Entries tagged with “Olympic Games”.


WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Passengers want comfort when flying, and are prepared to pay more to secure this comfort on long haul flights.

*   Wilhelm Pienaar, Nederburg winemaker, led a tasting of the 56Hundred range at the residence of the South African High Commissioner to Kenya last week, oddly with entertainment by dancers from Botswana!

*   Kfm’s Breakfast Show with Ryan O’Connor and his team is broadcasting from The Rubens at The Palace Hotel in London, sister hotel to the Twelve Apostles, The Oyster Box, and Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve,  all belonging to the Red Carnation group,  until Wednesday. (received via FIVE STAR PR)

*   The Beachhouse Red 2010 is the only South African wine in the ‘Wine Pick of the Week‘ in the Vancouver Sun.

*   South African born but London-based Chef Petrus Madutlela is a member of (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   South African born Heston Blumenthal has been named ‘Chef of the Decade‘ by the Observer Food Month.

*   SA Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima has promised the tourism industry an Indaba 2014 that will be ‘an intensely business-focused’ one.  He has promised a revamp, which will be ‘relevant and future proof‘!

*   Beerhouse is organising an Oktobeer Fest on 31 October, from 17h00, at its Long Street premises.  (received via Facebook)

*   SA Tourism and Emirates have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (more…)

The City of Cape Town plans to create three Fan Parks to allow public viewing of international events such as the Olympic Games, soccer World Cups, and soccer matches in particular.  Surprisingly none of the Fan Parks are planned near the Cape Town Stadium, the nearby Fan Mile and Fan Park outside the City Hall being so popular during the 2010 World Cup.

A report in the Cape Argus shares the City’s plan to set up fan parks in Khayelitsha’s Wetland Park, Mitchells Plain’s Westridge Park, and the Nelson Mandela Park in Delft. Free entrance will be offered to residents in these areas, ensuring that parks already set up in these suburbs will be used ‘more creatively’.  Township TV has already erected 30 large TV screens in parks in George, Durban, and Johannesburg. A TV screen costs R500000, and DStv has agreed to sponsor each park with R 1million, on condition that it gets branding rights for Premier Soccer League matches at the parks. 24 hour security will be provided at the parks. According to the three year contract, the City will receive the TV screens at the termination of the contracts. The choice of Fan Park venues is based on the number of people that can be attracted, offering maximum advertising reach for the companies involved, the City has motivated. The full council of the City of Cape Town must approve the Fan Park proposal.

Given the popularity of the city centre Fan Park ad Fan Mile, and the amount of money spent by the City in creating walkways to the Cape Town Stadium, and the public transport facilities created to make the city centre accessible to Capetonians, it is a surprise that no mention is made of including the city centre Fan Park and Fan Mile.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:  www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Brand ‘South Africa’ and ‘Fairtrade‘ will be in the lips of hundreds of thousands of Olympic Games supporters for the next three weeks, being branded on two of the three official ‘London 2012′ wines produced for the 2012 Olympic Games, reports Winemag. The Chenin Blanc and Rosé wines (made from Pinotage, Shiraz, and Merlot) come from Stellenrust, the largest Fairtrade-certified wine estate in South Africa, one of the largest family-owned wine estates in the country, and ‘a very successful winery’, according to its Platter entry.

For the first time in Olympic history, the International Olympic Committee contracted with Bibendum, a London-based wine merchant, which was awarded the title ‘European Merchant of the Year 2012′, to source 650000 litres of 2012 vintage wines, for sale at the Olympic Games venues in London.  The third wine is not Fairtrade-certified, and comes from Brazil’s Seival Estate, being a Shiraz, Tempranillo, and Gamay Nouveau blend. The Brazilian wine reflects the country hosting the Olympic Games in 2016, and its emergence as a wine producing country.

The wines are to be sold at £4,80 (R62) for a 187 ml recyclable PET bottle, and at R250 for a 750 ml bottle. One million bottles each of the Rosé and Shiraz Tempranillo will be available for sale, as will be 1,2 million bottles of Chenin Blanc.  A total of 9 million tickets have been sold to Olympic Games spectators.

In addition to the marvellous branding benefit for the country and its wine industry, an excellent outcome of this win for the Stellenbosch wine estate is that R450000 will go its staff, for allocation to social upliftment projects, which will be overseen by the Fairtrade Foundation in the UK, reports The Times.

WOSA (Wines of South Africa) and SA Tourism couldn’t have wished for a better free marketing opportunity to give the world a taste for South African wines and for marketing South Africa as a tourism destination

POSTSCRIPT 5/8: The Fairtrade ethical logo is attracting increasing custom, reports the Cape Argus, internationally its brands having generated sales of € 5 billion in 2011.  In the UK the spend on Fairtrade brands increased by 12% last year relative to 2010.  Locally, Fairtrade sales more than tripled to R73 million last year.  Cape Chamber of Commerce President Michael Bagraim said that the Fairtrade certification could help give local products a competitive edge in international export markets.  Wine and coffee are the Fairtrade products that have sold best locally, South Africans having bought 255600 bottles and 3,5 million cups of coffee certified by Fairtrade.  Woolworths Cafés, operated by TriBeCa, sell Fairtrade certified organic coffee.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

It’s been a bad May, and appears to be the worst month of the year for the Cape hospitality and tourism industry, and it has sunk to its lowest low in the six years in which we have been tracking occupancy. Sadly, the soccer tournament is not benefiting the industry. Cape Town and the Western Cape may be slipping back into a tourism crisis, as we experienced in 2011!

From occupancy for Whale Cottage Camps Bay at 68% in May 2008, and about 42% in May 2007 and 2009, occupancy dropped sharply from May 2010 onwards, to 19%, rose slightly to 23 % in May last year, and down to a shocking 10% this month, the lowest in the six year period.  The May occupancy at our Whale Cottage in Hermanus is 8%, on a par with May figures for the past three years, crashing down in 2010 from about 24% per each of the May months in 2007 – 2009.  In Franschhoek the same pattern is evident, with occupancy also at 10% over the past three May months, dropping sharply from 27% in 2009 (and even 58% in May 2008). Any tourism ‘politician’ that claims that Seasonality is under control and that the winter period is shrinking is deceiving the tourism industry!

The shocking tourism performance this month is a surprise, in that even business tourists from Johannesburg have not been seen to any great extent in Cape Town, often the mainstay of the industry in winter, perhaps a sign that the South African economy is not yet out of recession.  The winter campaign in a downscaled marketing program, which Cape Town Tourism has launched appears to have had no impact on tourism at all, and neither has the Eight Nations Under 20 soccer tournament.  The Cape Times reported earlier this week that the attendance support of the soccer event is so poor that Cape Town faces losing the event for 2014, no loss if viewed from a tourism perspective.  The tournament was signed up and announced to the industry a week before its start, hardly an event timing that could be taken seriously.  The newspaper also reported that the City of Cape Town is giving away a free ticket for a match for every Semi-Final and Final match ticket bought. Surprisingly, the City’s tourism body, Cape Town Tourism, is not marketing the event at all, proving that it too sees no tourism benefit of the soccer tournament!  No other events have been held in Cape Town this month, and this is making itself felt.  In Franschhoek the Literary Festival earlier this month led to a full house, proving that events do attract visitors to a town or village. Next month its ‘Cook Franschhoek’ is attracting good bookings, and in July the Bastille Festival and an Art of Living retreat are almost sold out already.  Sadly, no events are planned for Cape Town nor Hermanus in the next few months.

Of even greater concern is that forward bookings from international tourists, which looked promising in April for early 2013, have all but dried up, demonstrating that the uncertainty of the Eurozone membership of Greece may be unsettling German travellers, who were planning their holidays far ahead. Increasingly one hears that travel to Greece is being curtailed, as tourists do not know if the Euro will be discontinued while they are travelling in that country, which could be an opportunity for Cape Town, if any marketing could be considered by Wesgro, Cape Town Tourism, or SA Tourism! Bookings from the UK market remain depressed and rare. At the time of international events, local tourism always suffers, and in the UK the Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee next month, and the Olympic Games take place in London from July to August. Perhaps some Londoners may leave their city during this time, but we are not seeing bookings from this market. On 8 June the three week long UEFA European Football Championship takes place, shared between Poland and the Ukraine as host countries, which will capture the interest of many European travellers, preventing them from coming to South Africa.

Once again, we call on our tourism authorities to help the Cape Tourism industry in attracting events to the region in winter, and to generate any marketing activities that can attract domestic tourists to our area.

POSTSCRIPT 31/5: We would like to add that Wesgro has not issued any media statements nor shown any industry leadership since taking over Cape Town Routes Unlimited two months ago! We have written to Nils Flaaten, to ask him what is planned for the marketing of the Western Cape.

POSTSCRIPT 1/6: Good news is the potential of a soccer match between Ajax Cape Town and Manchester United on 21 July, a real soccer event, to be played in the Cape Town Stadium, as reported by the Cape Argus yesterday!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

I was surprised but delighted to read an article in the latest The Sunday Independent, reporting that more than 260 athletes participating in the 2012 Olympic Games, to be held in London from July to August, are in Stellenbosch to prepare for this top event this month.  This includes top athletes Blanka Vlasic from Croatia and Dwain Chambers, British world indoor champion in the 60 metre track event.

The University of Stellenbosch’s Coetzenburg Stadium athletic facilities have been deemed to be ‘world class’ by Charles van Commensee, head coach of the British athletics team, who has been bringing his athletes to Stellenbosch for the past 12 years.  “Stellenbosch is the ideal place to train for us. Athletes get injured easily and always need warmth and sunshine to prevent injuries, so the warm weather is great”, he said, his team getting an overdose of ‘warmth’ at the moment, as the Cape suffers a heat wave!  He added further benefits being that they have access to the track, the pool, the gym as well as ‘top notch recovery facilities‘.

Athletes from The United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, and the Czech Republic have arrived since the beginning of this month, to train here.  More athletes are expected to arrive next year, ahead of the 2013 World Championships of Athletics. Athletes have praised both the facilities, as well as the beauty surrounding them when they train.   Tille Scheerlinch, the Belgium team ‘high performance director’, said that an advantage of training in Stellenbosch is that there is a minimal time difference, compared to a country like Australia, with similar weather, but the time difference would affect his athletes when they return home. He said: “They call it a paradise and I can see why”!

The University of Stellenbosch’s athletics administration officer Mario Smith said it is an honour to have the athletes practising here, and a good learning experience for local athletes to learn from the world’s best. Stellenbosch and the Western Cape are sure to benefit from the athletes training locally, advantaging accommodation establishments, restaurants, and retail outlets currently, and from the good feedback that the athletes will take back with them to their home countries.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Today is World Tourism Day, and therefore it is fitting to laud Cape Town Routes Unlimited for the marketing work it is doing for Cape Town and the Western Cape in South America.

One welcome advantage of the tough tourism times is that Cape Town Routes Unlimited is proactively sharing what it is doing for the Cape tourism industry, via almost daily media releases.  Cape Town Tourism, by comparison, is Tweeting torrentially, and does little for its media coverage and member communication.

A Special Edition of the Cape Town Routes Unlimited CEO Update provides interesting information about a recent trip to South America by its CEO Calvyn Gilfellan, who visited Buenos Aires in Argentina, and Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, earlier this month.   The 2010 Soccer World Cup got the ball rolling in developing relationships with the two countries. Two events took Gilfellan to South America:

* SAA São Paulo Workshop, which was attended by 33 Brazilian tour operators, wholesalers, and incentive houses.  At the workshop a ‘speed-dating’ approach was used, whereby the Cape exhibitors and the Brazilian tour operators were each given 15 minutes to represent their tourism products, resulting in 841 business connections

.   Visit SA Expo in Buenos Aires: Organised by the South African Embassy (headed by ex-DA leader Tony Leon), the Expo invited free participation by South African tourism players, including those involved in language schools, sports tourism, business tourism, and luxury travel.

Only one day was spent in Buenos Aires, and here Cape Town Routes Unlimited was encouraged to get involved in a special rugby match in honour of Nelson Mandela on 2 November, identified an opportunity for the creation of a West Coast Rooibos Tea Route on the initiative of the South American offices of South African Rooibos Tea, and the opportunity for tourism players to provide information via the South African Embassy offices in Chile, Uruguay and Buenos Aires.  The number of tourists from Argentina doubled in one year to reach 22000 in 2010, albeit off a low base and many of the tourists coming for the Soccer World Cup.

More time was spent in Brazil, and here Cape Town Routes Unlimited picked up the positive perception that our country has ‘extraordinary tourism offerings, friendly people, a safe environment and top-class infrastructure’.  Their economic growth at 5% per annum appears to have been more resilient to the world recession, and tourism to South Africa grew by 69 % in 2010 (no numbers provided).  With its massive population of 200 million it has fantastic potential for Cape tourism marketing.  Brazilians travel for language training, events, wildlife, golf, adventure, and surfing in the main.  They are ‘habitual’ travellers, enjoying returning to destinations that they have had good experiences in.   Marketing collateral is recommended to be provided in Portuguese, and SA Tourism is commended for having a website in Portuguese.  The BRICS inclusion of South Africa will open a platform for tourism, investment, trade, sport and cultural exchanges, writes Gilfellan.  Online Travel sells packages to Brazilians visiting South Africa, and 120000 brochures will be provided by the tourism body to the South African embassy.  Media visits are on the cards, and host sponsors are sought.  A group of 100 golfers is visiting our country next month, and one hopes that the Cape is on their agenda.  Wine and golf workshops are planned for next year with Brazilian tour operators.  A jazz exchange programme between the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and the Bourbon Street Jazz Festival in Brazil is being considered, allowing performers from each festival to perform at the other festival.  A Memorandum of Understanding is to be signed between Cape Town and Rio de Janiero, and a twinning agreement to be established between Robben Island and Ilha Grande, a former political prison island in Brazil.  An African Fan Village is being considered in Rio de Janiero for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2014 FIFA World Cup, and 2016 Olympic Games.

It is time for Cape tourism players to brush up on their Portuguese and Spanish language skills, to welcome tourists from Brazil and Argentina.  With excellent flight connections via Air Malaysia from Buenos Aires and from Brazil via SAA, Cape Town and the Western Cape are sure to benefit from a new tourism market, sorely needed as the traditional tourism source markets are still depressed due to the global recession.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

It is interesting that a review of the advantages and disadvantages of South Africa hosting the World Cup, which started on 11 June last year, and particularly the downside of this world event, is only emerging now.

Yesterday we wrote about the tourism slump that has been caused by the World Cup. In yesterday’s Weekend Argus, a very critical article was published, summarising the book to be published in September and to be entitled “South Africa’s World Cup: A Legacy for Whom?”, written by Eddie Cottle, ‘regional policy and campaign officer for the Building and Wood Workers International, a global trade union federation’.

Cottle is given a prominent space in the paper, and in summary he argues that “…the promises made about the benefits of hosting the soccer World Cup were nothing but ‘bald lies’”!  His introduction is complimentary and gentle, praising the benefits of the event, in there being few technical hitches and little crime. The negatives far outweigh the event, he writes, and he says that South Africa fell for the ‘sales pitch’ of the positives of a mega-event, despite “…the volumes of academic studies on the negative impact of mega-sporting events such as the World Cup”.  He says that the promises made about the financial benefit that was the drawcard for South Africa hosting the event, with its resultant contribution to the GDP, tax revenues and job creation, which was promised by the government, FIFA, the local organising committee and tourism consultancy Grant Thornton,  were “…bald lies, wrapped up in the haze of developmental spin. There was no serious study of the opportunity cost of the investment to be made by the government; the impact on the environment; nor the contribution of the event towards the country’s debt position or the social costs of hosting the event.”  He adds that the official economic report was kept secret, and not open to public scrutiny, because of the flaws it contains.

Grant Thornton made many projection errors, not just in overestimating the number of international visitors to the country for the event, but also in the expected expenditure of tourists while in the country, which was only 16 % of the estimated R55 billion. 

The cost to the government for hosting the event was initially estimated in 2003 to be a ‘mere’ R2,3 billion, but given an estimate of R7,2 billion tax revenue, the event was packaged as generating profit.  In reality, the event cost R39 billion. This figure may not reflect the final cost tally.  The Reserve Bank estimated the cost to the state on capital formation to have been just under R130 billion, creating a deficit of R 63 billion.  What is causing a large income hole is that FIFA took R25 billion profit made by the event out of the country without paying any tax! It was the largest profit that FIFA has ever made out of a World Cup, Cottle states.

South Africa was also misled by projections of the employment benefits of the World Cup, 695000 jobs to have been created, of which just less than half were estimated to be retained after the World Cup.  This scenario proved to be incorrect, in that employment decreased by 5 % in the second quarter of 2010.  The losses of jobs in the construction sector was even higher, at 7 %.  Cottle says that as only a handful of construction companies, including Aveng, Murray & Roberts, WBHO, Group Five and Basil Read, built the insfrstastructure for the World Cup, their quotes were higher than required, a ‘grand theft’, he says.   

South Africans were caught up in the spirit of the World Cup, and went on a spending spree using their credit cards, which they are feeling the after-effects of now, partly as locals were led to believe that things would be better financially as a result of the World Cup.  Informal traders were moved out of their normal trading locations, on the basis of FIFA’s rules of a non-trade zone around stadia, impacting on the incomes of such traders.

Cottle concludes: “Indeed, a considerable negative impact has been left through higher levels of both public and individual indebtedness, the high opportunity costs associated with the event, the displacement of local spending and the reinforcing of already high social inequalities in income among and within cities.”  He states that the government’s decision to not bid for the 2020 Olympic Games ‘surely is a wise decision’!   

POSTSCRIPT 14/6: Southern African Tourism Update  reports today that the Department of Sport and Recreation will request the government to re-consider the Olympic Games bid for Durban for 2020, before the bid deadline of September.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com   Twitter:@Whale Cottage

Today the World Cup 2010 started a year ago.  While many may remember the wonderful 30-day period nostalgically, the hard reality of this largest world event is attracting criticism in its impact on the hospitality and tourism industry, which has reached its lowest low, something other mega-event cities have experienced before.  The event was commemorated yesterday with the launch of a new coffee table book ‘CapeAbility: Stories and Successes from the 2010 FIFA World Cup’.

The infrastructure benefits of the World Cup cannot be denied : Cape Town has a renewed station building, a world-class airport, and far improved access into and from the city on its N1 and N2 highways. It has a beautiful Cape Town Stadium, which has become a tourist icon for the city in itself.  It has a most wonderful Green Point Park, which was developed next to the Stadium, as well as a general upliftment of the Green Point and Mouille Point area.  It led to the roll-out of the recently completed and far improved public transport MyCiti service.  It added more international hotel brands to the city’s five-star hotel portfolio.  It created an Ubuntu amongst Capetonians and the city’s visitors, on its festive flag-decorated Fan Walks.  It positioned Cape Town, and South Africa with it, as a safer country than had been perceived before.

But the downside appears to outweigh the benefits a year down the line: there is no operator for the Cape Town Stadium since SAIL Stade de France reneged on its contract with the City of Cape Town.  Cape Town ratepayers will have to carry the cost of operating the Stadium, not making ends meet with the few events that have been hosted in the venue since July last year.   The tourism industry suffered poor pre- and post-event bookings last year, and  was led to believe that it would benefit from a tourism boom that would last for years to come.   The industry was conned by MATCH, the FIFA accommodation booking agency, with massive cancellations just days before the start of the Wold Cup.  Surprisingly, the industry is experiencing its worst ever year, and even more surprisingly, Cape Town Tourism told its members yesterday that it was to have been expected, given the Sydney experience – a 5-year slump after the 2000 Olympic Games, largely because the city tourism authorities assumed that no marketing was required after the widely publicised event.  Cape Town appears to have made the same mistake, an error which is compounded by the poor UK economy, the largest tourism source market for the city, the strong Rand, and high airfares.

Not unsurprisingly, tourism consultants Grant Thornton, who badly overestimated the World Cup tourism numbers, praised the R40 billion national capital expenditure on the World Cup, the consultancy’s Gillian Saunders saying it was money “well spent, with some areas still to be leveraged”, reports the Cape Times. She states that the infrastructure benefit had ‘significant legacy value leading to a better quality of life and provided long-term valuable assets’.  She admitted that the slow recovery from the global recession was responsible for the lack of the tourism boom which had been predicted.  Yet she said that “a large number of tourism businesses would not have survived the economic slump if it weren’t for the event”.  She reminded the industry that R3,6 billion revenue had been generated and that just more than 100000 tourists had visited the Western Cape, and just more than double this number visited Gauteng.

Cape Town Tourism has blamed SA Tourism for focusing too much on wildlife and the natural beauty of the country, and too little on its cities, in its marketing of the country.  The World Cup had created a greater city focus, but this has not been sustained by SA Tourism in its post-World Cup marketing, Cape Town Tourism says.  To strengthen brand Cape Town, Cape Town Tourism proposes that the “city’s urban identity, innovative outlook, entrepreneurial spirit, academic excellence and pioneering medical and science sectors must be added to the brand palette in order for it to effectively compete in the domestic and global market”, in addition to its leisure tourism positioning, it is reported in BizCommunity.com.

The Cape Argus yesterday ‘shouted’ in a headline:”Post-World Cup tourism boom ‘non-existent’”, stating that the benefits have been the international performers who held concerts in the Stadium, the city’s improved infrastructure, and the survival of a number of tourism businesses.  It quotes Cape Town Tourism as saying that Cape Town is in a ‘brand vacuum’.  The annual operating cost of the Stadium is quoted as being R57 million.  Two concerts have been booked, and a further two are in the pipeline, according to the city’s new head of Tourism, Grant Pascoe.   Talks with Western Province rugby continue, he said.   He added that the city is receiving more event applications than it did prior to the World Cup. Developing the Fan Walk into a 24/7 facility is also being considered.  The oversupply of hotel accommodation can be attributed to nine new hotels with 1500 rooms in total, which were built for the World Cup, says Dirk Elzinga, Chairman of FEDHASA Cape.  He naively states that many hotels have already received repeat World Cup business, and that the ‘extremely low occupancies’ of some hotels ‘was normal for the off-season’!

Launched by Premier Helen Zille and Mayor Patricia de Lille, the ‘CapeAbility’ book documents the ‘planning, delivery and effect’ of the World Cup on the Western Cape, says BizCommunity.com.   The book “makes every effort to extract honest lessons to understand the hosting of such mega-events better.  It is designed therefore not as a memento of the event, but a review of what worked, what didn’t and what could be done better and become a guide to hosting future events”.   “The book is meant to play a marketing role and points out that it is crucial that opportunities, such as the World Cup, are converted into more than just short-term profits for a small tourism and events sector, but into huge brand building opportunities for a country”. 

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:  www.whalecottage.com  Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Cape Town Tourism issued a media release “A Mid-Way 2010 FIFA World Cup Report from Cape Town Tourism” on Friday, which has (frighteningly) been picked up by news agencies and reported upon immediately.

My problem with surveys conducted by companies that do not have the faintest idea of market research is that the answers received will only be as good or as bad as the questions asked.  I knew immediately that the results would be used for publicity purposes when I received a survey participation request as an accommodation establishment from Cape Town Tourism two weeks ago.

The first questionnaire was embarrassingly bad, with poor grammar, poor time scales provided as answer options, leading questions asked, and a 5-day timeline referred to when they meant 7 days!   I wrote to Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold immediately, telling her that it would be irresponsible if the results were to be used for PR purposes.  I offered my help, having been a market researcher for 20 years, and was sent the second accommodation survey for input a week later.   I had to correct almost every question, and hoped that it would be used as it had been corrected.  But no, many questions were altered, new ones introduced relative to the draft questionnaire, making comparison between week 1 and week 2 impossible, more grammatical errors were made in that my corrections were “corrected” nonsensically, so much so that I wrote to Du Toit-Helmbold again, withdrawing my offer to assist in future, in not wanting to be associated with such unprofessional work and by implication condone its irresponsible use for publicity purposes.

And so two days after the last “survey” went out, the results of the two weeks’ “surveys” were neatly packaged and presented as a valid “survey” and findings presented as the gospel in a press release for all the world to read!

The first problem is that the sample size is not specified – i.e. the number of respondents relative to the universe of accommodation establishments.  Second, the “survey” only would reflect Cape Town Tourism members, and not all accommodation establishments in Cape Town (in Camps Bay, for example, most guest houses do not belong to Cape Town Tourism) – this is not mentioned in the press release, which is irresponsible in itself.  Third, the geographic definition that was used in the press release was the “Cape Town Metropole” – in my definition that would be the inner city of Cape Town, but in the definition of the City of Cape Town, it would be the municipal area of the whole area of Cape Town (e.g. Southern Suburbs, Atlantic Seaboard, Northern Suburbs, and even Somerset West and Strand).   Incorporating all of these areas of greater Cape Town would certainly skew the findings – whilst the press release referred to such areas as Green Point and City Bowl, the suburb of the respondents was not asked in the questionnaires, which makes one wonder how they got to this information!

And so if one were to waste one’s time in evaluating the results of the accommodation “survey”, the finding of a 40 % average occupancy would reflect the geographic bias in the “survey” design, as low occupancy of guest houses in Somerset West or Durbanville would reduce the higher occupancies in the city and Atlantic Seaboard areas on average.   The press release reports an average occupancy of 71 % for the City Bowl, Waterfront and Green Point areas.  Once again, this finding is questioned as the geographic question was not asked, and the respondents were anonymous!   Where the press release states that the “survey” found that business had improved in the second week of the World Cup, our experience in Camps Bay is the opposite, it having become very quiet since the departure of the England fans last Monday. The majority of the 25000 Dutch fans (unfortunately for Cape Town) camped at the Berg River Resort in Paarl.

Even worse is the predictions that are made by the writer of the release, sent out by the Cape Town Tourism’s PR company Rabbit in a Hat Communications, the authors of the “survey” questionnaire.  It finds that the average length of stay is only 3 – 4 days (we would disagree), and predicts that the “length of stay in Cape Town will increase as the tournament progresses.  Cape Town hosts a Quarter Final on Saturday, 3 July and the Semi Final on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 and expects visitor numbers will peak during these times”.  Anyone observing the movement of soccer fans will know that this is a dangerous prediction to make, and that soccer fans follow their teams, not cities!  The teams playing the Round of 16 in Cape Town tomorrow are Portugal and Spain, and Germany faces Argentina in the Quarter Final on Saturday, but no additional bookings have been received from their fans.  The teams for the Semi Final are not yet known, and therefore bookings are not being made for these dates yet.  However, it may be impossible to still buy tickets for these last three Cape Town matches, as they were the first to be ‘sold out’, according to media reports.

More reliable information is contained in the press release as far as other tourism World Cup indicators are concerned:

*   Cape Town International airport reports that its number of international arrivals is up by 44 %, the busiest day to date being 20 June, when 25 000 passengers were “processed”.   Bookings for flights to South Africa were being made while England was playing Slovenia last Wednesday, the release says.

*   Luxury coach company Springbok Atlas reports fully booked coaches, with two trips per day per coach on average

*   Car rental companies “are reporting mixed results, many saying that figures have been disappointing but that business increases around match days”, say the press release.

*   The 18 branch offices of Cape Town Tourism report a 16 % increase in “international visitors” and a 3 % decline in “domestic visitors”, compared to the same period as last year.  One wonders how this is recorded, as the country of origin has never been seen to be recorded when visiting such a branch.

*   The V&A Waterfront reports that its tenants are enjoying trading as in the summer season, with 150 000 – 160 000 persons per day (not all tenants would agree).

*   The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company reports increased business of 50 % higher than in 2009

*   The Cape Quarter reports good results for its restaurants, and less so for the retail tenants

*   Tour operator business has increased by 20 % (this comes from another Cape Town Tourism “survey”, so the result should be treated with caution, as the sample size was not revealed)

*   Restaurants must be trading very poorly, as their business levels compared to 2009 are not reported

*   Probably the most valuable measurement of success of the World Cup to date is the media coverage for Cape Town.   Cape Town Tourism reports that it has hosted 205 international journalists since January until 10 June, mainly focusing on the readiness of the city to host the World Cup.   Since 11 June 85 international journalists were hosted on sightseeing tours of the city, and information was provided to 93 media channels.  The Media Centre at the Cape Town Stadium, as well as at the Fan Park at the Grand Parade, is staffed by Cape Town Tourism, and the brochures and information packs provided to the media are commendable.

(An irony is that FIFA President Sepp Blatter wanted a new stadium in Cape Town for media purposes, because Table Mountain could not be seen from the old Green Point Stadium.  The few meters that the Stadium had to be moved meant a spectacularly beautiful new building for the city, which in fact is the backdrop for much international media reporting, taking away from the beautiful landmarks Cape Town has.  The new Stadium therefore is an important landmark in its own right, a surprise outcome).

*   VIP visitors to Cape Town have been an accolade for the city (not reported upon by Cape Town Tourism), and the stay in Cape Town last week by Princes William and Harry, London Mayor Boris Johnson and David Beckham have already been documented on this blog.  Now Bill Clinton is visiting the city, staying at one of the Penthouses of the One&Only Hotel in the Waterfront.   Prince Harry has also returned to Cape Town after last week’s match, and was seen having lunch at the Grand on the Beach on Thursday.

*   One should not forget how good Cape Town is looking, and the World Cup has done the city proud in its upgraded and largely smooth-flowing N1 and N2 highways, its beautiful new airport building and recently renovated train station, its modern buses, upgrade of Green Point, upgrade of the Grand Parade, the great walkability of the Fan Mile, the greening of Green Point, and upgrade of the Metropolitan Golf Club, new modern street lighting around Green Point, the lit-up Table Mountain – all combining to make Cape Town feel like a world-class city, even to its residents!

*  If media reports are to be believed, Cape Town has been approached to host the Olympic Games in 2020 – what an amazing compliment for the city.

To fill the tourism gaps in Cape Town (having been left out of much of the action in only having eight matches played at the Cape Town Stadium, and no teams based in the city), Cape Town Tourism has embarked on a “Come to Cape Town” marketing campaign, to attract Johannesburg-based soccer fans to come to Cape Town in-between matches.  Airline partners are offering flights at R 700 one-way, while accommodation establishments are offering their rooms at R 500 per person.

*   Cape Town Tourism’s funder, the City of Cape Town, simultaneously reported on the status of Cape Town, but this was not incorporated in the Cape Town Tourism press release.   Mansoor Mohamed, the Executive Director of Economic and Social Development and Tourism of the City, indicated that informal traders were doing well,  more expensive hotels were experiencing low occupancy (20 – 40 %), and that restaurants “are also doing better than expected trade, with some even beating their actual Christmas figures”, reports South Africa.info.  We disagree with the restaurant finding, having experienced empty restaurants, and observing soccer fans mainly ordering beer and very little food when they sit in pubs and restaurants.    Mohamed has admitted that his observations are based on “initial surveys”, and stated that the economic impact of the World Cup will be established by means of comprehensive research at the end of the tournament.  “The World Cup is the single most important event for South Africa and the African continent in recent time.  It is positively changing the world’s perceptions about Africa” Mohamed said.

*   A very low-key but most high profile event taking place in Cape Town until today (not reported upon by Cape Town Tourism in their media release) is the Fortune, TIME and CNN Global Forum.  About 140 heads of global and local companies such a Royal Dutch Shell, China Mobile, Deutsche Bank, The Coca Cola Company, DuPont, Rio Tinto Group, McKinsey & Company, Trilogy, Merck Vaccines, Kissinger Associates, Inc, De Beers Group, Richemont SA, One&Only, Naspers Limited, De Beers Group, SEACOM Limited, ABSA Group Limited, Standard Bank Group, Symantec, First Rand Limited, Sanlam Limited, Pioneer Foods, Investec Asset Management, and Daimler, paying $5000 each to attend, will meet influential persons from TIME magazine’s top 100 list, reports the Weekend Argus.  Bill Clinton, Ex-President FW de Klerk, Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel, Minister of Trade & Industry Rob Davies, Francois Pienaar, and World Cup Local Organising Committee Danny Jordaan and others will be addressing the Forum, while President Zuma will be addressing the delegates via satellite from the G20 summit in Canada. High level journalists and news anchors from Time, Fortune, CNN, and CBS News will also attend the Forum at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.  Delegates are staying at the Mount Nelson Hotel and the Cullinan Hotel.

There can be no doubt that Cape Town is busier than it would have been in any other June.  The reality is that May was the worst month ever experienced, the World Cup having created a vacuum of bookings.  One hopes the same is not true for the rest of July.  It is disturbing to see the low number of bookings made for Christmas and New Year, traditionally the most popular period in Cape Town, and a period that would have been booked up by now already.  If Whale Cottage Camps Bay is anything to go by, it is going to be a lean summer, despite the World Cup hype – the British travellers are the largest source of bookings for Cape Town, and they are under severe financial pressure with the new Conservative/Lib-Dem government having imposed stringent financial measures in their budget earlier this week, including an increase in VAT of 2,5 percentage points to 20%.  Many countries in Europe are also facing tight economic measures imposed by their governments (e.g. Greece, Italy, Spain) and even Germany is affected by Europe’s economic woes.

An interesting issue is the effect of the World Cup on travel aspirations to South Africa of Americans.  The American soccer fans were the largest ticket-buying nation of all, beating England and Germany, and were the first to book, more than a year ago.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com