Entries tagged with “tourism marketing”.


Yesterday afternoon Anton Groenewald, Executive Director of the City of Cape Town’s new TEAM (Tourism, Events, Arts, Marketing) Directorate, addressed the French networking group CAP40 at the Alliance Française on the topic ‘Perspective on strategic and policy intiatives to grow the Tourism business in Cape Town‘.  He was described as the ‘keyholder that can unlock tourism to the Cape’. Groenewald has become the most powerful person in Tourism in Cape Town, and has a considerable budget.

Groenewald is an interesting man, very honest (often at his own expense) and direct, very goal-orientated, non-political in his actions, and charming even though he may be ruthlessly honest.  He is not always ‘media-correct’ in his honesty, yet he does not seem to mind being quoted, no matter how sensitive his response may be to the parties he may be commenting about, as we discovered last year when Cape Town Tourism was blowing its own horn about the number of Twitter impressions it had created by inviting four international bloggers to the city. For Groenewald it is all about the bottom line, his mantra being ‘commercialisation’ to achieve revenue targets. His department has promised Cape Town Tourism R117 million for the three year period from 1 July 2013 onwards, but with demanding revenue and commercialisation targets to be achieved. He certainly means business, and was honest in admitting that a head of Cape Town Tourism who has been in the position for nine years no longer is fresh enough to be on top of her game.  He confirmed that its outgoing-CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold did not need any encouragement to not renew her contract.  They will shortly start recruiting a replacement CEO nationally as well as internationally.  His no-nonsense attitude shows when he stopped Cape Town Tourism PR (more…)

As we predicted, the new Chairman of Cape Town Tourism is its previous Deputy Chairman and the Managing Director of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company, Sabine Lehmann, the first female Chairman of the tourism body, and elected at the first meeting of the new Cape Town Tourism Board two weeks ago, said an e-mail sent to Cape Town Tourism members last week.

Ms Lehmann will not have an easy task to negotiate with tough City of Cape Town funder Anton Groenewald, the Director of the new City of Cape Town Tourism, Events and Marketing (TEAM) Directorate, who showed his muscle eight years ago, when he brought the previous Cape Town Tourism and its Board (with CEO Sheryl Ozinsky) on its knees, by withholding funding when we as a Board attempted resisting amalgamation with all the other tourism bodies in Cape Town, and closing down the original Section 21 company (which still has not been wound down!).

At the AGM of Cape Town Tourism last month, Mr Groenewald announced that his Directorate will take away Destination Marketing from Cape Town Tourism, which will be left with Visitor Services and Tourism Marketing only, seen by most in the industry as well as journalists as a vote of no confidence in the marketing, or lack of, of Cape Town. Its future marketing role will be restricted to representing Cape Town at international exhibitions (such as World Travel Market in London, where CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold is representing Cape Town with Wesgro at the moment), hosting local and international media, and digital marketing. The City of Cape Town has appointed Rory Viljoen as its new Director of Place Marketing (or Destination Marketing).

In the Cape Town Tourism member e-mail Mrs Helmbold tried to sound upbeat towards her members, and made the right noises towards the City of Cape Town and its future relationship: “…the Cape Town Tourism Executive team and Board are optimistic about working with the City on a new destination marketing model for Cape Town”. She referred to the Constitution of Cape Town Tourism, writing that the tourism body ‘will continue to deliver tourism marketing and visitor services in line with our Constitution’. However, the City’s removal of Cape Town Tourism’s Destination Marketing role is in breach of Cape Town Tourism’s Constitution, an issue which she does not address.  A new three year contract is to be negotiated with the City of Cape Town as a first priority, to provide greater financial and operational stability for Cape Town Tourism, as the contracts have been renewed annually in the past. Ms Lehmann will have to live with the Service Level Agreement which appears to have been hastily signed by outgoing Cape Town Tourism Chairman Ian Bartes before the AGM, and possibly without approval from the rest of the Board members.

The rest of the two page e-mail is a badly written copy and paste job of a recent media release, as well as of Mrs Helmbold’s speech at the AGM, with unacceptable grammatical errors and Mrs Helmbold’s love for nonsensical phrases: “We’ve had to make difficult decisions in the past, and we will do so again to ensure that Cape Town Tourism is a well-run organisation that contributes in a real way to positioning Cape Town as one of the world’s leading tourism destinations. As always, we will take the industry along on our journey and ensure that our strategies and plans are co-crafted with the industry and the stakeholders who are the flesh and blood of the tourism sector in Cape Town. Changes in our environment, whether local or international, brings (sic) with it the opportunity to go back to basics, re-imagine the future and ensure that we stay relevant”.

The e-mail to the Cape Town Tourism members does not explain to its members what exactly its future role will be, and what impact this will have on the staffing of Cape Town Tourism (some retrenchments were hinted at at the AGM) and on the service delivery to its members. Surprising is that Mrs Helmbold does not know the correct company name of her new Chairman!

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

In order to reassure its members about its future role, Cape Town Tourism issued a media statement late yesterday afternoon, the content of which will make the tourism industry even more confused.

At the AGM of Cape Town Tourism on Thursday, preceded by an e-mail sent to members the day before, it was announced that the City of Cape Town is taking over Cape Town Tourism’s role of Destination Marketing, and that the tourism organisation would focus in future on Visitor Services and on Tourism Marketing, even though it was not clear what the difference is between Tourism Marketing and Destination Marketing.

The media statement says that Cape Town Tourism as an ‘organisation will remain a dynamic industry organisation delivering tourism destination marketing and visitor services in line with its Constitution’. On Monday we wrote that taking away the Destination Marketing function of Cape Town Tourism is in breach of Cape Town Tourism’s Constitution.

While the City of Cape Town’s Executive Director of Tourism, Events, and Marketing (TEAM), Anton Groenewald, had been clear that Cape Town Tourism will only handle ‘Tourism Marketing’ with Visitor Services, Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold is quoted in the Cape Town Tourism media statement as referring to ‘tourism destination marketing‘, a term not used by the City of Cape Town in its presentation at the AGM.  Interesting too is the reference to the Constitution, which may make the City’s move, even if the ex-Cape Town Tourism Chairman Ian Bartes signed the Service Level Agreement with the City, agreeing to it shedding its role, unconstitutional in itself – we question whether the Constitution allows Bartes to sign such an agreement without Board approval, as intimated at the AGM.

Interesting is that Mrs Helmbold praises her own organisation, as if to plead to the City for a rethink: ‘Cape Town Tourism was the best vehicle to deliver tourism destination marketing and visitor services for Cape Town’, but it would appear that the City of Cape Town does not agree, a number of media reports agreeing with our interpretation that the events at the AGM were in fact a vote of no confidence in Cape Town Tourism’s ability to market Cape Town!

The media statement changes tack, and contradicts its earlier paragraph about its future role, and explains that Cape Town Tourism will perform a support role to the new Places Marketing  division in the City’s new TEAM directorate, headed by Mr Groenewald: “The City of Cape Town introduced their new Tourism, Events and Marketing (incorporating Arts & Culture and Strategic Assets) Directorate to the industry at the Cape Town Tourism AGM. The function of the new directorate includes Place Marketing – a department that will, in future, take care of destination marketing at large for the city. Cape Town Tourism will focus on tourism marketing, whilst supporting the directorate with Place Marketing programmes”.

The media statement defines the future role of Cape Town Tourism as representing Cape Town at international exhibitions, hosting local and international media, digital marketing (i.e. lots more Tweeting!), and any further tourism marketing requirements of the City of Cape Town, for which it would have to pay extra!

History has shown that Cape Town Tourism cannot but accept the City’s directive, otherwise it will be bled dry by the City of Cape Town, as happened to the previous Cape Town Tourism section 21 company in 2004.  Mrs Helmbold confirmed her organisation’s acceptance of the new directive: “ We are encouraged by the City’s commitment to conclude a three year visitor services and tourism marketing agreement with Cape Town Tourism before June 2013. We are committed to work with the City of Cape Town to co-design our future partnership with the City and agree on Cape Town Tourism’s role and responsibility within the broader Place Marketing agenda of the City. Tourism, the third largest contributor to the global economy, after the automobile and banking sectors, is a sector that really matters. As the world prepares to witness one billion arrivals by the end of 2012, we will never lose sight of the fact that tourism makes a significant contribution to shaping Cape Town’s future and a better life for its citizens. The partnership between tourism and local government must realise growth and opportunities for the tourism industry and those that work in and provide services to the sector.”

Mrs Helmbold also acknowledged that her organisation had not delivered on tourism growth, as we have pointed out on numerous occasions: “Cape Town Tourism is ready to work with the City on a new destination marketing model for Cape Town. We remain single-minded in our belief that we can help to turn the tide on shrinking demand and seasonality and will continue rolling out cutting edge visitor and tourism destination marketing programmes. Some elements will have to be delayed or reimagined in lieu of our reduced funding and ever changing trends. We will cut our cloth according to our available resources, but we will stay future-minded, never compromising innovation, creativity and excellence. We will improve the balance between “bricks and mortar” and digital visitor service delivery, and focus a lot more on marketing in partnership with the tourism industry and business at large.”

The rest of the long media statement was an encapsulation of information presented at the AGM, but did not explain the muddled definitions of ‘Destination Marketing‘ and ‘Tourism Marketing’, nor why Mrs Helmbold has given her organisation the new mandate of ‘tourism destination marketing’. One hopes that Cape Town Tourism and the City of Cape Town will clarify their exact roles and relationship, and will get on with the much-needed job of marketing Cape Town as a world class tourist destination!

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

The AGM of Cape Town Tourism was so bizarre, that it has taken some time to understand exactly what happened on Thursday evening at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. It appears that a number of aspects of the AGM are unconstitutional!

Having been a Board member and Deputy Chairman of the previous section 21 Cape Town Tourism until 2004, and having seen the power of the City of Cape Town in using its financial funding muscle to achieve what it wants, I went back to the Constitution of Cape Town Tourism, reading the version last updated after the AGM in 2011 (the resolution amending some typing errors in the Constitution, ‘approved’ on Thursday evening, has not yet been implemented).  I discovered the following AGM procedures to be in breach of the Constitution of Cape Town Tourism:

1.  Clause 8.1.2 states: “The notice convening the annual general meeting must state in broad terms the business to be transacted at the meeting and must specify the terms of any resolutions to be proposed”. The wording of the clause seems clumsy, but it would appear to mean that members should receive the resolutions when they receive the notice of the AGM.  This was not the case, making the adoption of the Resolutions by show of hands at the meeting unconstitutional.

2.  Even more odd was that no Annual Report was presented nor adopted at the meeting, the constitutional requirement (clause 8.1.5.2) being that ‘the presentation and adoption of the annual report of the Chairperson of Cape Town Tourism and the budget and business plan for the forthcoming year‘.  As reported, outgoing Chairman Ian Bartes spent most of his talk focusing on the City of Cape Town’s changed Budget allocation of R36 million (from R42 million), and the removal of the Destination Marketing responsibility from Cape Town Tourism.  He did mention that staff costs had reduced by 3%, and all other costs by 4% in the past financial year, and intimated that retrenchments may be on the cards, in answer to a question.  No Business Plan was presented.

3.  Similarly, in clause 8.1.5.3, ‘the consideration of the draft annual financial statements of Cape Town Tourism, as approved by the Board’ is specified in the Constitution, but no motion was moved to adopt the Financials!

4.  The biggest shock of the AGM was the announcement that Cape Town Tourism is to lose its role of Destination Marketing, and has been left with only the duties of ‘Tourism Marketing’ and Visitor Information Services. Clause 5.1 of the Constitution defines the role of Cape Town Tourism as follows: The main object of Cape Town Tourism is to provide destination marketing services and visitor services and thereby to provide services for the benefit of Cape Town Tourism members and the wider tourism industry’. ‘Destination Marketing’ is the role allocated to Cape Town Tourism, and there is no reference to a separate category of ‘Tourism Marketing’!  In 2008 the members of Cape Town Tourism had voted to accept Cape Town Tourism’s expanded role of Destination Marketing, which had led to the appointment of a Marketing Manager (the current incumbent is Velma Corcoran).

The City’s decision to take ‘Destination Marketing’ away from Cape Town Tourism is therefore in breach of the Constitution of Cape Town Tourism.  I challenged Mr Groenewald about this after the AGM, and he quickly responded that the resolutions presented at the AGM had taken care of this.  There was no mention of a resolution relating to the changed role of Cape Town Tourism at the AGM. This is the record of the 2012 Resolutions on the Cape Town Tourism website:

“RESOLUTIONS TO BE TABLED AT THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF CAPE TOWN TOURISM (“CTT”) TO BE HELD AT THE CAPE TOWN INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION CENTRE ON 18 OCTOBER 2012

RESOLVED:

1. Finances

That, in terms of clause 15.2.1 of CTT’s Constitution (“the Constitution”), membership fees for the 2013/14 financial year be increased by 6.5% (six comma five percent).

2. Allowances

That, in terms of clause 16 of the Constitution, the following allowances and re-imbursements be paid to the members of the Board of CTT for the 2013/14 financial year:

2.1 Allowance: R400.00 per month;

2.2 Travel and parking: in accordance with CTT’s conditions of service for staff members.

3. Appointment of auditors

That, in terms of clause 15.5 of the Constitution, PKF be re-appointed as the auditors of CTT for the 2013/14 financial year.

4. Constitution

That the following amendments to the Constitution be approved, with effect from 18 October 2012:

4.1 By the deletion of clause 1.3 and its replacement by the following:

“In 2011 and in 2012 it was decided by the members of Cape Town Tourism to effect further

amendments to the Constitution.  These amendments have been incorporated in a revised

Constitution, approved as provided for in clause 20 hereof.”

4.2 By the deletion in clause 5.2.2 of the words “Destination Marketing Organisation, known as Cape Town Routes Unlimited (“CTRU”)”, and their replacement by “Destination Marketing, Investment and Trade Promotion Agency for the Western Cape, known as WESGRO (“WESGRO”)”.

4.3  By the deletion in clause 8.1.5.7 of “far” and its replacement by “for”.

4.4 By the deletion in clause 8.2.2 of “Specify” and its replacement by “specify”.

4.5 By the deletion in clause 14.2 of “6 (five)” and its replacement by “5 (five)”. 4.6 That the designation at the end of the Constitution be deleted and replaced by the following:

“Thus adopted unanimously at a special general meeting of Cape Town Tourism held at the Ritz Hotel, Sea Point on 14 August 2008 and amended at the Annual General Meetings of Cape Town Tourism held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 17 October 2011 and 18 October 2012.”

it is clear that no Member approval was called for in regard to the future role of Cape Town Tourism, and that a Special General Meeting will have to be called, to make the removal of ‘Destination Marketing’ from Cape Town Tourism’s role constitutional.

Forcing members to vote for three of six ‘Black’ Board nominees, due to the constitutional requirement that three of its Board directors be ‘Black’, was a step backward in voting on the basis of skin colour and not on merit, in our opinion, but was in accordance with the Constitution.

Interesting to note is another clause (12.2), not related to the AGM, in which the Constitution states that ‘Only the Chief Executive Officer or the Chairperson or, in his/her absence, the Vice-Chairperson, are entitled to issue public statements on behalf of Cape Town Tourism’.  Once again the wording is ambiguous (what does ‘issue’ entail?). We have noted that two recent media releases issued by Cape Town Tourism have quoted Councillor Grant Pascoe, in one instance combined with a quote from the CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, and in another instance with no reference to her, which would appear to be unconstitutional.  In hindsight, given the shock AGM announcement, it is clear that the City of Cape Town is now hijacking Cape Town Tourism’s PR activity (the little that there is) for its own glory!  It would appear that quoting only Councillor Pascoe would make such media statements in breach of the Cape Town Tourism Constitution!

Something else that appeared odd was Chairman Bartes’ almost apologetic acknowledgement that he had signed the City of Cape Town’s amended Service Level Agreement, to prevent a ‘qualified audit’, and to ensure ‘stability’, both aspects unexplained.  It sounded as if he had signed the Agreement without Board approval, which may be a breach of the Constitution, as no such power is vested in the Chairman as far as we can see.

The breaches of the Constitution of Cape Town Tourism in its handling of the AGM would appear to reflect an organisation that lost its focus when the City of Cape Town broke the news about its slashed Budget and its changed role in September, coincidentally the same time as the trip to Turkey, which 10-member delegation included Mr Groenewald from the City, and Cape Town Tourism Chairman Bartes, CEO Mrs Helmbold, and more. The breaches are unforgivable, and are a poor reflection on the Board of Cape Town Tourism, and its legal advisers!

Cape Town Tourism will have to call a Special General Meeting to fix its constitutional breaches, to:

1.  Obtain approval of the Financial Statements (circulating them in advance to members)

2.  Obtain approval of the Resolutions again (circulating them in advance)

3.  Obtain approval of the Annual Report, with a Budget and Business Plan (circulating them in advance)

4.  Change the description of the role of Cape Town Tourism, deleting its role of Destination Marketing, in its Constitution.

Clause 20.1 states that the Constitution can be amended by calling a general meeting of its members, with 21 days’ notice to be given to the members of Cape Town Tourism.

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

Despite a warning e-mail sent to members of Cape Town Tourism the day before its AGM held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre last night, it appears that the news that the City of Cape Town has established a new Directorate of Tourism, Events and Marketing, and will be taking over ‘Destination Marketing’ from Cape Town Tourism, accompanied by a Budget cut, was confusing to most attending the AGM.  The new City of Cape Town T (Tourism) E (Events) A (Arts and Culture) M (Marketing) directorate, under the management of Executive Director Anton Groenewald, will take over the marketing of Cape Town, and therefore reduces the Budget of Cape Town Tourism, which will now focus on Visitor Information Services and ‘Tourism Marketing’!

This was not the only shock of the evening, which was preceded by the election of three new Board members, which according to the Cape Town Tourism constitution all had to be ‘Black’ (defined as Black African, Coloured and Indian) it was explained by the election auditor Achmat Toefy.  Nine nominations had been received for the three Board seats, and whilst the female quota of two has already been met by the incumbent Directors, there were no existing ‘Black’ Directors, and therefore members had to vote for 3 out of the 6 ‘Black’ nominees, despite excellent candidates such as ‘white’ Guy Lundy, now at Future Insight Consulting.  One wonders how many members refused to vote, or spoilt their ballot!  Ian Bartes, the diplomatic Chairman of Cape Town Tourism, has not made himself available for another term, probably realising how tough the year ahead will be, in negotiating a role for Cape Town Tourism and sufficient Budget to continue its work.  The interesting question is who of the ‘German Troika’ will be elected as the new Chairman: Sabine Lehmann, CEO of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company has been the Deputy Chairman, and could be a tough Chairman for the City to negotiate with, although she may need to stay on the right side of the City for her business.  Nils Heckscher, GM of the Winchester Mansions, and ex-Chairman of FEDHASA, is a known Yes-man, and would be an ideal push-over for the City.  Susanne Faussner-Ringer, owner of Greenways, would be a very tough negotiator too but is disliked.  Existing Board members Pierre du Plessis, a ‘Friend’ of Cape Town Tourism and not from the tourism industry, and Sarah Struys of Kirstenbosch, as well as the three newly elected Board members marketing consultant Craig Kensley, Enver Mally of African Eagle Daytours, and Jonathan Jacobs of Tourism Enterprise Partnership would be less likely to be elected Chairman.

Then there was the oddity of a number of changes to be made to the Constitution, no copies of the resolutions being sent to members prior to the AGM.  Slide after slide of the resolutions, not readable to most the audience in the 1000 seater hall, were rushed through by Toefy.  He seemed to indicate that the resolutions only related to some typing errors in the Constitution, the re-appointment of the auditors, and the 14% increase in the Directors’ emolument from R350 to R400 (period not specified), all contained in one resolution, and not separated.  No one voted against the adoption of the resolution, most not knowing what was going on.

In his Chairman’s address, Ian Bartes spelt out the impact of the City’s decision on Cape Town Tourism, reminding the audience of the member resolution in 2008, giving Cape Town Tourism the mandate to add Destination Marketing to its portfolio, responsible for the full tourism destination management and marketing service, due to the City’s unhappiness with the marketing role of the then Cape Town Routes Unlimited, the City placing its 50% contribution into Cape Town Tourism, at around R40 million.  Anton Groenewald was appointed to head up the directorate of Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing Grant Pascoe late last year.  He informed Cape Town Tourism in August that its role would change, and its Budget would reduce, the figures only supplied last month, a decrease in the budget to R 36 million, from R42 million the year before.  The Budget reduction means a loss of R2,1 million, due to commitments which had already been made with suppliers.  To prevent a qualified audit and any instability in the operation of Cape Town Tourism, Chairman Bartes had been mandated to sign the City’s Service Level Agreement ‘in good faith’ , he said (we read this as meaning ‘under duress’).  When asked, Bartes did not deny that the implication could be job losses at Cape Town Tourism.  He also ominously wished the new Board ‘good luck’ for the new journey with the City of Cape Town!  He did not present Financials, a fundamental part of an AGM!  A sign of the tough times was the very thin ‘goody bag’, only containing the list of Board nominees, and a packet of Europcar mints!

The CEO speech by Mariette du Toit-Helmbold was a short and sweet presentation without many gimmicks, only a few slides representing their broad categories of work, very understated compared to the normal glitz and glamour, and mainly focusing on their new ‘MyCapeTownHoliday.com’ Facebook competition.  She spoke in her usual ‘Digital Nomad’ speak, using the same concepts of previous talks, praising her organisation’s Facebook fan statistics and R45 million media coverage value, trying very hard to sound confident and unaffected by the City’s devastating news to her organisation.  She praised her staff, but did not call them up to the stage as she did in the past, only acknowledging the soon-to-depart Cathy Alberts, who has been at Cape Town Tourism for years and is leaving to head up St Helena Tourism (her role will be taken over by controversial Communications Manager Skye Grove, a first sign of money-saving).  She said that they have an ‘innovative marketing strategy, but uncertainty about the funding’.  The National Geographic campaign will be funded from their own income, she said. She could not talk about any future plans for the year ahead, which the AGM has been a platform for in the past, because she and her team have no idea where the City will be taking them. She did confidently state that Cape Town Tourism is ‘the best agency to deliver Tourism Marketing and Visitor Services’.

Mrs Helmbold was followed by Mr Groenewald, and he explained his new TEAM concept, having taken a top executive (Rory Viljoen) with international marketing experience at Distell and Coca Cola on board to market Cape Town. They will retain the focus on ‘established markets’ USA, the ‘European Union’, Scandinavia, the UK, and some African countries. Almost a third of their spend will be on new markets, mainly BRICS countries.  There will be an increased focus on Arts & Culture, with a Cape Town Carnival planned for 16 March, and to be held on the Fan Mile.  There will be greater co-operation with the private sector to gain greater revenue out of the City’s assets (the Cape Town Stadium, City Hall, and Grand Parade).  His justification of the Turkey trip did not really go down, calling Istanbul the ‘gateway to an untapped market of 40 million’, and making it sound as if their trip had led to an increased number of Turkish Airlines direct flights per week between Istanbul and Cape Town. Sport brand collaboration will increase, as per Manchester United’s visit, and information about the economic impact thereof will be released soon, and the soccer team is set to return.  The City wants to make money out of such events. An Arts Festival is to be established.  We have heard it so often, but it was said again: more events will be focused in the May – October period.  Talks are underway with Western Province Rugby about Newlands Stadium/Cape Town Stadium.  Revenue sharing in the acts coming to Cape Town (Lady Gaga, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Linkin Park), and sports events like Kaizer Chiefs, the J&B Met, Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour, ABSA Cape Epic, and more will be the focus in using the Cape Town Stadium and in generating income for the City.  The naming rights for the Cape Town Stadium cost R20 – R40 million.  ’Pouring rights’ per event will cost R1 – R1,5 million.  Advertising space will be sold to generate income.

When asked what the difference between Destination and Tourism marketing is, Mr Groenewald did not really clarify, only saying that Cape Town Tourism would still represent Cape Town at tourism exhibitions such as ITB and WTM, and that his organisation would be negotiating with soccer teams!  The McGrath Collection GM Tony Romer-Lee quite rightly asked why this decision had been made mid-year.  Mr Groenewald said that the City had given Cape Town Tourism the marketing role four years ago, due to the poor execution by Cape Town Routes Unlimited.  As Wesgro has taken over this duty now at a provincial level, the City has decided to take back the marketing role, in using its assets to promote Cape Town. Whereas the City and Cape Town had one year Service Level Agreements renewed annually, the City plans to make it a three year one ahead, allowing both parties ‘to work collaboratively’.

The new heads of the City of Cape Town TEAM directorate are Rory Viljoen (Marketing), Events (Teral Cullen), Zaid Minty (Arts and Culture), Lesley de Reuck (Cape Town Stadium), and Freddie Prins (Strategic Assets), while the Research and Strategy position is still vacant.

The City’s shock moves were not discussed, as promised by Mrs Helmbold in the e-mail she sent to her members the day before the AGM, even though ten questions were allowed:

“We look forward to seeing many of Cape Town Tourism’s members and stakeholders at Thursday’s Annual General Meeting. We felt it would be expedient to send out an important communication prior to the event so that you are fully informed on the status of Cape Town Tourism’s mandate and funding from the City of Cape Town.

At the end of 2011, the City of Cape Town established a new directorate called Tourism, Events and Marketing. The Directorate consists of the following Departments: Tourism, Place Marketing, Events, Arts and Culture and Strategic Assets.

A delay in the implementation of the City of Cape Town’s new directorate and budget finalisation subsequently resulted in a delay in the confirmation of Cape Town Tourism’s funding and mandate for 2012/2013. The Board was informed at the end of May 2012 that the new directorate would have an impact on Cape Town Tourism’s mandate, in particular its destination marketing mandate, which would be limited to tourism marketing.

Subsequent to this notification, the Board of Cape Town Tourism has been in discussion with the City to clarify the impact on the organisation’s budget and programmes delivered. In the meantime, the organisation, as agreed with the City, continued delivery of visitor and tourism marketing programmes as outlined in its original 2012/2013 business plan and budget in good faith.

Confirmation of the City’s grant funding allocation for the year was finally received in mid-September 2012 (Cape Town Tourism’s financial year is aligned with the City’s, i.e. July -June), which were reduced from the budgeted grant funding of R42 million to R36 million. In effect, this means a reduced operating budget from R48million to R39million for 2012/2013.

A new Service Level Agreement was received from the City of Cape Town on 12 October 2012. It specified that Cape Town Tourism would now be responsible for tourism marketing in conjunction with the City and no longer destination marketing – a role that will now be managed internally by the City of Cape Town as part of its Place Marketing directorate.

Due to the delay in confirmation of the City’s grant funding for the year, revising operating budgets and concluding a new SLA, Cape Town Tourism will be unable to deliver on its full marketing plan and is at risk of a qualified audit due to its going concern status. Due to the budget and mandate changes some of our future plans will also be affected. The City will address the industry on its new structure, proposed place marketing activities and future partnership with Cape Town Tourism at the AGM.

Cape Town Tourism is committed to a continued positive partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Board is working with the City leadership to resolve the impact of these changes on the organisation and the tourism industry in the short term whilst negotiating a new long term agreement between the City and Cape Town Tourism. We wish to remind you that all guests are required to register for the AGM to ensure an enjoyable experience for all attendees. If you are unsure of the status of your registration for the AGM, this can be confirmed via e-mail to agm@capetown.travel.

The AGM will be an opportunity for Cape Town Tourism to share successes of the past year, unpack the revised budget, discuss the implications thereof and share the best strategy to mitigate the risks associated with the reduction in funding. Please send through any questions or comments that you might have on the matter to elana@capetown.travel in order for us to address it.”

Poor marketing of Cape Town by Cape Town Tourism, which we have criticised over the past two years, will soon be something of the past, the City clearly agreeing that it has not been good enough, and that Tweeting and ’100 Women 100 Wines’ competitions alone will not bring tourists to Cape Town.  We have experienced Anton Groenewald in a ‘previous life’, as a Board member of the previous section 21 Cape Town Tourism, which was bled dry financially at the end of 2003, when we as a Board resisted the call to amalgamate into a united Cape Town Tourism consisting of all Visitor Information Centres in the Cape Town metropole, thus forced to do what the City demanded.  This may be the case again if Cape Town Tourism were to resist.

The tourism industry should be concerned about this turn of events.  For seven months we have been waiting to see action from Wesgro, the new provincial Tourism marketing body, without a Tourism head and not having done anything for tourism other than a provincial stand at Indaba in May!  Of greater concern is that it was stated that it will take the next six months for the City and Cape Town Tourism to thrash out the detail of who does what in terms of their new split roles of Destination Marketing and Tourism Marketing, respectively.  Surprising was how poor the understanding was amongst Cape Town Tourism members at the AGM, those that I spoke to referring to Wesgro as the new body doing the marketing for Cape Town.  Mr Groenewald did not appear to be impressed with his provincial colleagues’ performance to date either!

Speaking to Mr Groenewald after the AGM, one senses an energy and a determination, and a charming and welcome honesty in acknowledging that there is a lot to fix at Cape Town Tourism.   He welcomes critical feedback from the industry, because that helps to reinforce his observations (he supported our criticism of the Blogger Tweet-Up impression count, proudly PR-ed by Cape Town Tourism).  He wants to move Cape Town Tourism back into its predominant role of Visitor Information Services, and specifically to make money for itself from commissions on bookings, seeing a role for the organisation of being the official accommodation supplier for all major events in Cape Town, and even to official City of Cape Town accommodation requirements, but then at a reduced commission. He blatantly shared: ‘The more they make (from accommodation booking commissions), the more we can take from them’!

The months ahead will be most interesting as we observe this development, and we will report back what we see and know.  There will be follow-up blogposts about the AGM, as we are awaiting further information, and we will meet with Mr Groenewald, and Rory Viljoen, the new Director of ‘Place Marketing’ in the new City of Cape Town TEAM, shortly.’

POSTSCRIPT 20/10: News24 has a similar take on the events at the AGM last night, its implication for the marketing of Cape Town, and in its interpretation of it being a vote of no confidence in Cape Town Tourism!

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

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

Four days ago we called for the establishment of a co-ordinated marketing body representing Cape Town and the Western Cape, given the contradictory articles written in the Cape Times by Cape Town Routes Unlimited CEO Calvyn Gilfellan and City Councillor Tony Ehrenreich.  The day after our blogpost appeared provincial Tourism Minister Alan Winde announced a surprise move for Cape Town Routes Unlimited, which will see the provincial tourism marketing body incorporated into the provincial investment and trade marketing body Wesgro from April.

Minister Winde said that the new body does not have a name yet, and it is uncertain if its name will change. Cape Town Routes Unlimited will be wound down, and the province’s tourism, trade and investment marketing will be pulled in under one roof, to ‘bring greater efficiency in these strained economic times’, said the Minister’s media release.  Minister Winde had previously announced the creation of an Economic Development Agency, a co-ordinated body of about twenty associations marketing various business aspects of the Western Cape.  The Agency will provide economic and marketing intelligence, develop an economic vision and strategy, help to attract, retain and build business, create a united brand, and will encourage ‘optimal delivery’ of the new body.  What was not revealed previously was that Wesgro is to become ‘the single economic development delivery agency of the Western Cape Government, and its official implementing agency’ from April.

Wesgro CEO Nils Flaatten motivated the incorporation of the tourism body into Wesgro as follows: “Through this move, we can combine our financial and personnel resources to drive a far more aggressive international marketing campaign with a unified brand name focused on business and tourism.  The creation of tourism marketing within Wesgro will result in greater efficiencies, economies of scale and a complete set of services”. He added that data collection will guide the organisation’s understanding of the world economy, and will guide ‘action plans and delivery’. Gilfellan assured the industry that it can expect ‘even better tourism destination marketing programmes and support’, an unfortunate overstatement of the industry’s trust in and support of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, which demise will not be missed.

A task team representing both Wesgro and Cape Town Routes Unlimited is working on the incorporation, and on repealing the Western Cape Tourism Act of 2004, which dictated the setting up of the Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO), which later became Cape Town Routes Unlimited.  The Western Cape Trade and Investment Agency Law Amendment Act of 2005 is to be expanded, to incorporate the function of tourism marketing.

Minister Winde said about the role of tourism in the Western Cape that ‘it is seen as the ugly stepsister when in fact it has the potential to be the Cinderella of our economy.  Tourism accounts for 10% of this province’s GDP, making it a very serious business. This move will allow us to give this industry the attention it deserves’.

Minister Winde would not commit to the incorporation of Cape Town Tourism into the new provincial marketing body, stating that he can only make decisions at a provincial level.  The real wasteful and duplicated marketing expenditure occurs between Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited, and it is this duplication and resultant cost that should be prioritised before Cape Town Routes Unlimited is incorporated into Wesgro.  Given that both the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape province are run by the DA, one would think that this would be a relatively easy amalgamation to achieve!

Nils Flaatten was appointed CEO of Wesgro earlier this month, having been its Acting CEO since June 2010. He has been a Rotary Exchange student, studied at the University of Stellenbosch, worked in London for Dresdner RCM Global Investors, in Jersey for Barclays Global Investors, in Hong Kong for Citigroup, in London for the Capital Markets Company, was an advisor for the provincial Minister for Development, Economics and Planning, and was the MD of the African Carbon Trust.  Ironically Cape Town Tourism’s CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold sits on the Wesgro Board, with Accelerate Cape Town CEO Guy Lundy (who is closely allied to Cape Town Tourism), and Bulelwa Ngwana, the MD of the Cape Town Partnership, all three also serving on the Cape Town Tourism Board, and others.  It will be interesting to see how Cape Town Tourism’s Mrs Helmbold reacts to the incorporation of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, but she will be out of action until the incorporation takes place, being on maternity leave.

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

One does not often see tourism bodies pointing fingers at each other, and therefore the Weekend Argus  headline ‘City must rethink its tourism strategy’, quoting SA Tourism Chief Marketing Officer Roshene Singh, was a surprise.  It may be the way in which SA Tourism hits back at Cape Town Tourism for its recent criticism that SA Tourism only focuses on wildlife and natural beauty in its marketing of the country, and not on its cities! 

Singh is critical of the city’s tourism marketing focus, which we have written about extensively in the last few months.  Singh is diplomatic enough to not name Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited, both bodies duplicating in their marketing of the city.  It is the former, however, that has the sole marketing responsibility within its R40 million budget to market Cape Town as largely a tourism destination, and that must take responsibility for the SA Tourism criticism.

Ms Singh said that Cape Town tourism authorities should ‘re-prioritise its markets and target wealthy tourists from Africa to boost its struggling sector’.  According to her, ‘big-spenders’ potential lies in Nigeria, Kenya, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  On Saturday we wrote about Cape Town Routes Unlimited having visited Angola recently for a trade show, and provincial Tourism Minister Alan Winde’s visit there in September.

Attending the Sports and Events Tourism Exchange at the Convention Centre (about which neither Cape Town Tourism nor Cape Town Routes Unlimited have sent information to the industry) last week, Miss Singh said: “Traditionally, Cape Town has depended a lot on Europe, but Europe is a continent in crisis. So, as the world’s economy is shifting from the developed world to the emerging markets, we are seeing the future growth markets being Brazil, India, China and Africa”, being all the BRICS countries with the exception of Russia, which also seems to be struggling economically.

She warned that the global recession had started in 2008, and that recovery has been slow.  Travel is a luxury within such a scenario.  The World Cup had ‘buffered’ the country economically. “But unless we have an offering that is really compelling – something people feel they have to do – they probably will not travel or will travel closer to home, or they spend their money on other things like decorating their homes”, she added.  “We feel that you have to move away from selling a bed to looking at how you are selling a total tourism experience”.

Ms Singh commented on the dichotomy of Cape Town winning top international destination awards (e.g. TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Destination Award) but that these are making no impact in bringing tourists to the city.  “…the fact that occupancies (in hotels) are down and the stats are up indicates there is a misfit in what is happening in arrivals and occupancies. We don’t know for sure what is causing this”. Tourism arrival statistics are blamed by the industry for being an unreliable indicator of tourism numbers, as cross-border visits for shopping are included in these.  Yet national Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, clings to these figures, and quotes them to prove that all is well in Tourism!

Singh added that Cape Town has a perception of being expensive, to which Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold responded by saying that Cape Town has ‘been battling the perception of being over-priced since before the start of the World Cup’, mainly due to the media quoting five-star hotel rates when doing stories on accommodation pricing. Getting her economics mixed up, she says that due to the ‘weaker’ (!) Rand and the rising ‘cost of living’ in Cape Town, ‘visitors feel the double pinch of rising costs and dwindling return on their currency – and all of this in the middle of a gloomy economic downturn’!

It is interesting that Ms Singh did not berate the two tourism bodies for marketing Cape Town outside of the city’s border, given that Minister van Schalkwyk had recently told the bodies at the FEDHASA Cape AGM to market locally, and leave international marketing to SA Tourism!  Whilst criticising Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited, it does not appear that SA Tourism is making any worthwhile contribution to solving the country’s tourism crisis, which appears to have hit Johannesburg too.  It will be interesting to see how Cape Town Tourism addresses the tourism crisis in its Marketing Plan presentation to its members next week.

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

The Sweet Service Award  goes to Manager Herman at Belthazar.  On Mother’s Day I was waiting for my son to finish seeing a movie in the Waterfront, and had a cappuccino and a sundae at the restaurant.  When I asked for the bill, the waiter said that it was on the house for Mother’s Day – a sweet surprise!

 

 

The Sour Service Award  goes to SA Tourism, for sending out a newsletter to every tourism operator the day after Indaba ended, on 9 May, referring to its “April newsletter” and writing “As we head into May, it’s an exciting time for tourism product in South Africa. INDABA is just a few days away and the Welcome Awards finalists have just been announced” .  What a poor communication example from our country’s tourism marketing body!

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

A massive dome structure has been erected on the Camps Bay High School sport field near La Med and the Glen Country Club in Clifton, which will be used as a venue today to entertain more than 1500 VIP guests, attending the World Social Security Forum at the Cape Town International Convention Center from today until Friday, reports the Weekend Argus.  The location of the ‘superdome’ is superb, and it will be a valuable tourism marketing exercise for Cape Town.

More than ’1000 leaders and administrators of social security institutions, policymakers, representatives of international organisations and social policy experts from more than 100 countries’ will attend, according to the newspaper.   President Zuma is said to also be attending.    The dome is 2000 square meters of covered space, 36 meter wide and 80 meter long, and took five days to erect.  It has glass doors on the ocean side, to offer the guests a wonderful view on to the Atlantic Ocean.

Last night the Cape Argus reported that the Superdome has not received the permission from the City of Cape Town to host the event.  A temporary land use departure is required to host an event on schoolgrounds.   An engineering certificate is also required, to show that the structure meets engineering and safety specifications.

POSTSCRIPT 3/12:  The Atlantic Sun reported yesterday that the cost of the Superdome Party is R4million.  The Western Cape Minister for Social Development, Patricia de Lille, declined to attend, saying “it’s a waste of money”.

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