Thinking about the cyber-buzz about the non-renewal of our 20-year membership of Cape Town Tourism, which expired at the end of August 2011, we have come to an important decision for our Blog, and give credit to Nashua’s famous advertising payoff line from many years ago for its inspiration: “Saving you time, saving you money, putting you first”!
Given that Cape Town Tourism’s lawyers Webber Wentzel will have already run up a hefty bill in trying to silence us on our Blog, in writing two lawyer’s letters directed at ourselves, the letter written by the Chairman Ian Bartes, as well as a short reaction to it on the Cape Town Tourism website, easily already in the region of the cost of sponsoring an event like ‘100 Women 100 Wine’, we want to save Cape Town Tourism money.
We are seeing a very nasty collection of Cape Town Tourism commenters slash, trash and bash either Cape Town Tourism and its staff, but more importantly, myself and my company too, without concern for laws of defamation, as well as disparagement and the truth, whenever we post a story about Cape Town Tourism. This collection of vitriolic commenters includes Mike, Jeremy Claasen, Jeremy du Plessis, Marco, Kurt, Rashiq, and Paul.
Cape Town tourism’s industry is in a crisis, and the R40 million annual allocation from the City of Cape Town does not go far when at least 50 % is estimated to go to salaries and other running costs, Australian Strategetic consultants, and the sponsorship of ‘frivolous’ events such as the 100 Wine ‘competition’. This leaves less than R20 million, we estimate, for the marketing of Cape Town.
To remove the censorship role that Cape Town Tourism has taken upon itself on behalf of the tourism industry, to not influence my writing in having ‘Big Sista’ looking over my blogging shoulder, to not waste my time to reply to aggressive and abusive comments from the tiny collection of Cape Town Tourism supporters, and to protect commenters who want to make a genuine contribution from not being sued by Cape Town Tourism (and ourselves too!), we have reached the important decision to impose a ban on all comments for any blogpost we write about Cape Town Tourism from today onwards, and we will close the comment facility on past Cape Town Tourism blogposts too. Genuine commenters are welcome to send an e-mail with their point of view, which we will feature as a Postscript to the relevant Blogpost, if it does not contain any defamatory or disparaging remarks, to email@example.com.
This means that Cape Town Tourism can save money on legal fees, and its staff can spend its valuable time on Tweeting more, organising lunches with fellow Tweeters, and perhaps throw some marketing into the day as well. It means that I can get on with what I love most, which is writing blogposts. Cape Town Tourism’s supporter band will now have to find their ‘Inspiration’ elsewhere in Cape Town, and will not be able to express it on our Blog any more!
We apologise to our regular readers for this self-imposed censorship of comments, but this ‘cyber-attack’ on Freedom of Speech by Cape Town Tourism, reflecting a paranoia that is most surprising for an organisation that has set itself up as being tech-savvy, and which has a Communications Manager who dishes out insults on Social Media platforms against Cape Town Tourism members, and even the funders of her employer (the City of Cape Town), is unprecedented in Social Media terms, to our knowledge. One is surprised that the Communications Manager still holds her position, for the damage she has already caused Cape Town Tourism through her unprofessional behaviour.
However, Cape Town Tourism will never stop us from Blogging, and writing on Facebook, Twitter, and in our WhaleTales newsletter what needs to be said about tourism, the marketing of Cape Town and the Western Cape, and about Cape Town Tourism. Makes you think, doesn’t it!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage