Entries tagged with “World Cup 2010”.


Mount Nelson Rudi Liebenberg BloggersOn Sunday the Sunday Times had a lengthy article, entitled ‘Food Soldiers’, about the blood, sweat, and tears that go into the preparation of ‘fine food’ and the running of good restaurants. The article concluded with a denigration of ‘frikkin’ bloggers‘ by newly renamed Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel Chef Rudi Liebenberg, quite out of character of someone who comes across as gentle and kind.

I Tweeted the last paragraph of the article, and posted it on Facebook, and an interesting discussion arose on the latter forum, threatening to become a ‘Chefs versus Bloggers’ fight. Veteran Chef Billy Gallagher fully supported Chef Rudi, writing ‘I believe you write good stuff Chris and I follow your blog which is always interesting to say the least, having spent 40 years in the hotel business. It was hotel chefs that laid the foundation. The South African chefs Association created the platform for today’s South African chefs and this 40 years ago was a hotel chefs initiative.  Many of the top 10 restaurants are on wine estates which adds a wonderful backdrop to these very talented chefs. Let’s give Rudi his opinion right or wrong‘.   Twelve Apostles Executive Director Horst Frehse also wrote in support of Chef Rudi.   Susanna Tecklenburg of Oude Wellington wrote  ‘I eat, sleep, sitting on the loo social media between cooking and running my restaurant. It sure brings in business and you meet new people all the time and guests appreciated when you comment on their posts. Read all the blogs and specially yours Chris Von Ulmenstein and value your opinion. Thanks for all your input and info all the time. With my busy lifestyle you ‘frikkin’ bloggers help us to be in touch what’s going on out there!’.  Chef Anton Bekker of Taste Restaurant was critical of the effect of MasterChef SA on diners: ‘Social media keep my restaurant afloat! I do have problem when people watch masterchef and then think they know everything. Lol. Or when a food writer comments that the hollandaise needed some more cream. … haha’. Sarie Kos Food Editor Herman Lensing was the first to react to the Facebook post, stating that all diners have the right to express an opinion, and that chefs should cook for their customers and not for critics.  Amanda Brinkmann was very vocal about the subject, saying that due to the politics in food writing, she believes in and supports ‘citizen journalism‘.  Deon Schutte clearly wrote from a chef’s perspective: ‘I think that (more…)

My CiTi Bus imagesThe City of Cape Town’s MyCiTi Bus service has received mainly praise since it was introduced in 2010, just in time for the World Cup (although not meeting its deadline for the event for its original transport plans), and has praised itself recently for how many passengers its has transported, and how it is expanding the routes.  All of a sudden it is facing a PR nightmare, which it seems inexperienced to handle!

Two months ago the MyCiTi Bus service was criticised by Professor Deon Knobel, who wrote an open letter to Mayor Patricia de Lille and to Brett HerronCity Councillor for Transport, in the Cape Times.   Professor Knobel observed how wasteful the route in Oranjezicht/Tamboerskloof as well as Camps Bay is, asking some hard-hitting questions about the costs of running the service.   In the past week, the City has had to deal with two further problems, the most recent being the most debilitating in terms of the impact of its image.  It also informed Capetonians that the bulk of staff operating the MyCiTi Bus system are not employed by the City of Cape Town, but by third party contractors: (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Durbanville Hills Rhinofields Chardonnay 2012 has been selected as one of the world’s Top 10 wines in the 2014 Chardonnay du Monde, achieving this accolade against 794 wines from forty countries.  Cellarmaster Martin Moore attributes the rolling of the barrels to the complexity and success of the wine.   He also says that he does not allow the wine to be overpowered by wood.  Minimal rain during the 2012 summer season also contributed to the wine’s success. (received via media release from De Kock Communications)

*   Düsseldorf is the new international wine capital of the world, after its successful hosting of ProWein 2014, which was attended by 48000 delegates from Sunday until yesterday.   ProWine China will be held for the second time, in Shanghai, from 12 – 14 November.

*   SAA has warned passengers to ignore any e-mails purporting to come from the airline and seeking personal and/or banking details via links, requesting passengers to delete any such e-mails.

*   Helena Rizzo from Mani in São Paulo in Brazil has been named the Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef in the (more…)

Whale CottageWe used Google Analytics to identify the top ten blogposts on our WhaleTales Blog in 2013. The most read blogposts related to restaurants, MasterChef SA Season 2, and Social Media drama.  The top 10 most read blogposts in 2013 were the following:

1.  Autumn and Winter Cape Town and Winelands Restaurant Specials 2013 tops the list of most read, achieving almost three times as many unique readers compared to the other top 10 blogposts.  In winter restaurant specials are extremely important to Capetonians, as their wallets and purses are more bare.

2.   The year started off with a Social Media explosion, when ‘Mother Superior’ Blogger Jane-Anne Hobbs attacked us on Twitter,  protecting her ‘chicks’ Michael copy-and-paste Oliver, mommy Tweeter and then occasional CEO of Cape Town Tourism Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, former political poor-spelling-grammar ‘PR’ and Communications Consultant Skye Grove at Cape Town Tourism, and Eat Out editor Abigail I-love-Giorgio-and-Luke Donnelly.  We retaliated with a blogpost (‘New Year kicks off with Twitter bullying, bashing, and blackmail’) which attracted so much attention that Hobbs must have regretted her Tweet, as all ‘sins’ of the four ‘chicks’ were laid bare! (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   A 13-series ‘5 Sterre met Reuben‘ launched on kykNET today, with Chef Reuben Riffel cooking a three course meal, paired to a wine, and chatting to a product sponsor.  The program will air on Tuesdays at 17h30.

*   The last three MasterChef SA blogposts we wrote received record viewership in September, the blog achieving a record of almost 40000 unique pageviews), according to Google Analytics. The most read blogposts were the prediction of a controversial MasterChef SA end, Ozzy Osman’s controversial elimination, and Kamini Pather’s controversial win.  The competition we ran to predict the MasterChef SA winner also featured on the top blogpost list, as did our review of La Parada on Bree, the Winter Restaurant specials, the recent restaurant openings and closures, the ‘Mickey Mouse’ training done (more…)

Whale CottageOn 28 September 2008 we posted the first blogpost on this WhaleTales blog, not knowing where this journey would be taking us.   Five years and close to 2000 blogposts later, we look back as well as forward.

Looking back 

I had set myself a goal of blogging daily, and while I question my wisdom  at times, it has kept the rhythm going, and forced me to find material to blog about. My biggest fear is that I will run out of things to blog about one day!

The statistics from Google Analytics help in casting an eye back: in the five year period we have achieved 1,4 million pageviews, with 759452 unique readers. We were a Finalist for the SA Blog Awards’ The Most Controversial Blog in 2010, and try to stay true to this accolade.  We have reached the 5th position on the amatomu.com Popular South African Blogs list.  We have been included in the 100 Great SA Travel Twitter Feeds.

Many of the most popular blogposts (more…)

Both the Bureau of Economic Research and the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) FNB Tourism Business Index reflect that the first three months of this year showed an improvement in the confidence level for the South African tourism industry. While Cape restaurants would agree, the confidence may not have been shared by the Cape accommodation industry, who still cannot see a significant improvement in their occupancy levels, and dread the early arrival of the winter season.

The Bureau of Market Research released its results for the first quarter of this year last week, and showed a 7% growth in the volume of Accommodation business, with a very positive expectation of an 11% growth rate in the second quarter – this contrasted strongly with the 16% decline reported for the last quarter of 2012. Since 2009 the Bureau had measured declining volumes of Accommodation business, the first sign of a turn around being measured in the first and third quarters of 2012, but with declines in the second and fourth quarters of the same year, demonstrating how variable the growth is and how susceptible it is to global recessionary influences.  Business confidence in the Accommodation sector increased to 52 (an index measured out of 100) in the first quarter of this year, a significant increase from 38 the quarter before. In contrast, the real estate and business services industries showed minimal business confidence growth in the same period.

The TBCSA FNB Tourism Index was introduced in 2010, and is based on a study of tourism confidence conducted quarterly by Grant Thornton. The Index is measured and compared against a score of 100 reflecting ‘normality’.  For the third consecutive reading the Tourism Business Index has exceeded the score of 100, a positive step given that most of the scores since 2010 lay below the 100 mark.  The latest index measurement is 111, just below that measured at the time our country hosted the World Cup, the highest score ever achieved, before the scores slid.  Respondents are asked to quantify their expectations for the quarter ahead, and the actual first quarter confidence score far exceeded the anticipated score of 102,5.

Grant Thornton’s Gillian Saunders said that the survey results were split, with 30% reporting strong demand and another 30% reporting it as weak. ‘Playing in different geographic markets may impact this; for instance in 2012, Asian markets saw a huge growth in tourist arrivals and businesses targeting those markets have no doubt benefited’. One hopes that Mrs Saunders is not referring to the SA Tourism statistics for China, which appear to include transit passengers!  More likely could be a geographical difference, in that Gauteng and Durban may have been more positive in the past quarter due to the AFCON Cup of Nations which took place in Johannesburg and Durban in January – February, while Cape Town missed out as a host city for the soccer event due to the City of Cape Town’s mismanagement of the bid process, and therefore Cape Town’s tourism industry may not have been as confident as a result!  Durban has hosted a number of top conferences and events, including a meeting of the BRICS country presidents, and an Indian tour operator conference.  Saunders emphasised that there is still concern about the impact of the recessionary problems of Europe.  While tourism confidence may have improved, the TBCSA CEO Mmatšatši Ramawela stated that the petrol price, cost of sales, electricity prices, municipal tariffs, and labour issues negated the confidence levels of tourism players.

Grant Thornton, the company that got the estimate of the World Cup 2010 attendance so badly wrong, is to conduct a three year study of the Cape Town tourism industry, to measure the value of its tourism industry. A 2009 survey had put a value of R17,3 billion on our City’s tourism industry, a 6% increase on the 2008 value of R16,3 billion.  The study results will become a benchmark to measure the economic value of Cape Town’s tourism industry, said Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events and Marketing Grant Pascoe. The study will use national data (read highly criticised) SA Tourism statistics and tourism surveys to measure the spend by tourists whilst in the city. Tourism businesses will be interviewed, to establish their turnover and employment figures.  One can be sceptical about the co-operation that the researchers will receive from the hospitality industry in extracting turnover figures!   Councillor Pascoe said that collecting the tourism industry information could be used to assess the infrastructure requirements for Cape Town, and could be used to motivate infrastructure upgrades to benefit the tourism industry!  One wonders how many millions the Grant Thornton Cape Town tourism study will cost, and how reliable its results will be, given the sensitive information sought!

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

On Saturday The Guardian Nigeria published an article Shopping Experience for South African Orange AFCON Visitors’, focusing on the work SA Tourism has done to get shopping malls in Confederation of Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2013 Host Cities to offer sales to make their tenants’ products attractive to the flood of African visitors expected in the country for the AFCON 2013 kick-off on Saturday. It wrote: South African Tourism has formed a partnership with VISA and hundreds of malls across the length and breadth of the country to bring fantastic special offers to all visiting AFCON fans’. The pay-off line for AFCON 2013, developed by SA Tourism, is the ‘Beat at Africa’s Feet’!

Using quotation marks (at the beginning but not at the end!), one can assume that the bulk of the content of the article came from a SA Tourism media release sent to the Nigerian newspaper. It is amusing to read what SA Tourism believes the soccer fans will be attracted to, including clothing retailers, Woolworths and Clicks, as well as international fashion brand stores such as Zara, Louis Vuitton and Gucci, and ‘IT brands like Apple and Vodacom (sic)’! Street vendors selling vegetables also receive an honourable mention, but they hardly would see any increase in business during AFCON!  Ladies fashion stores would be unlikely to attract much male soccer fan custom, if the soccer World Cup 2010 is anything to go by, which was largely attended by male soccer fans.

This is how SA Tourism romanticised the retail treats for the visiting soccer fans: “… from big, bright air-conditioned shopping malls to street vendors selling home-grown vegetables, visitors can buy anything and everything in our cities and towns, which each have landmark shopping hubs where all the major retail chains, and many others, are trading.  Goods range from imported furniture, designer clothes, kitchenware, computers, techno gadgets, audiovisual equipment, jewellery and more. Edgars, Clicks, Mr Price, Foschini, Stuttafords, Truworths and Woolworths are some of the popular retail chains in the rainbow country including top-end international stores like Zara, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and The Body Shop, and IT brands like Apple and Vodacom. There are also smaller businesses that are big on choice, personalised service and variety in everything from designer baby gear to bathroom accessories, footwear, books, kitchen gadgets, high-end computers and smart phones; including hand-crafted chocolates, diamond, gold and other precious trinkets to adorn the body with”.

Cape Town and the Western Cape will be missing out on the soccer shopping as well as tourism extravaganza, given the bungling of the bid for Cape Town as Host City by City of Cape Town Councillor Grant Pascoe, Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events and Marketing!  Ticket sales for the three week AFCON 2013 soccer schedule have been slow, due to a lack of marketing, constrained by ‘limited resources’, said the CEO of the Local Organising Committee Mvuzo Mbebe, quoted on SouthAfrica.info. Currently only two-thirds of the 500000 tickets for the tournament, to be played in Johannesburg, Rustenburg, Nelspruit, Durban, and Port Elizabeth, have been sold.  The opening match between Bafana Bafana and Cape Verde in Johannesburg on Saturday appears to be close to fully booked.  Television coverage over the three week period is expected to reach 2,3 billion viewers.

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

The City of Cape Town has not managed to sort out its problems in making the Cape Town Stadium financially viable, and an extensive public participation process is to be launched to give ratepayers and residents in the Green Point, Mouille Point and Sea Point areas in particular an opportunity to make themselves heard about the Stadium and the ‘Green Point Park’ (sic), the City not knowing its correct name! The public has until 31 March to express its concerns and respond to the choice of options proposed.

The City blames the prolonged recession, its failure to find a premium anchor tenant, and ‘restrictive zoning laws’ for the Stadium not being financially viable, and for placing a financial burden on the citizens of Cape Town.  One wonders why the City fathers did not research the future viability of the R4 billion stadium, built only for eight World Cup 2010 matches!

According to the Atlantic Sun, City of Cape Town Councillor Bev Schafer said the participation process is one of the largest ever, and will influence how the Green Point Urban Park and the Stadium will be run.   She has urged locals living in the affected areas to study what is being proposed.  The City has printed 3000 copies of the 48-page plan, and distributed them to ratepayers’ associations, libraries, and other community bodies, with five options proposed for the area:

*   The City of Cape Town operates the Cape Town Stadium, with an anchor tenant (very likely with naming rights, which may be at the cost of brand ‘Cape Town‘)

*   An independent operator operates the Stadium, with an anchor tenant (same risk of losing the ‘Cape Town‘ brand)

*   The anchor tenant is the operator too

*   The City of Cape Town operates the Stadium, without an anchor tenant, or an independent operator runs the Stadium, without an anchor tenant

*    A public/private partnership between the City and the private sector.

Mayor Patricia de Lille is quoted as saying that the public participation process is designed to find a long term sustainable solution for the Cape Town Stadium.  The Cape Town Stadium and the Green Point Urban Park generated R13 million in the 12 month period since August last year, compared to a reported cost of more than R50 million per annum.  Mayor de Lille shared the plans to increase the revenue, which include the refurbishment of the Stadium Visitor Centre; the introduction of an on-line Fan Retail Store by the end of 2013; the creation of a conference facility; more mobile food and beverage vending machines will be allowed on the 6th floor and in the external podium area; Ajax soccer club has signed a three year deal to use the Stadium for its practice sessions; the City is still negotiating with Western Province Rugby to move to the Stadium; Big Concerts is bringing big acts such as Justin Bieber and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers; and a hotel option has been expressed, as has a hospital, a sports clinic, and a sports-related education facility.  For the Green Point Urban Park it is proposed to build an eco-centre, and to open both a tearoom and a ‘green café’.  In the Business Plan Mayor de Lille writes that making the Cape Town Stadium viable will help make Cape Town the Events Capital of Africa!

City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing Grant Pascoe said that they have received four proposals for motor racing events, including Formula One,  but expressed concern and sensitivity for the residents in the area, saying that events must be spread across all of Cape Town and not just be concentrated in the Green/Mouille/Sea Point areas, and that residents in these areas have tolerated much disturbance already! ‘I don’t want to burden this area and irritate them to a point that we start (fighting) all over again’, he is quoted as saying.  The Green Point Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association has been critical of the traffic problems which were caused by the Linkin Park and Lady Gaga concerts held at the Stadium recently.

The five options sound similar but have vastly different implications from a branding perspective, and the ratepayer burden in funding the loss in operating the Stadium, but probably make little impact on the residents on the area. What is of concern is the attempt to turn the Stadium area into a late-night party area with restaurants and bars, as well as shops, creating more noise!  The building of two four-storey buildings, one to house a hotel, sport science centre or offices, and one for parking, will cause further congestion when events are hosted at the Cape Town Stadium!

Business Plan for Cape Town Stadium and Green Point Park’

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

A media conference called by Dr Laurine Platzky, Western Cape Deputy Director-General Governance & Integration and 2010 FIFA World Cup Co-ordinator, and the World Future Society of South Africa, on Monday highlighted the way forward for South Africa in the next twenty years.   The positive ethos and energy generated by the World Cup will stand South Africa in good stead to maintain its level of excellence into the future, said the speakers.

Mike Lee, Founder of the World Future Society of South Africa, focused on the legacies of the World Cup.  The Rainbow Nation-building benefit is an “historic bridge”, connecting South Africans. It is a “moment in our destiny”, and paves the path to our country’s future, he said.  He highlighted five priorities for South Africa for the period until 2030 :   1. Improve the country’s ethics and standards   2. An economy growing at 7% per annum, to “meaningfully reduce poverty and unemployment”  3.The education system must be reformed   4. The ecosystem must be rescued   5. The country must undergo an energy revolution, moving away from coal-based energy to renewable and nuclear energy.   “The World Cup has renewed our licence to dream”, Lee said.

Dr Platzky focused on the legacy of the World Cup, and this was the infrastructure improvements, she said, Cape Town Stadium having become an iconic asset of the province.   She admonished local businesses for not having embraced the event well enough in bidding for the manufacture of memorabilia and clothing, rather than letting the contracts go to the Far East.   She said that the construction and hospitality industries had been the biggest winners of the World Cup, and stated that South Africa had been cushioned from the worst ravages of the recession because of hosting the World Cup.   The event has also led to “social cohesion”, creating an exceptional memory for school children, who will remember the event for their rest of their lifetime, and who also had the opportunity to learn about 31 other participating countries in their school projects, and also about other cities and towns in South Africa.   The legacy of the World Cup is also environmental, she said, with 41 “Green Goal” projects focusing on the long-term sustainability environmentally.   These projects will be taken to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup as well. She also mentioned that South Africans should proudly take recognition for their achievements in hosting the World Cup so successfully, rather than sitting back for the international media to tell us so.

Guy Lundy is the CEO of Accelerate Cape Town, and his first observation was the good winter weather during the World Cup – 5 sunny days and only 3 rainy days on match days – proving that Cape Town should not have tourism seasonality.   He also felt that ex-South Africans should no longer have to be apologetic about their country of origin, and should be proudly calling themselves “South Africans living abroad”.   He predicted an increase in wine sales due to the World Cup, and Cape Town’s marketability as a skills outsourcing centre.    He predicted that the World Cup would improve Cape Town’s chances of winning the 2014 World Design Capital bid.   The World Cup must lead to greater job creation, he said, and South Africans must become more positive, in not always waiting for the next disaster.   He said the country had an enormous potential to improve due to the World Cup.

Merle O’Brien is the Deputy President of the World Future Society, and spoke about the World Cup “gees” creating “social cohesion”, in making a collective “we” nation and society of South Africans.   The ethos of South Africans now would be Ubuntu and Ke Nako, the human spirit that will connect locals that are no longer commercially-driven but rather spirit-driven.

In question time, Dr Platzky was challenged about the duplicity of market research which is currently taking place in Cape Town (the Western Cape Province, Cape Town Routes Unlimited, the City of Cape Town, and Cape Town Tourism), all conducting unprofessional informal research and using these results to make media announcements on the basis thereof.  She agreed that the 50 interviews done by her department at the airport last week “was a bit of a joke” (even though the “9/10 rating” became the lead front-page story of the Cape Times).  She confirmed that professional research would be conducted to establish the benefits of the World Cup for Cape Town and the Western Cape.

More details about the World Future Society of South Africa can be found at www.wfs-sa.com.

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