Entries tagged with “Netherlands”.
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Sunday 26th January 2014 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines
* Queen Elizabeth will honour the late Nelson Mandela with an invitation-only memorial service at Westminster Abbey on 11 February, the day on which Madiba was released from the then Victor Verster prison in 1990. It will be the first service for a non-British citizen, reports The New Age.
* David Williams from The Observer has selected three South African wines as his ‘wines of the week‘: Reyneke Organic Syrah 2011, Ken Forrester Workhorse Chenin Blanc 2012, and De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc 2013.
* A trade and tourism delegation from the Miami-Dade county and Enterprise Florida Inc will visit Cape Town, as well as Johannesburg and (more…)
Tuesday 17th December 2013 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines
* Tourist arrivals grew by 5 % in the first six months of this year relative to the same period a year ago, with close to 5 million international tourist arrivals from January – June 2013. Tourist arrivals from France, Germany, Italy, Asia, India, the USA, and Africa grew, while those from the Netherlands and the UK declined.
* The Spur Corporation has bought the Hussar Grill chain of six steak restaurants for R35 million, and will develop the brand, taking it national.
* Tour operator Francoise Armour has written a hard-hitting letter to Southern African Tourism Update, feeding back the poor experience of her clients when they go on a Robben Island tour. Given that the number of bookings for the tour will now increase, she asks whether the iconic destination is worthy of the legacy of the late Nelson Mandela. Even more shocking than her detailed list of negatives about the Robben Island tours is the comments to her letter, in which many tour operators write that they no longer build Robben Island into their clients’ Cape Town tour itinerary!
* Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille yesterday announced at a Day of Reconciliation event the renaming of the Fan Mile to (more…)
Monday 16th September 2013 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines
* Scandinavians are the happiest in the world, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network World Happiness Report 2013 has found. Denmark is in first place with the happiest citizens in the world, followed by Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
* The future of tour operators is uncertain, following the e-Travel Africa Summit, which was held in Cape Town last week, the E-Tourism Frontiers organiser Damian Cook saying that their days are numbered, while SA Tourism’s Chief Marketing Officer Jan Hutton disagrees.
* The South African National Parks’ free entrance to all bar three of its national parks last week has met with criticism from COSATU (the Confederation of South African Trade Unions) in being discriminatory, benefiting those (more…)
Sunday 25th August 2013 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
While Cape Town benefits from the annual Argus Cycle Tour held in March, it will soon see even more international cyclists on our roads, the Western Cape aiming to attract 100000 cycle tourists by 2023. This is the bold plan of Alan Winde, provincial Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, and Finance, reports the Cape Argus.
Minister Winde recently visited the Netherlands, and its Dutch Cycling Embassy, a network of cycling experts. The country has a very low cyclist fatality rate, and the cycling embassy is willing to come to the party, the Minister announced. ’To assist, the Dutch Embassy has offered to host a workshop here. Talking points will include the social and economic impact of cycling. It will also help with an economic impact study on the benefits of cycling for the Western Cape‘.
Dave Bellairs, Director of the Argus Cycle Tour, supports the Minister’s (more…)
Thursday 30th May 2013 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
SA Statistics has released the January 2013 tourism arrival statistics, and it is clear that our tourism industry is in trouble, the traditional source markets of the UK and Europe strongly down relative to the same month a year before, and American arrivals showing a minimal increase, as reported by Southern African Tourism Update. Two of the BRICS countries, India and Brazil, continue to show strong growth. In total tourism numbers declined by 4% to 202548 in January 2013, relative to a year ago.
The 19% decline in UK tourists is no surprise, as we have picked up the dramatic demise of UK tourists in the past two summers, due to that country’s economic recession, but still is ranked top as source country at 34393. America is the second largest source market, with 21330 arrivals. German tourists numbered 21101, a surprising decline of 6%. France is in 6th place as a source country, with a slight decline in its arrivals. The Netherlands, another important source market. showed a decline of 18%, and is now in 8th place.
The decline in the UK arrivals is confirmed in an article in Breaking Travel News, which showed that UK travelers would be affected by the exchange rate in most countries, given the weak pound sterling, affecting their travel costs to the USA, Australia, and Europe. Countries in which British travelers will not suffer the exchange rate so badly are Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa. However, the higher cost of flights to these countries may cancel out the benefit of the lower exchange rates.
China surprisingly showed its first decline, by 4 %, and is ranked 4th on the tourism arrivals list, while arrivals from Brazil jumped by close to 13%. Given tour operator Colin Bell’s discovery that the tourism arrival statistics include transit passengers, spending at least 24 hours in our country to be defined as such, it is interesting to note that about 40% of the Chinese and Brazil ‘tourist’ arrivals were in fact transit passengers travelling to another country from South Africa. This does not apply to Indian tourists, the 15% increase in arrivals from this country reflecting the great work which is being done by SA Tourism in that country. Its head, Hanneli Slabber, has just been recognised as Safari India National Tourism ‘Best Professional in Marketing’.
These depressing tourism arrival statistics were announced after Marthinus van Schalkwyk, national Minister of Tourism, shared at Indaba earlier this month that South Africa’s digital marketing activities have reached 1 billion people, reports themovechannel.com. ‘Our video, banner and text adverts were displayed to the targeted audiences over 1,1 billion times’, in addition to marketing programs with CNN, National Geographic, Expedia, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and WAYN.com. The Minister may not understand that duplication of exposure of South Africa’s advertising message would reduce the audience size. The value of South Africa’s editorial coverage in international media is estimated at R4,6 billion.
Minister van Schalkwyk has reacted to the news that a development bank is being set up by the BRICS countries, and has said that it ‘will boost tourism among the nations’. The increased business trips related to setting up the development bank will be ‘prompting other tourists to follow suit’, the Tourism Minister said, according to The Telegraph. A Goldman Sachs report shows that the BRICS countries generated half the global economic growth in the last ten years. Currently inter BRICS trade is valued at $230 billion, and is estimated to double in the next two years.
Minister van Schalkwyk was invited to lead a new United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) commission on tourism and development, at a meeting yesterday of its Executive Council in Belgrade, working with a working group of France, Germany, Kenya, Jamaica, Egypt, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Mauritania, and Belgium, reports the Southern African Tourism Update.
We appeal again to Cape Town Tourism and Wesgro to market Cape Town and the Western Cape nationally and internationally, to counter the frighteningly low bookings for June and July, one of the worst winter seasons we have seen.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Monday 16th April 2012 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
A concern about the future marketing of the tourism industry in the Western Cape, given the closure of Cape Town Routes Unlimited and its incorporation within Wesgro, and the departure of its CEO Calvyn Gilfellan on 31 March, motivated me to call Wesgro and request an appointment with its CEO Nils Flaatten. Despite the busy and short week prior to Easter, he made time for the interview on 5 April.
The hurdles put in my way to meet Mr Flaatten were considerable, and demonstrated the personality of the organisation and told me more about the company than the time I spent with Mr Flaatten. It also demonstrated how far removed Wesgro, the Western Cape Trade promotion and Investment agency, is from the Tourism industry, if ‘customer service’ is anything to go by. When I called to set up the interview, Mr Flaatten’s secretary insisted that I follow ‘protocol’ and e-mail her the meeting request, and tell her who I am. I had done this telephonically, and it became a power struggle, with constant interruptions from her, before she accepted my meeting request telephonically. She indicated that it would take a considerable time to get an appointment date, which she would e-mail me! A Tweet to express my dismay about this lack of approachability by our province’s new tourism head, combined with an e-mail to Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Economic Development, Finance and Tourism, led to a call directly from Mr Flaatten, offering a meeting for a few days later at 11h30, or so I heard. Mr Flaatten called at 7h45 on that day, asking where I was, having expected me at 7h30! As a late night blogger and guest house owner I would never have accepted such a time slot, which seemed very ‘Johannesburg’ to me! Mr Flaatten said he would be out of town for two weeks, and could only reschedule a meeting thereafter. Yet his secretary called later in the morning, and offered me a midday meeting, which I accepted with gratitude. For the first time, she offered parking, and took all the relevant details telephonically. I arrived at the building half an hour early, wanting to make sure that I arrived on time, but I was not allowed into the building as Wesgro had not alerted the parking garage staff at the boom! They refused to let me in, and traffic problems were caused with other garage users wanting to enter. I had to call Wesgro to ask them to let me in. However, all the staff were in a meeting, and Mr Flaatten’s secretary could not be contacted. I was told that I would be called back. No such call came, and I had to call again after 20 minutes of being trapped at the boom, and having been threatened by the parking staff that the traffic department would be called if I did not move my car! I was given a bay number by the Wesgro switchboard and relayed this to the boom operator, but it was refused because it had not been sent to them on the prescribed form! Needless to say, this incompetent stakeholder-unfriendly introduction to Wesgro twice in one week made my heart sink, and realise how much smarter and visitor-friendly the Western Cape tourism industry is.
I was shocked when I saw the reception area in which I had to wait for Mr Flaatten, which doubled up as an office, with two ugly red chairs. Mr Flaatten’s office did not look much better, the same style ugly red chairs serving as visitor chairs with a rather nice blue desk, but the blue not matching Wesgro’s corporate blue, the functional office having no warmth or professionalism. Mr Flaatten seemed professional but distant, not giving one the feeling that one could ever have a collegial relationship with him in his new role as provincial tourism head. He has headed up Wesgro for the last two years. I was surprised when he asked me to tell me who I am, not what the interview was about, and he made it appear that he knew nothing about me at all! I at least had Googled his name, and had found out that he went to school in Stellenbosch, served in the South African Navy, and had worked in investment banks in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong.
I told him that other than its name, and having only a broad idea of what Wesgro does, I knew nothing more, and that I wanted to know what its role will be in taking over the duties of Cape Town Routes Unlimited. Wesgro is governed by the Wesgro Act, and has three duties according to the Act:
* to attract and retain foreign investment in the Western Cape
* to grow exports
* to increasingly attract business to the city and the province
Wesgro is funded by both the City of Cape Town (R10 million) and the Western Cape government (R18,4 million), the R25 million which Cape Town Routes Unlimited received from the Western Cape government being added to give a total of R53 million, larger than the budget of Cape Town Tourism. The organisation services the province, ultimately reporting to Minister Winde. It also works with the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee member Belinda Walker, doing strategy planning. The organisation’s operations include:
* hosting inward trade missions, at which they try to ‘matchmake’ the visiting delegation members with local businesses via ‘speed dating’
* outward missions travel overseas, promoting trade with the Western Cape, benefiting from sponsorships for flights and other travel costs from the Department of Trade and Industry.
Any Western Cape business is seen to be a ‘member’ of Wesgro, although one does not take out or pay for a membership. The organisation also looks to stimulate the setting up and development of ‘SMME’s’ (small businesses), including entrepreneurs, emerging entrepreneurs, and start-up businesses. They also look to grow sectors of Western Cape businesses, and a number of such sector development agencies have been developed, for IT, Craft and Design, etc. Geographically, Wesgro is concentrating on the ‘West African Trade Corridor’, which includes Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon, Namibia, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. “The Headquarter for African business should be Cape Town”, Mr Flaatten said. He shared that a trip to Accra the week before had seen distribution agreements signed with 20 companies represented in the trade delegation. It was at this point that Mr Flaatten justified his organisation’s take-over of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, saying that Wesgro already has links to the chambers of commerce and influential players in these West African countries, so in the same way they can engage with the leading tourism players in these countries to attract more West African tourists to Cape Town and the Western Cape. He added that the Northern Hemisphere countries of the UK, the USA, Europe and Japan would only show a 1,5 % growth, labelling them as ‘concentration risk’. Currently most of the Western Cape exports go to the UK, to the Netherlands, and to Germany, in that order. Mr Flaatten also said that 73% of South Africa’s foreign direct investment in Africa comes from Cape Town businesses, mainly being in the financial services, real estate, and hospitality sectors. He added that by 2030 there would be more middle income earners in Africa than in India. He also emphasised the potential of the BRICS countries. Further high growth high income countries are Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Argentina, and the United Arab Emirates. Inward missions coming to Cape Town are from the USA, the United Kingdom, Germany and France, and they offer marketing services, sales support, and call centre services.
Mr Flaatten gave his views of our tourism industry by saying that it has a number of outspoken characters in it, implying that this would be something he would have to get used to! Wesgro has taken over the 25 Cape Town Routes Unlimited staff, who were in the same building, and will be assimilated into his team, retaining the benefits, and terms and conditions at which they were employed originally. Wesgro will ‘capitalise on the Cape Town Routes Unlimited’ marketing knowledge, Mr Flaatten said, but I was concerned that he could not tell me the name of the most senior marketing executive (we think it is Debbie Damant, not known to most) that he has ‘inherited’, especially given that the marketing of Cape Town Routes Unlimited had been strongly driven by its then CEO Calvyn Gilfellan. The Board of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, now led by ACSA’s Deon Cloete due to the move of its previous Chairman Peter Bacon to Mauritius, will oversee the activities that are in the Cape Town Routes Unlimited Annual Performance Plan, until the organisation with its Board is dissolved when the Western Cape Tourism Act of 2004 is repealed. Similarly, the Wesgro Act must be amended, to allow it to additionally manage destination marketing for the Western Cape.
Mr Flaatten requested the industry to give him a month, so that he can get to know his new staff, and what the capacity requirements are, not wanting to be irresponsible in becoming unnecessarily large. First he must stabilise the staff situation, and then they must focus on planning for the following financial year. They have already hosted a workshop with 100 regional and local tourism bureaus, seeing them as ‘subject matter experts’, and not wishing to duplicate their work, he said. He will also engage with industry representative bodies such as FEDHASA Cape, SATSA, etc, but I left him with a reminder that the tourism industry consists of a large number of small businesses, many not belonging to the big tourism associations, and that their voices should be heard too. Listening to the tourism industry will be the biggest challenge for him currently, Mr Flaatten said. He realises that the ‘Cape Town & Western Cape’ brand is a problem ‘which will not be easy to fix’.
The Board of Directors of Wesgro raises interesting questions. Board members Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold, its Board Vice-Chairman and CEO of the Cape Town Partnership, Bulelwa Ngewana, and Board member Guy Lundy, CEO of Accelerate Cape Town and Wesgro Vice Chairman, may prevent duplication of marketing activity between Wesgro and Cape Town Tourism, but ideally should remain independent tourism bodies, so that the industry benefits from the best of both bodies. Ravi Naidoo, organiser of the Design Indaba, is well-known and highly regarded. Interesting too is that Alderman Belinda Walker is on the Board, but does not deal with Tourism matters in the City of Cape Town, which could lead to duplication of tourism management within the City. One could be concerned about two Boards of Directors managing the duties of Wesgro, until Cape Town Routes Unlimited is closed down legally, and about the incestuous duplication of Board members of Wesgro and Cape Town Tourism.
For an organisation that had a number of months warning of taking over Cape Town Routes Unlimited, and that had taken over its operations four days prior to my visit, I was concerned about the general lack of marketing insight, terminology (other than the branding issue), and discussion that I heard from Mr Flaatten during our lengthy interview. He did not mention Cape Town Tourism, and how Wesgro will avoid duplication of marketing activities with the city tourism marketing body. The Wesgro website only shows an amended logo, in that the new duty is incorporated in its descriptor underneath it: ‘The Western Cape Destination Marketing, Investment and Trade Promotion Agency’, and contains a block of information to state that it has taken over the duties of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, with a link to the now defunct tourism body’s website! I was concerned about the very business-like Wesgro culture, which does not appear ‘customer friendly’ nor service-orientated in simple requests of setting up a meeting and honouring a parking arrangement, which does not auger well for our tourism industry. The offices are functional but unattractive, not matching the tourism industry image. I was concerned that Mr Flaaten did not seem to know anything about Minister Winde’s EDP, which I thought would reside in Wesgro, and would eventually become the home of most Western Cape industry development bodies, the products and services of which Wesgro appears to market. Mr Flaatten was very responsive in providing the Cape Town Routes Unlimited Annual Performance Plan which they will be working to achieve. The 27 page Plan lists the mission as marketing the Western Cape as a desirable leisure, business and events tourism destination, and its main goal is to ‘position Cape Town and the Western Cape as a premier leisure, events and business tourism destination in Africa’. However, none of the defined goals are measurable. The budget breakdown is disconcerting, with about 50% going to staff salaries, and only 24% going to marketing expenditure. Much of the performance is measured in terms of the number of meetings held, the number of convention bids presented, and the only tourism related measurement targets are the number of international arrivals (1,6 million) and domestic arrivals (3,2 million) for the current financial year, Cape Town Routes Unlimited only expecting to generate 5% of each kind of tourist through its marketing efforts, which begs the question as to why it existed in the first instance!
We will give Wesgro the month that has been requested, and await the way forward for the marketing of the Western Cape with trepidation.
POSTSCRIPT 18/4: In a media release sent out by Wesgro a week ago (but not to contacts on the Cape Town Routes Unlimited media list!), Nils Flaatten said that he would continue to report to the Wesgro Board of Directors, and to the Cape Town Routes Unlimited Board on a quarterly basis about ‘expenditure and performance against predetermined objects’. “Flaatten assured tourism industry stakeholder (sic) that there would be no ‘disruption to the delivery of the tourism destination function in our province’”, the media release added. It also stated that Cape Town Routes Unlimited and Wesgro will continue to occupy their respective offices in their current building, and that the telephone and e-mail details of the Cape Town Routes Unlimited staff ‘will remain in operation until further notice’.
This Tourism Week asked some critical questions about Wesgro’s new role in handling the Tourism marketing responsibility for the Western Cape in its newsletter on 13 April.
Wesgro, Waldorf Arcade, 80 St George’s Mall, Cape Town. Tel (021) 487-8600. www.wesgro.co.za Twitter: @Wesgro
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
Sunday 18th March 2012 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
SA Tourism is to concentrate 60 % of its 2012/2013 marketing budget on its traditional tourism core markets of the USA, UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Australia, as well as on India, and the African countries Bostwana, Angola, Kenya, and Nigeria, Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk told Parliament’s Tourism Committee earlier this week, according to Business Report. Unfortunately the report does not provide the size of the new marketing budget.
Minister van Schalkwyk highlighted the increasing contribution of Africa to tourism, exceeding that from other countries outside our continent, and the beneficial effect this has on our economy. He added that previous buying and business trips from Africa were turning into a ‘true tourism market’, and he has therefore added R15 million for additional marketing in Africa, ring-fenced for this purpose, and ‘essential for South Africa to be the dominant tourism market on the continent’. The Minister and his department have been criticised in the past for tourism arrival statistics from Africa being so high, and have been blamed on cross-border shopping trips, and not true travel trips. The Minister said he would like high income earners from African countries such as Kenya and Nigeria to do their shopping in South Africa rather than in Europe.
A further 20 % of the SA Tourism marketing budget will be focused on ‘Investment markets… in the hope of improved returns in the future’, which are BRICS countries China and Brazil, as well as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Belgium, Italy, and Sweden. ‘Tactical markets’, including New Zealand, Ireland, Lesotho, and Swaziland, are to receive an unreported budget allocation in that they offer ‘particular opportunities’.
The Minister acknowledged the local domestic tourism market, which ‘enabled the industry to hedge against global insecurity but also improve the local quality of life’. The Department of Tourism is targeting 18 million local tourists (a 23 % increase from 2009) and 15 million international visitors for 2020.
A week ago we called on the Department of Tourism to not neglect the traditional core source markets, especially Germany, a country showing strong tourism growth, and therefore the dominance of the spend on these traditional core markets is excellent news. One wonders though how far the marketing budget will stretch, with 25 countries having been included in the SA Tourism marketing mix!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
Wednesday 14th December 2011 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
Cape Town tourism businesses are expecting ‘a marginally better business window (sic) for season 2011/2012′, says one of the most badly worded media releases ever received from Cape Town Tourism, the City’s tourism marketing body.
The media release received yesterday is riddled with errors, making it difficult to understand – in short, it appears that a poll was ‘tallied’ (sic) amongst Cape Town Tourism members last week, which led to the following conclusions:
* ‘a promising (sic) 57% of accommodation providers are expecting to have a better or much better remainder of the 2011/2012 summer season, when compared to 2010′. It is unclear how Cape Town Tourism defines the summer season, its CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold having been confused about the exact definition of the summer season in Cape Town earlier this year.
* bookings are ‘last minute’
* tourism spend is lagging its growth (but this apparent contradiction is not explained)
* the accommodation sector ‘anticipated‘ (sic) the ‘Global Financial Crisis’, ‘with only 18,9% saying that the impact was more than they expected’, in contrast to 54,5 % of tour operators, amongst whom ‘the impact was more than expected’. What was expected is not clear from the release.
* half the tour operators polled have had a better year
* ‘the hard work poured (sic) into developing new markets in the emerging economies’ (one assumes they are referring to BRICS countries, not all ‘emerging’ any more), is not yet paying off, Cape Town Tourism admits
* ‘Traditional key source markets such as the UK, Germany and the Netherlands are still dominating the visitor scene’ – every tourism business will laugh at this statement, experiencing first hand that the UK tourist market has fallen away almost completely!
* accommodation occupancy does not reflect domestic arrivals, which means that locals are staying with friends and family.
* tourists are price sensitive, and should not be lured by lower rates, but rather should be offered ‘great value’, advises Mrs Helmbold
* ‘…visitors are using online tools like Tripadvisor to plot (sic) their stay’!
* Given Cape Town’s number one Tripadvisor destination status, ‘Cape Town already has a place in the sun, but we need to make sure we maintain our level of exposure and favour’ (sic)!
* Accolades such as World Design Capital 2014 and ‘New Natural 7 Wonders of the World’ - actually called New7Wonders of Nature – give Cape Town greater appeal.
* ‘We may not see our global brand position translate into visitors this year, but the attention we sought in 2010 is being sustained and capitalised on during 2011′, Cape Town Tourism admitting that the marketing of the city in the World Cup year of 2010 will not have borne fruit in 2011, one must assume, but the sentence is contradictory.
* Cape Town’s tourism industry and the city economy need a boost in 2012, admits ‘MAYCO member for Tourism Events (sic) and Marketing’ Grant Pascoe. On Linked In Pascoe’s title is ‘Mayoral Committee Member : Social Development and Special Projects’ for the City, while on Twitter his ‘Bio’ says he is the ‘Executive Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing’. Given that Pascoe holds the Cape Town Tourism purse strings, one would have thought that the tourism body would get his title correct.
One wonders what the Cape Town Tourism PR and Communication Manager was smoking and/or drinking when writing this shockingly poor media release, how it could have been approved by her bosses, and how its PR company Rabbit in a Hat Communications could have been happy to distribute it! It is riddled with factual and grammatical errors, and is an embarrassment to the city’s tourism marketing, which is funded by the City of Cape Town to the value of R40 million, coming from ratepayers’ monies! Furthermore, Cape Town Tourism has a very poor grasp of market research in general, and in questionnaire design and research interpretation specifically, and therefore any results from its member polls should be evaluated with the greatest of care. A link provided in the release, which is intended to allow one to see the results of the survey, goes to a Cape Town Partnership release, and not to the survey! Mrs Helmbold is on maternity leave for the next few months, but is quoted in the media release.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
Sunday 12th December 2010 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
One of South Africa’s largest wine export countries is facing a decline in sales due to the strong Rand and the slow recovery of the UK economy.
Wines of South Africa (WOSA) CEO Su Birch said that bottled wine sales from South Africa were declining as local producers no longer can supply wines “at the low price points demanded by the supermarkets”. Birch added that the local wine industry had prepared for these fluctuations by diversifying into other markets, reports Business Report. In addition, top end wine sales are still growing in the UK, given their success in international wine competitions.
UK importers are also buying South African wine in bulk, to bottle in their country, leading to a sharp growth in demand for these cheaper wine brands. South African wine sales have diversified, to include not only the UK, but also Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, the USA and Canada. In the past 10 years wine sales to the USA have grown five-fold.
South African wines are diversifying, to the benefit of exports, with “more producers than ever, more brands, more labels, more competitions, more medals”, said Wineland magazine editor Cassie du Plessis.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.comTwitter: @WhaleCottage
Tuesday 16th November 2010 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
A heavyweight delegation from the Western Cape Department of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, members of the Board of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, and ‘stakeholders’ of the organisation attended a presentation at the Table Bay Hotel last week, to receive feedback about Cape Town Routes Unlimited’s performance in the past twelve months, and its way forward. Attendees also received a copy of the 2009/2010 Annual Report, a detailed document of the activities of the body which states that its “core business is marketing communications”. It is a shame that so little of the organisation’s budget is spent on beneficial marketing on behalf of the tourism industry in the Western Cape.
The problem with handing out the Annual Report is that it reveals information which is not always to the benefit of the organisation, even though its “honesty” is commendable and meets accounting procedures. A greater part (52%) of the R 38,5 million annual budget which Cape Town Routes Unlimited received from the Western Cape province in the past year, supplemented by R 15 million from additional special project income generated, was spent on administrative expenses rather than on marketing, which is bad news for the tourism industry in the Western Cape, which has seen the worst year ever, with most provincial tourism businesses having been detrimentally affected by the World Cup, by the strong Rand, and therefore by a reduced number of bookings.
The importance of Marketing to the organisation is highlighted by the fact that the CEO, Calvyn Gilfellan, is also the Chief Marketing Officer. He has three Marketing Executives reporting to him:
David Frandsen: Executive Manager – International Marketing: Europe and the Americas and the Convention Bureau
Itumeleng Pooe: Executive Manager – International and Domestic Marketing: Africa, Asia, and the Middle East
Romeo Adams: Executive Manager – Marketing and Organisational Support
In the Annual Report, each of these executives feeds back what their performance has been relative to targets set at the beginning of the financial year. It is a shame to see how much of their time and action was directed at meeting administrative requirements in the preparation of the Annual Report as well as the financial reporting. Many of the targets they set themselves seemed rather low, so that it looks good on paper when many are exceeded. I was shocked to see the declaration of salaries of the Executive Management, and how some of these have increased in the past twelve months. Gilfellan’s annual income is listed in the financial statements at just under R1 million (up by 6,6 % on the year before). The Marketing Executives earned between R692000 – R839000 in the past year (close to R58000 – R70000 per month), salaries which seem way above the norm, especially when the industry cannot see much benefit of the work done by Cape Town Routes Unlimited! Even the directors are paid emoluments, some as high as R26000.
In summary, Cape Town Routes Unlimited lists as its tourism marketing achievements in the past year the following: R20 billion of tourism business generated through international trade shows; organising the ’67 minutes for Nelson Mandela’ birthday celebration; close to 400 media mentions valued at R162 million, reaching 107 million persons – these are very bold claims!; Summer Welcome campaign; regional tourism road shows; organising Tourism Month; hosting VIP delegations; a green tourism initiative; SMME Marketing Support programme; receiving bookings at its Visitor Information Centers (set up in the Waterfront in opposition to Cape Town Tourism) to the value of R2,4 million; a Google Adword campaign; a campaign with CNN; and an e-mail campaign in the Benelux countries. Conventions are lucrative for tourism business in the Western Cape, and for Cape Town in particular, nine conferences having been secured for the next three years, to be attended by 5650 delegates, with R55 million in economic impact.
The recent upheaval caused by provincial Minister Alan Winde’s announcement that he wants to amalgamate Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited was not addressed by the Minister when he spoke at the meeting. Cape Town Routes Unlimited Chairman Peter Bacon was critical of the separation between the two tourism bodies in his ‘Chairperson’s Review’: “… following the City of Cape Town’s withdrawal of its financial support and decision to mandate Cape Town Tourism to market the City and provide visitor support services on the ground. This effectively gave rise to the creation of a second Destination Marketing Organisation with the resultant confusion, duplication of effort and wasteful expenditure.” Bacon does praise the closer co-operation between the Western Cape province, the City of Cape Town (which steadfastly is supporting Cape Town Tourism for the marketing of the Mother City) and municipalities in the province. Cape Town Tourism is not mentioned by Bacon in this context. Bacon states that the province is working on:
* a clear vision for the development of the tourism industry
* a single strategy with clearly defined roles, responsibilities and deliverables.
* business plans for Cape Town Routes Unlimited, Cape Town Tourism and other regional tourist organisations aligned to the goals and strategy of the province,
and this will lead to a Memorandum of Agreement to be signed between the Province and the City in the next twelve months, he writes.
In his Chief Executive Officer’s Review, Gilfellan writes: “One of our organisation’s greatest achievements during this challenging year was that it established itself as a credible and authoritative voice in tourism”, on the basis of media comments requested from the organisation. Many will question his claim. He states that industry challenges are the following:
* “overcoming the effects of the worse (sic) economic crisis to hit the the industry in 60 years
* The slow pace of transformation and diversification of the industry
* Stunted growth in our traditional core markets of the UK, Germany, Netherlands and France
* Limited marketing resources compromising our global competitiveness, and
* Institutional disarray leading to the current role confusion, duplication and possible fruitless expenditure.”
Gilfellan also looks to the future in his review, and calls for “a speedy resolution to the protracted institutional calamity”, referring to the problem between his organisation and Cape Town Tourism; Events, Sports and Business Tourism will capitalise on the World Cup; new target markets like Brazil, India, China, Russia, the Middle East and Africa must be targeted; a tourism community in which business, labour, government and the communities unify around a common vision and partnership; embracing technological advances in marketing; promoting the principle of a ‘quadruple bottom line’, encouraging the tourism industry to pay attention to social responsibility, environmental sensitivity, economic imperative, and climate change.
In providing such detail to the industry, one can request Cape Town Routes Unlimited to connect with its stakeholders more frequently than once a year at a function; to allow stakeholders to ask questions so that a dialogue can be created at such functions; to inform stakeholders about achievements as frequently as possible, so that they can help spread the word about the work of the organisation (Cape Town Tourism is excellent at this); to address the imbalance in “employment equity” by gender, occupation and population group; to improve its market research techniques, a weakness it shares with Cape Town Tourism; to contain any duplication in its marketing activities relating to Cape Town that is already managed by Cape Town Tourism; to address the non-sensical brand “Cape Town & Western Cape”; and to speak to tourism leaders about how it can more effectively direct its marketing budget to the benefit of the industry, being Events, Events and more Events in the seasonal winter months.
I am very impressed with Minister Winde, and how approachable he is – he has no airs and graces, picks up a phone to make a call to a tourism player with an opinion, is embracing social media with a Twitter account (@AlanWinde), and reads and comments on blogs related to tourism. As an outcome to the presentation, hearing stakeholders reinforce how poor business is, he promised to set up a meeting to address the poor bookings issue, especially given the feedback from World Travel Market held in London last week that our country has priced itself out of the market.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage