek sal more bietjie werk.. @SoniaCabano1

POSTSCRIPT 10/6:  Yesterday Cape Town Routes Unlimited CEO Calvyn Gilfellan was reported on Eye Witness News to have urged ‘hotels and industry suppliers to reduce their rates to make travel more affordable for locals’.  He said “I think the industry must really wake up and make themselves more affordable if they want to remain competitive in a very cut-throat industry”. 

POSTSCRIPT 12/6: A business tourism event with a difference was the hosting of the global Playboy editors’ conference, which took place at the Mount Nelson Hotel earlier this week, reports the Weekend Argus .  The group of fifty met for three days.

POSTSCRIPT 13/6: The Bureau of Economic Research sent its results for the confidence in the Services industry today.  Of the service sectors surveyed, Accommodation has by far the lowest Business Confidence Index at only 25% (the next lowest is Real Estate at 41%).  Accommodation bookings are expected to decrease by 56% in the second quarter of 2011, relative to 2010, which was out of the ordinary for bookings due to the World Cup.  For the third quarter of this year, bookings are expected to be down by 23 %.  Trend information supplied showed that the last period of growth for the Accommodation industry was the fourth quarter of 2007.

POSTSCRIPT 13/6:  The provincial Minister of Tourism, Alan Winde, has announced that his plans to consolidate a number of marketing agencies for Western Cape businesses into an Economic Development Agency are back on track, and the Agency is expected to be launched in November, reports the Cape Argus today.  Perhaps this is the agency that can do the business marketing of Cape Town.  However, Cape Town Tourism is no longer on the Minister’s list of agencies which he wants to consolidate, his plans to do so originally causing a huge outcry.  The agencies to be consolidated include Wesgro, Cape Town Routes Unlimited, the Cape Craft and Design Institute, the Cape Film Commission, Calling the Cape, the Cape Town Boatbuilding and Technology Initiative, the Cape Music Industry Commission, the Cape Town Fashion Council, and ten others.    

POSTSCRIPT 14/6:  One company that is benefiting from the tourism slump is the Protea Hospitality Group, which is leasing and buying hotels that have ‘over-extended themselves and are now struggling to survive due to the current slump in the local hotel industry’, reports Southern African Tourism Update.  Protea’s CEO Arthur Gillis predicts that ‘many of South Africa’s 80 hotel brands will disappear’.  Gillissaid that he doubted whether there will be a tourism boom ‘unless it gets more bums on airline seats’. He suggests that SAA should fly routes in the interest of tourism, whether profitable or not.

POSTSCRIPT 14/6: Gillian Saunders of tourism consultancy Grant Thornton said about the tourism industry recently: “It’s really tough out there”.  She blamed this on the recession, the strong Rand, increased costs such as electricity and labour, and an oversupply of accommodation, reported the Cape Times.  City Lodge Hotels CEO Clifford Ross said: “It’s probably the worst I have known for 32 years”.  He added that no one “expected the drop-off after the World Cup to be so severe. There will be casualties in the market. Quite a few (hotels) are teetering on the brink”. 

POSTSCRIPT 17/6: Southern African Tourism Update  reports that the Minister is to have also said at the FEDHASA Cape AGM that local tourism authorities should not market internationally, as SA Tourism is doing so already, and that they should focus on local marketing instead.  He quoted the example of KZN Tourism, which has a marketing office in Gauteng.  Was he addressing Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited? 

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

29 replies on “Cape Town tourism recovery only in 2014, says Cape Town Tourism!”

  1. Liza says:

    Cape Town Tourism, under leadership of Du Toit Helmbold is the most dynamic, proactive organisation that ever marketed Cape Town. What you don’t mention Von Ulmenstein is that there is a world-wide recession sweeping across the globe that has only now hit South Africa. Is this Cape Town Tourism’s or SA Tourism’s fault? No! It is the reality that all industries (not only tourism) is faced with.

  2. Schalk says:

    I have to disagree with you Chris. Cape Town Tourism is the first organisation that has the tenacity to go on a massive stakeholder buy-in process about this new brand. I have been to the creative sector brand session and have to applaud them for getting buy-in from sectors broader than tourism. CPT is more than a tourism city and my sense is that CTT is aiming to build bridges between sectors. Where do you see this happening anywhere else in this country? I like their approach of visit, study, invest, live. We are at the tail-end of a global economic downturn. I would like to see how you would have marketed Cape Town if you had the job Chris.

  3. David says:

    As a member of Cape Town Tourism I have to disagree. Tourism is down across the world. Cape Town Tourism has never made unrealistic promises. SA is a long-haul destination. It is the responsibility of individual tourism product owners to study market conditions and adjust their own marketing. The DMO has one responsibility but the buck stops with the business owner to market his or her own establishment or service. I have always found Cape Town Tourism communication and networking sessions extremely helpful. We are all in the same boat. Why keep on pointing fingers and not take responsibility for your own marketing. We have done that and have grown from strengh to strengh. I will not sit back and wait for Cape Town Tourism or SAT to tell me what I should do to weather the storms. That is a passive approach. I will take action and work with DMO. My survival is my own responsibility.

  4. Paul says:

    Once again I am left wondering what is the point of the Whale Cottage blog? As a resident of Cape Town, I find your reviews and comments interesting. However surely the point of the blog is to increase Whale Cottage bookings? If so, how does a negative blog post such as this appeal to tourists? It seems to me that you should have 2 blogs: 1 promoting Cape Town/Franschhoek etc. (linked to Whale Cottage) and the other which is separate for your more controversial issues which are actually negative publicity for your business.

  5. Dear Paul

    Thank you for writing and for your concern about our blog!

    There is nothing negative in this blogpost about my Whale Cottages. I am sure that our guests appreciate that I am willing to speak my mind, and to challenge our tourism authorities (Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited) in Cape Town to get out of their ivory towers, and to understand that soon there will not be a tourism industry left in the Cape, if they do not do something very quickly and drastically. This goes far beyond the usual issue of seasonality.

    Our blog is a general Tourism news blog, and is linked to a newsletter I have written about similar tourism topics for the last 10 years. It is sent to all our past guests and we have an excellent Return Guest rate. My blog is not designed to be a hard sell for our Whale Cottages at all, but to be an incisive, independent and informative source of information.


  6. Paul says:

    All I can say is that if I put myself in the shoes of a potential tourist looking to book accommodation in the Western Cape, I would be put off by the negativity I read here.

    This is not to say you should not speak your mind… that is what we all love about your blog and indeed why you are so controversial. But I still think that these sorts of posts should be separate from your website which should promote coming to the Western Cape, rather than slagging off the various tourism bodies. This is just some marketing advice and my personal opinion. Feel free to ignore.

  7. Dear Lisa

    My name is Chris, by the way!

    Mrs Helmbold refers to the ‘Global Financial Crisis’ in her article, and I have referred to it in the blogpost. I have not blamed any tourism authority for the recession, but do expect my tourism authority to talk to us as members, to present advice, to be visisble in its domestic marketing, and to push international PR exposure for Cape Town, in the UK in particular, to help avert a bloodbath in the tourism industry in the next few months to come.

    Sheryl Ozinsky’s management of Cape Town Tourism and marketing of Cape Town was the best we ever had, and she did it with next to no budget, compared to the millions of Rands Cape Town Tourism receives from the City of Cape Town now. Appointing a journalist as a Marketing Manager was never going to be effective, nor is it of any help if Mrs Helmbold and Ms Grove sit on Twitter all day long, chatting about their burglaries, babies, lunches etc during working hours.


  8. Thanks for your input Schalk.

    I was invited to one of the stakeholder workshops about three years ago, but was not included in the latest round of workshops. I was shocked to see via Twitter that Mrs Helmbold is still asking what Cape Town represents. We have never been presented with the Marketing Strategy/Brand Plan for Cape Town, or with feedback about what the international PR agencies are achieving for Cape Town. Clearly these agencies are not feeding back to Cape Town Tourism how bad things are internationally, especially in the UK, the country on which we are most dependent for tourists. The UK tourist just is not booking this year! We should be told this by Cape Town Tourism, with alternative solutions presented, and joint campaigns run elsewhere.


  9. Claire says:

    We are members of Cape Town Tourism and always attend their marketing insight workshops to where all members are invited. I am not sure where you get your facts from Chris. Are you even a member of Cape Town Tourism? Do you read their communication? Do you attend their workshops and sessions? Keep up the good work Mariette. You are highly respected in Cape Town.

  10. Thanks Paul

    You assume that all tourists want the ‘white-washed’ news – I don’t think they do. It’s OK if they know that things are going poorly in the Cape, because they are visiting from a country doing poorly too.

    We do offer them information about wonderful Restaurant Specials, that they can benefit from while they are in Cape Town and the Winelands, as well as present Restaurant Reviews, which may help them in their choice of restaurants to eat at. We write the odd story about wines too, which may be of assistance too.

    I think ‘negativity’ is in the eye of the beholder – I do not see any of it in this blogpost. I presented a summation of Mrs Helmbold’s 6-page paper, and it made me challenge her on some marketing issues.


  11. mike says:

    Firstly for my part, I attended the Brand Cape Town workshops and the overwhelming and unanimous response was been positive. Good work indeed by CPT Tourism and the brand guru’s: this will carry Cape Town forward for many years to come. It is a well thought out segmented strategy that makes sense.

    Second, for the fees we pay Cape Town Tourism, I certainly do not expect them as a tourism body to provide me with survival tools or guidelines – this is not their role or responsibility and it in no way an expectation by the tourism industry. This is and should be, left to us as business owners. To think or expect anything else is quite naive.

    With regards to all the other comments surrounding this blog post, when one takes the following into account, how can you with all honesty (to yourself that is) say this is not negative? Each of the people that have responded is testament to this fact.

    Apart from the typically cynical and vindictive tone, just look take note of the following: –

    “…Global Financial crisis, as she calls it…” What else would one call it!?

    “Nor does she spell out…” Does she have to??

    “…does not provide any guidelines to survival.” This is not for any tourism body to do! As one of the comments indicated, survival is our own responsibility.

    “Oddly, this was not sent out to members.” I got it via email!

    “…the document is long and theoretical rumble.” Nuff said!

    Your 2nd last paragraph degenerates into the typical style that has become a signature hallmark of this blog. The content is irrelevant, personal, vindictive and downright negative. The coments about sitting on twitter all days talking about babies and lunch?? Come on Chris! Is this at all necesasry, let along positive?

    The problem here, Chris, you are clearly not challenging the paper that has been written but rather using this is an opportunity for a veiled attack on Mariette hdT and Skye Grove.

    Any educated person that reads this blog post would see this as clearly as David, Liza, Schalk, Paul or even myself, that this is indeed negative in its nature as well as its ultimate intent. Clearly you do not see this, which is not surprising as this has become the hallmark style of this blog. You have consistently failed to recognise this or address this – most of which your readers do clearly judging on their comments.

    People who comment on your blog are in effect customers – perhaps you should start listening to them a little more closely.

    Happy days.

  12. Liza says:

    I see Ms Von Ulmenstein is still into the moderation of comments. She doesn’t like the comments, she don’t publosh them. Tsk tsk. So transparent Chris. No wonder your credibility is non-existant.

  13. Dear Liza

    Not sure what you are on about – all comments to this blogpost have been published. I have a day job, and do not sit on my blog all day, waiting for a comment to appear!

    You owe me an apology.


  14. Dear Mike and Claire

    Wow, the Cape Town Tourism band is certainly coming to the Comment party. I am surprised that Cape Town Tourism itself has not responded, but they probably have been too busy on Twitter!

    I am a member of Cape Town Tourism Claire. I do attend their sessions when they are in a venue with reasonable access and the topic is of interest. I read all the communication I receive.

    Mike, I received Cape Town Tourism’s e-mail about this paper 10 minutes after I posted my blogpost. I had read about it via Twitter. If you are in a negative frame of mind, you are welcome to nitpick, and evaluate every word and nuance you see. That is your usual Comment style on this blog – why not try to say something positive for a change Mike?


  15. Rushdie says:

    I had to laugh about Lianne Burton being called a journalist! She is one of the country’s most respected communication and marketing consultants. Did you miss CTT’s marketing performance of the World Cup Von Ulmenstein? That was the CTT marketing team, under leadership of ‘journalist’ Lianne Burton.

  16. Heidi says:

    Chris you have it so wrong. Sheryl Ozinsky’s Cape Town Tourism never had the mandate to market CPT internationally like Mariette Du Toit Helmbold’s Cape Town Tourism has. CTT was a visitor services and membership organisation whem Ozinsky was manager. There is a vast difference betwwen the CTT of then and the CTT of now…

    CTT only received the marketing mandate in 2008, in the year when the global recession started hiiting our key source markets. The era of abundance is gone forever. This is why the CTT under Du Toit-Helmbold has taken the approach of marketing through international reps, investing heavily in web platforms, realising that tourism marketing starts with citizens.

    As members of Cape Town Tourism I commend Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold, Skye Grove and Lianne Burton for the pro-active
    way in which they represent us on national and international forums.

  17. Wolfgang says:

    Who are the we Von Ulmenstein refers to in her blog? Are there more than one of her?

    I have always been wondering about this. I love Von Ulmenstein’s blog and am sure there has to be more than one of her.

    How else would she be able to run 3 guesthouses, write blogs everyday and support the Cape Town restaurants so much? Oh and I forget she is also giving blogging masterclasses now.

    I commend Von Ulmenstein on her productivity and output and would love to know the other part of ‘we’.


  18. Dear Rushdie

    The following profile of Lianne Burton comes from the World Design Capital 2014 bid for Cape Town:

    “Lianne Burton is a marketing and communications strategist who has worked extensively in publishing, both as an Editor and Editorial Director – she launched ELLE Decoration magazine into South Africa and was Editor of the award-winning House and Leisure Magazine. Since May 2009 she has held the title of Executive Marketing Manager at Cape Town Tourism, and she now works as an independent marketing and brand consultant for Cape Town Tourism and the Cape Town Partnership”.

    Absolutely a journalist in terms of her background before she joined Cape Town Tourism!


  19. Dear Wolf

    Me, myself and I do the guest house bookings and blogging. My managers look after the 4 guest houses. Once a month I run a Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club, bringing in blogging speakers.

    Viele Gruesse


  20. Landloper says:

    I don’t run a tourism business but I am a Capetonian and Cape Town Tourism has made me feel part of the city in a big way.

    I enjoy Mariette and Skye on twitter. They are informative and entertaining and very social – surely what social media is all about.

  21. Dear Heidi

    I was a Director of Cape Town Tourism when Sheryl Ozinsky was at the helm. Her mandate was to attract visitors to Cape Town, and she went to ITB and WTM, spreading the word for Cape Town creatively and with limited resources.

    Not much has changed, but a lot more money is being spent. I would like to encourage Cape Town Tourism to share with us as members what it is doing to market Cape Town overseas.


  22. Kobus says:

    Chris, why are you no longer part of Cape Town Tourism?

  23. Larry says:

    Dear Chris

    Maybe you didn’t attend the Cape Town Tourism UK marketing insights workshops or the presentation by their UK PR rep Mary recently. We did and received the insights and guidance we needed about the UK market. We do golf tours and the recession has affected us too but CTT has been very heplful in sharing
    What we needed to do to change our tactics.

    I am not on twitter so I cannot commend on that but I can vouch for excellent the professional reputations of Mrss Du Toit-Helmbold and Grove.

    Golf greetings, Larry

  24. Thanks for your input Larry, and nice to hear from you.

    I have heard good things about Mary’s presentation, but cannot find any information about it via Google. I will ask Cape Town Tourism to let me have a copy of her presentation, to share with our readers.


  25. Hi Kobus

    I am not sure if I understand your question.

    I can confirm that Whale Cottage Camps Bay is a member of Cape Town Tourism.


  26. DAVID says:

    Don’t shoot the bloody messenger,

    FACT : Cape Town’s tourist numbers are dropping through the floor. Cape Tourism don’t seem to have a clue what to do about it.

    This is why restaurants are closing all over the place on a weekly basis. How hotels have not closed down I don’t know, I do know that they are bleeding. I guess the old saying of “when you owe the bank some money its your problem, when you owe them a lot of money its their problem.

    WHY : Because the greedy guesthouse owners, hoteliers and restaurant owners and the cartel that is SAA/BA have priced Cape Town out of the market. Overseas perception of Cape Town is that it is expensive and not value for money.

    This is where people should be directing their energies not this crap, everyone is entitled to their opinions. Whale is on the money with this one.

  27. Larry says:

    Dear Chris

    I see that I made some errors in my message above. Forgive me – I am still getting used to typing on a smart phone. (Another thing that CTT has taught us oldies – to keep up with the time because tourists make use of technology and book online). Anyway, I thought I would apologise as I know you are a language purist.

    What I don’t understand though, is that you say in your blog and responses above that CTT doesn’t share feedback from their international reps and especially the UK market but yet you say that you have heard good things about Mary’s presentation?

    Could you please explain this to this old man as I don’t quite get that part.

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your informative blogs and I would also like to say thank you to Mariette and her brilliant team for the sterling work they are doing in promoting our city and helping us with access and insights. We have a lot to learn from experts like our friends at Cape Town Tourism.

    Keep up the good work Chris.

    Golf greetings, Larry

  28. You are such a sweetie and diplomat Larry, and thank you for your support.

    You will see the flood of comments to this blogpost, and it is in these that the presentation by Mary was commended. However, I cannot find a documentation of her talk via a Google search, and do not recall that we were sent a summary of it by Cape Town Tourism. I will request it from Mariette.


  29. Dear David

    Thank you for your support.

    I disagree that it is the guest houses that have priced themselves out of the market, most offering up to 50 % off their summer rates in winter, and more than 100 restaurants in Cape Town and the Winelands are offering excellent winter specials.

    Our problem lies in the UK, our most important source market – a poor economy there, a strong Rand, and high airfares are to blame. We need to strengthen our focus on the SA market, as the UK market will not start recovering before next year, from what I read.


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