APRIL 2010

 
The World Cup is less than two months away, and soccer fever is finally getting to South Africans – see our story below about the chaos on the first day of the last ticket sales phase.

The rates of the Whale Cottage guest houses have been reduced for autumn (April) and winter (May and August), allowing Whale Cottage guests to enjoy an even more affordable break-away in Camps Bay, Hermanus, Franschhoek and Plettenberg Bay.

Whale Cottage continues to embrace Social Media Marketing, and it is paying dividends in terms of traffic to its website, with a new record of 31 416 unique visitors recorded for March. The highest ever daily unique visitorship was recorded last week, on 15 April, when the WhaleTales blog reported that Carne restaurant had “admitted” to its misleading marketing. See the story below.

Whilst we have offered Social Media Marketing workshops in Cape Town, Hermanus and Plettenberg Bay to our hospitality colleagues, to spread the word about the importance of this new marketing thinking, I attended the first ever Food Bloggers’ Conference to be held in the southern hemisphere, to make sure that I am on top of blogging. Local and international speakers shared their guidelines about how to improve their blogging. Notes about the Conference can be read here.

More information about any of the stories in this newsletter can be found at www.whalecottage.com/blog.

Chris von Ulmenstein
Owner, Whale Cottage Portfolio


IN THIS MONTH'S NEWSLETTER

Accommodation star wars about to erupt!

Carne restaurant 'admits' to its misleading marketing
World Cup stadiums filled by South Africans
Plettenberg Bay has a whale
of a new Main Road

Sweet & Sour Service Awards


 

 


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Article1
 

ACCOMMODATION STAR WARS ABOUT TO ERUPT!

 

  

The accommodation industry is up in arms about the 83-page document they were sent by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, asking it to comment on the proposed new assessment criteria to be used by assessors for their annual assessments, to confirm the maintenance, upgrading or downgrading of their star allocation. Initially accommodation establishments were given only six days to comment, but the Grading Council extended its deadline for the feedback twice, to 9 and then to 27 April, due to the furore which the document has caused. It appears that assessors themselves are not happy with all the proposed changes. The final assessment criteria are meant to be announced at Indaba in Durban on 8 May, reports the Southern African Tourism Update. We trust that the Grading Council will postpone the launch of the final assessment document, given the flood of feedback which it is expected to receive from accommodation establishments country-wide.

The majority of the criteria are as before, and this should be good news to owners of accommodation establishments. However, some of the requirements are radically changed and stringent, and as they imply costs in meeting the new criteria, they are highly contentious, especially given the poor state of the economy and the precarious financial situation that many establishments find themselves in. The reaction of many establishments in seeing the criteria is that they will withdraw from the grading system, which is the opposite to what the Tourism Grading Council would be wishing to achieve. Establishments in the lower star grading bands and B&B’s may be especially tempted to withdraw from the system. New establishments will have to meet the new criteria from October onwards, while existing establishments have one year in which to comply with the new criteria.

The new assessment criteria were compiled with input from accommodation owners, as well as research which consulting firm KPMG conducted to benchmark South Africa’s grading criteria against international standards (mainly UK, New Zealand and Australia). Our evaluation of the Guest House, B&B and Country House document, which share the criteria, with the emphasis on 4-star Guest Houses, follows:

 
1.
The practicality of completing a 66 page document is questioned, meaning that the current two-hour assessment visit will double in time, given the large number of criteria to be assessed. This can only imply that the assessment fees, already around R2000 per visit, will have to increase.
 
2.
Guest house owners/hosts must live in a separate entity if they live on the property, but may not live more than a 10-minute drive away for check-ins. Breakfast must be served every day, rooms must be serviced daily, and a guest lounge and breakfast room must be available for guests’ exclusive use. All these criteria appear fair.
 
3.
All three accommodation types must meet “minimum entry requirements” before they can be assessed: public liability insurance; the safety and security of guests, which includes lockable doors and secured windows; the visual privacy of guests from the street; the booking service must be available all year round; “health and safety certificate - fire and building regulations” (the exact requirement in this regard is not clear); must be registered as a business with the provincial authority (no such registration requirement is known in the Western Cape); ”no unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, gender, citizenship, physical and mental conditions, etc”; clear and visible signage (this could be contentious, as many establishments, B&B’s in particular, wish to remain low key about their existence for security and neighbour non-intervention purposes); staff dealing with guests must be professional and courteous at all times.
 
4.
The marks awarded from the assessment are to change in determining the star grading, meaning more 4 and 5 star establishments potentially, as the mark requirement has dropped. This contradicts the previous tightening up of the percentages, as it was felt that there were too many 4 and 5 star establishments (this should be generally acceptable to establishments) :1 star 30 - 43%, 2 star 44 - 58 %, 3 star 58 - 74 %, 4 star 74 - 88 % (currently is 85 - 94 %), 5 star 88 - 100 % (currently 95 - 100%).
 
5.
The assessment allows for the establishments’ Universal Access to be evaluated at no extra charge, and for a bronze, silver, gold or platinum plaque to be awarded to establishments that cater for guests with disabilities. Establishments will not be penalised for not offering these facilities. The evaluation for the Universal Access takes up a large part of the space on the assessment questionnaire, making it feel longer and more onerous than it is if the Universal Access is not evaluated.
 
6. Some of the key requirements are the following:
 
  *
One off-street parking bay per bedroom must be offered, but can be up to 2 rooms per bay in “urban areas” (this should be what most establishments have already).
  *
Staff must be on 24 hour call as far as safety and security is concerned (this probably is in place in most establishments).
  *
Contentious is the minimum room and bathroom sizes specified, given that the current dimensions of rooms in existing establishments cannot be altered: a 4* guest establishment must have a size of at least 30 sq. meters for the bedroom, bathroom and landing. The bedroom must have at least 9 sq meters of “free floor space”, and the bathroom 2 sq. meters of such space.
  *
All 4* and 5* establishments must offer a safe fitting a “17 inch” laptop - this could be very contentious, given that most guest houses have built-in safes for valuables already. This could be a very costly requirement change to meet.
  *
All 4* and 5* establishments must have airconditioning - this is a very costly requirement change, and will create resentment amongst those establishments that do not have airconditioners, especially for B&B’s, as well as for those that do, given the punitive electricity cost increases.
  *
Each bedroom must have a “master lighting switch” at the beside, something which requires installation at building stage, so this too can cause controversy and cost
  *
Towels have to be changed every day - this is very controversial, given water shortages and punitive electricity charge increases. Bed linen must be changed every 3 days.
  *
A hot and a cold breakfast choice must be offered, and the breakfast time must be at least three hours long (this is a fair requirement).
  *
A laundry service must be offered on at least 5 days a week (this is a fair requirement).
  *
An internet service must be offered in 3*, 4* and 5 * establishments (this is a fair requirement, given guest needs, but will add to the running costs of the business).
  *
A security guard must be on duty, and CCTV cameras must be installed. This would alert guests to a security issue in South Africa, and would take away from the “home away from home” feeling, which guest houses and B&B’s offer their guests.
  *
The MOST controversial requirement is an 18-hour Reception service, from 6h00 - midnight, in 4* establishments. Guest house and B&B staff work an extremely long day, and given the recession, this is a most irrational and expensive requirement. Staff working until midnight without their own cars cannot get home if they do not live on the property, given the lack of public transport at that time of night, and cannot start working again 6 hours later.

Despite a commitment made more than 8 months ago that Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited would work together to market Cape Town and the Western Cape, and would work to avoid duplication in their marketing activities, little synergy between the two bodies is evident.Western Cape Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Minister Alan Winde has confirmed that the two bodies will not amalgamate, and that nothing will change in the relationship between them until the end of the World Cup, reports Travel News Weekly. Winde also stated that a new focus would be the closer co-operation between role-players at national, provincial and local government levels in the Western Cape. When the DA took both the province and the city in the last election, Winde stated that he would ensure that he would work to the unification of tourism at provincial and City level, and would prevent it from being vulnerable to political party changes over time.

The return of Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold from maternity leave at the beginning of this month should result in new vitality for the city tourism body. Du Toit-Helmbold is a dynamic and enthusiastic marketer. With the World Cup less than 60 days away, Du Toit-Helmbold will have a huge challenge to help fill her members’ beds, given the disappointing bookings to date.

Four food festivals will give food lovers something to look forward to this month, and will be a tourism boost to the towns in which the festivals will be taking place. The South African Cheese Festival takes place from 24 - 27 April at Bien Donne, outside Franschhoek. It offers Turophiles (cheese lovers) lots of cheese tasting, with artisan cheese makers displaying their special cheeses, as well as more standard supermarket ones at the Checkers Cheese Emporium.

Well-known entertainer Nataniel will be one of the celebrities doing a cooking demonstration, as will Soli Philander (Cape Talk), Beyers Truter (Beyerskloof), and food editors of women’s magazines. The Festival is open from 10h00 - 18h00 daily, and the entrance fee is R 110 on the weekend days and R 90 on the week days. Tickets must be bought at Computicket and Checkers, and are not available at the gate. More information: www.cheesefestival.co.za.

The Lamberts Bay Crayfish and Cultural Festival runs from 22 - 25 April, and offers crayfish at R 70, which includes salad, potatoes and a choice of two sauces. A new addition is the Music Festival. Ticket prices change per day of week, and range from R 40 - R 140. More information: www.kreeffees.com. The Riebeek Valley Olive Festival takes place for the 10th year in Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West from 30 April - 2 May. Olives are prepared and presented in numerous ways, to taste and to eat, as are the excellent wines, especially shiraz and ports (Allesverloren in particular), from the region. More information: www.riebeekvalley.info. The Prince Albert Olive Festival is only two days long, on 30 April and 1 May, and is a celebration in honour of the Prince Albert valley and what is produced from it, focusing on olives. More information www.patourism.co.za.

The Franschhoek Literary Festival takes place from 14 – 16 May, and has a bumper programme of writers and journalists discussing writing and books. More details are available on www.flf.co.za.

Over the Easter weekend the Cape was well booked for the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival in Cape Town, and the Afrikaans music and theatre festival KKNK (Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees) in Oudtshoorn. These events are estimated by Cape Town Routes Unlimited to have generated R 780 million in income for the Western Cape, reports Southern African Tourism Update. A highly successful Design Indaba was held in Cape Town in February, but its star speaker Martha Stewart flopped badly when she promoted her new Cupcake Cookery Book to an elite audience of the world’s best graphic designers! They walked out of her presentation in droves, and tweeted about it on Twitter.

March was a bad month for business, severely down on previous years, and it is evident that hospitality businesses are concerned about the winter ahead, given the impact that punitive increases in petrol, electricity, municipal rates and other municipal charges will have on consumers. The only counter to these cost increases is the decrease in interest rates by 0,5 percentage points, reducing the costs of car and bond repayments.

Article2

 

CARNE RESTAURANT ‘ADMITS’ TO ITS MISLEADING MARKETING

 

  

After more than a year of claiming that all its of its beef, lamb and game is organic, and that it comes from owner Giorgio Nava’s Karoo farm, and persisting to do so for more than two months after the Whale Cottage blog challenged this claim, Carne has finally changed the introduction to its website www.carne-sa.com, removing references to “all”, “Giorgio’s own Karoo farms” and “organically grown”, thereby doing the honourable thing! We are surprised that it has taken him so long to make the corrections.

Initially Nava refuted the WhaleTales challenge about Carne’s organic and his Karoo farm origin claims, but did admit that he bought in meat from other suppliers for quality comparison purposes. His supplier Gastro Foods also admitted that they supply non-organic and non-Karoo game to Carne. The fact that Nava did not institute legal proceedings against Whale Cottage was further proof of the false claims made. Carne was one of the 20 restaurants nominated for the Eat Out Top 10 restaurant awards. Carne stubbornly denies that it made the website changes due to the exposé.

Cape Town’s restaurants are starting to feel the hospitality winter blues, and it has claimed its first casualties too, and there could be more in what could be a poor winter for many businesses.

Portofino, which opened where The Showroom was, closed its doors 10 days ago. Owner Cormac Keane ran a model restaurant, being hands-on, paying his suppliers every Monday, and has not left any debts. All staff has been paid. Keane opened the doors close to eight months ago, a first time restaurateur who felt that he could run a restaurant on the basis of his experience as a regular restaurant customer. Soon after opening he became the best known restaurateur in Cape Town, due to an e-mail exchange between him and a customer. But it seems that it was the recession that made itself felt, and the Grand on the Beach near the Waterfront sucking guests from restaurants in Green Point, De Waterkant, as well as the city centre.
 

Main Ingredient, a supplier of interesting ingredients and wines,will move out of its Sea Point store at the end of this month. The owners John and Lynne Ford will continue to supply products from their home.
 
Masala Dosain Sea Point has closed down. 

The spate of e-mails and newspaper advertisements announcing restaurant specials is testimony to the hard times the restaurants expect for the next 6 weeks, and the uncertainty restaurants have about what to expect for the 30 day World Cup period from 11 June to 11 July.

The following restaurants have announced autumn and winter specials (see details of all specials here):

Ci Casa at Camil’s in Green Point; The Cru Cafe in the Cape Quarter; 96 Winery Road, between Stellenbosch and Somerset West; Wang Thai in theV&A Waterfront, Constantia, Somerset West, and Lagoon Beach; Mediterrea in Hermanus; Jardine on Bree Street; Sevruga in the V&A Waterfront; Backsberg between Paarl and Franschhoek; 1800 in Cape Royale Luxury Hotel in Green Point; Five Flies; Andiamo in the old Cape Quarter; Pure at Hout Bay Manor; Catherina’s at Steenberg Hotel in Tokai; Overture at Hidden Valley wine estate, Stellenbosch; Vanilla at the new Cape Quarter; and Tuscany Beach in Camps Bay.

Despite the uncertainty of the coming winter season, two restaurants have opened in Franschhoek: Burgundy has new owners Pasch du Plooy and Sainkie du Toit, and they have renamed it Dutch East, focusing on “traditional dishes and adds an eastern twist”; and Chef Mathew Gordon, owner of Haute Cabriere and French Connection, and co-owner of Cotage Fromage, has opened The Grill House on the main road.

Well-known Madame Zingara, a theatre restaurant which captured the imagination of Capetonians over the past 10 years, before it closed due to the recession early last year, is set to re-open next month, reports the Weekend Argus. Madame Zingara's Theatre of Dreams is set to be located at Century City, according to the report, and the '2010 Love Magic Tour' will commence in Cape Town, and thereafter will tour to Durban and Johannesburg. It will be interesting to see how the re-opening will affect Vaudeville, as most of the Madame Zingara staff now work at Vaudeviile.

Col’Cacchio Pizzeria is running the second Celebrity Chef series from this month onwards, for the next six months, once again linking a celebrity chef to a pizza once a month, but this time around, a country is linked to the chef as well, in honour of the World Cup. This month chef Michael Broughton of Terroir in Stellenbosch, a Top 10 restaurant, is representing Italy with his Michelangelo pizza. In May another Top 10 chef, David Higgs of Rust en Vrede in Stellenbosch, will represent Mexico with his Nacho Libre pizza. In June Jodi-Ann Pearton of The Food Design Agency, a catering company, food consultancy and cookery school in Johannesburg, represents South Africa with a Bunny Chow Calzone. Franck Dangereux, owner of The Foodbarn, and a previous Top 10 chef whilst at La Colombe, is the gourmet pizza chef in July and represents France. Chef Nicky Gibbs, from The Westcliff hotel in Johannesburg, will represent Argentina in her gourmet pizza in August. In September Top 10 chef Chantel Dartnall, who came second in the Eat Out Top 10 restaurant awards in November, of Restaurant Mosaic in Pretoria, will represent Denmark. For every gourmet pizza sold at R 95, R 5 of the price goes to the Children’s Hospital Trust, the fundraising charity of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, and to its Burns’ Unit in particular. Last year Col’Cacchio ran a similar Celebrity Chef promotion, and the R 120 000 which was raised was donated to the Hospital for the purchase of specialised surgical equipment for the new operating theatre.

Sir Elton John’s expressed a wish to eat pizza after his first concert at Kirstenbosch last month. He received an order from little-known pizzeria Ciao Amici in Bergvliet, which has renamed its most popular pizza in honour of their most famous customer ever, reports the SundayTimes.

The 16 pizzas he ordered to the value of R 1 490 were described by Sir John as the best pizza he has ever eaten, and therefore the house specialty pizza with rocket, mushrooms, peppers, salami, sun-dried tomatoes and mozarella will be renamed “Rocket Man”, according to the owner Alan Pluke.

Recent reviews written about restaurants in and around Cape Town can be read on the WhaleTales Blog – just click on the name of the restaurant: The Opal Lounge, Jardine, Crust Café, Rhubarb Room, Salt, Salt Deli, Café Max, Wild Woods, and the gourmet picnics at Warwick wine estate.

Renowned Irish-born and previously Australian-based chef Liam Tomlin has moved to Cape Town, and has opened a Chefs’ Warehouse and Cookery School on New Church Street, Gardens.

Tomlin’s chefs’ school and warehouse will sell every ingredient and the equipment used in the preparation of the dishes when one attends a course or an event at the chefs’ school. He is a consultant to British Airways, and also to local restaurants, La Motte’s new restaurant being one of his projects. He has worked in Dublin, London, and in Sydney, where he ran Banc, named as Sydney’s top restaurant.

Tomlin’s “Basic Techniques and Methods of Cookery” courses will commence this week, and will be held every second Saturday morning. Twenty lectures run through until 5 February 2011, and cover such topics such as sauces, plated desserts, eggs, shellfish, salads, stocks, potatoes and more. The course costs R 10 500.Local celebrity chefs will be invited as guest speakers, and the list includes Laurent Deslandes from Bizerca, Neil Jewell from Bread & Wine, Chef Bruce Robertson, Reuben Riffel of Reubens, Margot Janse of Le Quartier Francais, Topsi Venter, Pete Goffe-Wood of Wild Woods, and Malika van Reenen of Signal at the Cape Grace Hotel. Richard Corrigan of Corrigan’s in London, and also the owner of Bentley’s in London and Dublin, will be invited to run classes, as will Brett Graham of London-based Ledbury, and The Harwood Arms, the first Michelin-starred pub.

Article3

 

WORLD CUP STADIUMS FILLED BY SOUTH AFRICANS

 
  

The first day of the last phase of ticket sales for the World Cup resulted in chaos last week, with queues at sales points, one soccer fan dying of a heart attack in the queue, and the FNB system being off-line. More than 500,000 World Cup match tickets were available for sale. It appears that the ticket availability comes from a number of different sources.First, many sponsors bought blocks of tickets, as did the World Cup teams’ football associations, which they have not all been able to sell. The Cape Times quoted the Daily Mirror in reporting that 69 % of the more than 550,000 sponsors’ tickets have been returned, as they could not find takers for them. Sponsors Adidas, Coca Cola, Hyundai, Sony, Emirates, Visa and twelve others had the right to buy blocks of tickets, to give away in promotions, or to staff and clients. Similarly, 58 % of the 570,000 tickets allocated to fans of the 32 participating teams have been sold, and the balance has been returned. MATCH, the FIFA hospitality agency, had been allocated 380,000 tickets to package into VIP hospitality packages, and could only manage to sell 1,000 of these! SAA would have been used to fly the VIP guests around the country, and cancelled 45,000 seats which MATCH had booked when the number of seats booked by MATCH kept changing. MATCH is blaming the poor sales record on the world recession, and on the distance of South Africa from the participating countries.

Second, greedy and opportunistic “speculators” bought tickets, with the aim of reselling them, at a profit one would assume, and have now discovered, even though it was clearly stipulated during the purchase process, that one cannot resell them, as the ID number of the ticket purchasers are printed on the tickets. This means that sellers of tickets cannot even give them away for free!

Tickets are also for sale at branches of FNB and Shoprite Checkers. All Cape Town match tickets have been sold. FIFA’s Secretary General Jerome Valcke said in Soweto last week that the South African stadiums should be full. “We will work hard to get South Africans and international people to come to the stadiums” he said, reports Bizcommunity.com. Of the 2,2 million tickets sold to date, South Africans have bought just under 1 million (42%) tickets, followed by the United States (about 120,000), the United Kingdom (68,000), Germany (32,000), Australia (30,000) and Canada (16,000).

Prince William and Prince Harry are planning to spend 10 days in South Africa in June, and will attend the World Cup, in support of their England team, according to the Cape Argus. This will add a welcome royal touch to the world’s top sport event, which is good for marketing South Africa and the event.

Fewer than 2 % of the World Cup tickets have been sold to African countries other than South Africa, reports the Cape Times. FIFA’s goal of making the World Cup an “African World Cup” has not been met to date.Of the total of 2 million tickets sold in February, only 11,500 had been sold to other African countries. This is viewed as a “dismal” performance by Tembi Tichaawa, a researcher at the Walter Sisulu University. He blames the complicated FIFA World Cup ticket purchasing procedure for the poor sales. “Technology has failed Africans” he is reported to have said. The highest sales to African countries have been to soccer fans in Mocambique, Botswana and Kenya, at about 1 500 tickets sold in each of these countries. Poor internet connections and lack of credit card ownership are said to stand in the way of ticket purchases from Africa.

The newly built Cape Town Stadium faced its biggest test just over a week ago, when two friendly soccer matches were held, with a capacity crowd of 68,000 spectators. One of the dignitaries to attend was the German Vice Chancellor Guido Westerwelle, who was on a three-country Africa tour, reports the Cape Argus. Westerwelle said he visited the country, to build on the already strong political, economic, social and sporting relationships with South Africa. Interestingly, German TV channel ZDF did not report on his visit.Westerwelle has spoken out strongly in favour of the World Cup taking place in South Africa, in contradiction to some if his country’s soccer administrators and trainers, who have questioned FIFA’s wisdom in hosting the World Cup in this country. Says Westerwelle: “The Confederations Cup in June 2009 was a resounding successful dress rehearsal. I’m firmly convinced that we’ll see a very special World Cup. We’re glad that we can play our part in this: we have been engaged in an intensive exchange of information on the World Cup with South Africa, covering many different areas such as organisation and police co-operation.” Germany is hosting training camps for the South African Bafana Bafana team.

The City of Cape Town has spelt out its public transport plans for the soccer fans attending the World Cup in Cape Town.A combination of transport methods, including trains, buses, minibus taxis, and metered taxis will transport guests between the airport, the station, the public viewing areas, and the Cape Town Stadium, reports the Cape Times. Soccer fans with World Cup tickets will travel for free between the stadium and any one of 25 park-and-ride centres in the city, even stretching out as far as Strand, and also including UCT, Camps Bay High School, and Kronendal Primary in Hout Bay, offering 7,000 parking bays in total.

Park-and-ride centers include Century City, GrandWest Casino, Kuilsriver, Oostersee, Fish Hoek, Retreat, Brackenfell and Claremont. A shuttle bus will run from Hertzog Boulevard at the Civic Centre to the Cape Town Stadium, starting 6 hours before the match starts until 4 hours after each match on match days. On match days too, an Atlantic seaboard bus service will run from Hout Bay through Camps Bay and Sea Point, to the stadium, starting 4 hours before kick-off, until 2h00 the next morning.Throughout the 31 days of the FIFA World Cup, a shuttle bus will transport soccer fans from Cape Town International airport to Hertzog Boulevard 24 hours of the day, in intervals of 6 - 30 minutes. The cost is a reasonable R 50 per one-way trip.A further bus service will operate in the city itself, running 24 hours per day, and leaving every 10 - 30 minutes, connecting Hertzog Boulevard, Table Bay Boulevard, Heerengracht, CoenSteytler Avenue, Long and Loop Streets, Buitensingel Street, Orange Street, Buitenkant Street, Darling Street, Oswald Pirow Avenue and back to Hertzog Boulevard. This will allow soccer fans, with tickets for the stadia, or just coming to enjoy the fan park outside the City Hall, to obtain easy access to their hotels and to restaurants. Another shuttle bus route will be to Queens Beach in Sea Point, via the Waterfront, until 2h00 every morning.Trains will transport the soccer fans to public viewing areas at the Bellville Velodrome, Athlone Civic Centre, OR Tambo Sports Hall in Khayelitscha, and the Swartklip Sport Hall in Mitchell’s Plain.

The power FIFA will have over South Africa and its citizens in the next few months has been documented in an article by the Weekend Argus, with the headline “FIFA RULES”! The by-laws that host cities have had to pass and implement are draconian, and will affect every South African, and soccer fans too.The article is introduced with the views of constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos, who described FIFA as follows: “When South African won the right to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup many danced in the streets (in a manner of speaking). We did not realise that Fifa was a rather shadowy body with authoritarian tendencies. We did not realise then that Fifa fat-cat executives cared little about South Africa and its people and very much about making obscene profits while placing impossible demands on the host country. South Africans will be subject to almost draconian rules and regulations, and businesses and even the government will have to dance to the world football body’s tune. The biggest soccer event may be happening in Africa, but it is Fifa’s show. The regulations include the following:

1.

Prohibition amongst others of begging, smoking, swearing, swimming, washing pets, drinking alcoholic beverages in glass containers, advertising, parking a motor vehicle, and selling one’s wares, without a permit in ‘controlled-access sites’ and public open spaces.
 

2.
Only World Cup sponsor Budweiser’s beer may be sold inside the World Cup stadiums, but S A Breweries’ beer may be sold at fan parks (in unbranded cans, it has been reported elsewhere).
 
3. Any broadcast of the World Cup soccer matches, with the exception of in a private home, is regarded as a “public viewing event”, and would be subject to a R 50 000 special liquor licence fee plus a 2 % turnover “donation” to the National Liquor Authority for programmes against alcohol abuse, and a further 2 % turnover “donation” to the provincial Liquor Board to implement such a programme. The regulation in this regard seems contradictory, in that it was originally reported that only if one accepts an entrance fee for public viewing does an establishment require the licence, in addition to a standard liquor licence.
 
4. Ambush marketing is not allowed, and FIFA’s attorneys will be seeking to protect the rights of their sponsors, and prevent any non-sponsors from associating their brands with the World Cup.
 
5. The World Cup logo and branding, as well as that of previous World Cups, and words that relate to the World Cup, 2010, and South Africa, stand alone and in any combination, are all trade mark registered by FIFA, and cannot be used for commercial use.
 
6.
Clothing may not contain visuals or logos linked to the World Cup, nor allude to it visually.

Penalties and fines are stiff, and the kulula.com case study is a first example of FIFA’s power. The clever amendment of the advertising campaign to counter FIFA was a headline: “Not next year, not last year, but somewhere in between”.

For the first time, FIFA accommodation, ticketing and transport booking agency MATCH is getting a taste of its own medicine, with the announcement that SAA has cancelled the 45,000 seats MATCH had booked with this country’s largest airline, reports the Cape Argus. The airline announcement from Ian Cruikshank, SAA’s 2010 project leader, states that: “SAA and Match couldn’t come to an agreement on the number of seats to be provided, and the terms and conditions relating to this. The airline can no longer offer Match any special conditions for carriage on our aircraft”. SAA had offered the seats at very favourable prices. Cruikshank said SAA could not hold the ever-changing number of seats for MATCH indefinitely. SAA has announced that the cancelled MATCH seats will now be made available to the public at “affordable and competitive rates”. As the airline has confirmed that the ticket prices will drop, SAA is enhancing its image, having been criticised with the other airlines of “rip-off” pricing and price collusion.

MATCH already has egg on its face with the vast number of room nights that it has cancelled due to lack of demand for World Cup accommodation. Smaller accommodation establishments in outlying areas have been hardest hit by the MATCH cancellations.

The Grant Thornton survey about World Cup pricing, conducted on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism, shows that “most World Cup accommodation prices have increased by a reasonable amount, despite persistent concerns about profiteering, South African Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said on Friday”, says a Reuters report. The survey found that the accommodation pricing of the 2479 accommodation establishments, including hotels, guest houses, B&B’s and self-catering establishments, that participated in the survey, were charging a premium of less than 50 % on their 2010 summer rate. However, the rates premium in Gauteng, which sees Johannesburg hosting the opening and closing matches, is more than 50 % for more than two-thirds of the establishments, according to the survey. According to Cape Town Tourism, the survey results show that fewer than 20 % of accommodation establishments in the Western Cape are charging more than 50 % of their 2010 rate, reflecting this province’s call to responsible pricing. Van Schalkwyk is quoted as saying that ”The majority of accommodation establishments in South Africa are very responsible, we know that 74 percent will be charging prices during the World Cup that are very reasonable” at the news conference. The Tourism Minister said that rate increases were to be expected during major events, but warned the industry about the damaging effect exorbitant prices could have on the World Cup legacy. ”We will continue to do everything to discourage excessive premiums when these do occur. I am satisfied that by far the majority of accommodation establishments are acting responsibly and are sensitive to our warnings about price hiking and its effects” said Minister van Schalkwyk. The Minister encouraged soccer visitors “to shop around to get the best deal”.

The Tourism Minister’s “praise” of the industry was to be expected, in that the survey conducted on his Department’s behalf could not have come up with any other finding for South Africa, to save face in the face of international criticism about “price gouging”. However, praising price increases of “below 50 %” is not commendable, as the accommodation industry guideline for World Cup accommodation rates was the 2010 rate + 10 %. The ‘under 50%’ rate that lies between 11 - 49 % is equally rip-off as is that which lies over 50 %! The Gauteng accommodation industry is profiteering from the demand versus supply in Johannesburg, and it being a central point for matches at a number of stadia. One would assume that the more price compliant establishments would have been more likely to have responded to the survey, therefore skewing the results. Minister of Finance, Tourism and Economic Development in the Western Cape, Alan Winde, has threatened to name and shame the Western Cape “overnight accommodation establishments” that charge excessive rates during the World Cup, reports Eye Witness News. The Minister would be advised to check on restaurant and transport prices too, as reports of excessive pricing have also been levelled against these sectors.

Flaws in the Grant Thornton questionnaire design may also have skewed the results - read our criticism of the study questionnaire here.

Representatives of Cape-based tourism bodies as well as some commercial entities signed a declaration of fair World Cup pricing and operation last month, to maintain and protect the reputation of the Western Cape and of Cape Town. The Code of Responsible Pricing for Cape Town has been created around four core principles:

Fair Value’ means that the tourism sector will create fair and reasonable rates for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ that are linked to current seasonal rates.

Responsible Tourism’ underlies Cape Town’s commitment to be a destination that values and promotes social responsibility and environmental protection.

Sustainable Tourism’, whereby businesses will be expected to be mindful of the interests of maintaining a legacy for Cape Town beyond the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.

Consumer Protection’ against hidden costs and fees that surprise and annoy consumers.

It is interesting that MATCH, FIFA’s accommodation agency, was not invited to the Code signing ceremony, being the biggest culprit in charging “rip-off” pricing by loading the accommodation rate of its signatories with a 30 % commission. Also, despite signing the fair pricing code, none of the signatories have spoken out about MATCH’s irresponsible accommodation rates. Only Portfolio, one of the signatories, cautioned its advertisers about signing with MATCH, and that may have been out of self-interest to ensure that their advertisers receive the bookings, from which Portfolio can earn commission.

In the past few months hotel association FEDHASA CEO Brett Dungan has been on a PR-binge, setting himself up as the national spokesperson for the accommodation industry on all matters relating to accommodation and the World Cup. Four months ago Dungan started punting the www.rooms4u.travel portal, in conjunction with S A Tourism. Very quickly Carl Momberg of www.capeinfo.com discovered that Dungan was the private owner of the website, whose ownership is not declared. At that time, tourism bureaus were up in arms about the move by S A Tourism to set up an accommodation booking portal in competition with themselves, via Dungan’s website. The website now states that it is not the official website of the Department of Tourism. A Cape Times article quoting Dungan was criticised for his criticism of the accommodation industry not signing up on his website. Accommodation establishmentsall have their own websites, and advertise on powerful accommodation websites such as S A Venues, Cape Stay and SafariNow. Dungan does not disclose that his portal will earn commission from every booking taken - we see this as a conflict of interest! The portal is only 5 months old, so has no track record, and does not rank well on Google searches. The industry disagrees with his claim of “Rooms4u is the definitive South African accommodation portal”. Threatening that hotels and establishments who have not registered with his portal within 60 days “would struggle to sell their available rooms” is scaremongering and unprofessional.

Dungan also attacked the accommodation industry for supporting MATCH, an absolute turn-around. FEDHASA made sure that its members offered 80 % of their rooms at the time South Africa was bidding for the World Cup about 5 years ago. One was berated for being disloyal for not signing with MATCH at the time. Dungan regularly publicly supported MATCH, and pointed fingers at non-MATCH hotels and especially small accommodation establishments for allegedly charging “rip-off” pricing for accommodation, when it was MATCH that has been ripping off soccer fans by adding 30 % commission to accommodation prices. FEDHASA even has a MATCH director on its national board.

The travel patterns of South African tourists and businesspersons are likely to be affected during June and July, says the S A Tourism Services Association (SATSA) and tourism consultancy Grant Thornton, according to Business Report. Families in Gauteng in particular are expected to stay at home over the extra-ordinarily long close to 5-week winter school holiday, or to travel to neighbouring countries such as Namibia, Mauritius and the Seychelles, rather than to travel within South Africa, due to the cost and possible lack of availability of flights during the World Cup. SATSA’s Michael Tatalias predicts that the next summer season will see locals taking shorter breaks than before, because of their greater spend in getting out of the country during the World Cup. However, quieter local destinations away from the World Cup buzz might attract locals. The winter school holidays in all provinces are from 9 June - 13 July.

Article4
 

PLETTENBERG BAY HAS A WHALE OF A NEW MAIN ROAD

 
  

A project spread over more than 4 years to redesign the Main Road of Plettenberg Bay between the Upper Deck (at the Dolphin roundabout) to The Grand Cafe has been completed, and is a model of urban design and art, particularly as it has incorporated the most unusual urban art work in the road redesign. The highlight of the urban artwork, which is spread every 25 - 30 meters along the road, is the large whale tail at the newly constructed roundabout at The Grand Cafe.

The design for the artwork was the inspiration of Mario Bonadei, of Bonadei Architects, Cape Town based architect and urban designer, who was awarded the project by the Bitou municipality of Plettenberg Bay. His design brief was to create the best promenade in the world, integrating both sides of the street. His design did not only address the road surface and parking, but also incorporated urban and landscape art, reflecting the Garden Route and the marine wealth of Plettenberg Bay. Township residents from Plettenberg Bay were involved in the project. Stainless steel was hand-bent into cages, from which the shapes were created.

Coloured plexiglass (the strong plastic from which aeroplane windows are made) strips were incorporated into the design, to add colour. Each artwork has a base, in which a light is contained, and to which the artwork is bolted.

Whales and dolphins are an emotive topic, and Oscar-winning Best Documentary “The Cove” pulls out all the stops in appealing to viewers of its documentary about the dolphin capture and slaughter in Taija in Japan. The story starts with Ric O’Barry, who was an actor in the ‘Flipper’ TV series many years ago. When the beloved dolphin ’star’ of the series dies in his arms, in a suicide he says, he saw the light, and realised that it is cruel to keep dolphins in captivity. Dolphins are particularly sound-sensitive, and any noise in a captive environment will make dolphins kill themselves. Since he became aware of this, O’Barry became a dolphin activist. When he heard about the bottle-nose dolphins that are cornered into a cove in Taiji by means of a banging sound from fishing boats, and then captured for resale to dolphinariums and aquariums around the world, at an income of $ 150 000 each, or killed for the sale of their meat, he decided that he must get involved, despite the danger this entails. He connected with the Ocean Preservation Society, which took on his cause, and he and its leader Louie Psihoyos, who becomes the executive director of the movie, assembled a team of dedicated activists that believe in protecting dolphins. Jointly the team installed underwater cameras and sound equipment in the cove, as well as on the hillside overlooking it, in a dangerous operation, so that the torrid actions of the Japanese fishermen could be documented for the world to see. The red sea water after each killing is enough to get every cinema-goer involved.

Article5

 

SWEET & SOUR SERVICE AWARDS

 
  

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 info@whalecottage.com. Winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of the WhaleTales blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

 

The latest Sweet Service Awards winners are the following:

 

•

Gold restaurant, for its invitation to experience its Cape Malay and African Taste Safari… read more

•

Deukom, the German TV subscription service, for not increasing its rates for the next year … read more

•

Avenue Response, for coming to the rescue of their client when she was assaulted on Springbok Roadread more

•

Alexander Forbes, for their efficient handling of an insurance claim, and for reducing the excess payable ... read more

•

Bay Skincare Clinic, for making good a service problem. ... read more

•

Road Mac, for paying for the replacement of winemaker Sue McNaughton's windscreen when hit by a chip due to roadworks ... read more

•
Hermanus Office National store, for their excellent service and good-value prices of printer cartridges ... read more
•
Bellavista Country House, for hosting WhaleTales, and for their good restaurant ... read more
•
The Big Easy restaurant in Stellenbosch, who made a table available on Valentine’s Day. ... read more

•

Paarl Motors, for negotiating with Mercedes Benz for a gearbox replacement to be done at no charge … read more

 

The Sour Service Awards in the last two months went to the following:
 

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Cape Talk, for its lack of news and talk over weekends and public holidays, especially over the Easter weekend when Eugene Terreblanche was murdered ... read more

•

Multichoice, for increasing its TV subscription fees, despite continuous complaints about its repeats read more

•

City of Cape Town, for allowing the cloakrooms in the City Hall to fall into such disrepair, and for not having renovated them for decades read more

AMG Panelbeaters, for their lack of customer care in dealing with the repair of a car  read more

•

Dante Wellness, for the rudeness of co-owner Daniela in finding fault with her customers read more

•

Slow Food Market at Willowbridge, for not living up to its promise and that of the founders of Slow Food, and for allowing Tupperware to be sold there read more

The Fugard, the new theatre, for its irritating ushers who fanatically “babysit” the theatre patrons during the performances ... read more
Cape Whale Coast Direct Marketing Organisation (DMO), for threatening Whale Cottage with legal action for writing about the dissatisfaction Hermanus tourism bureau members have about the DMO ... read more
Cinema Nouveau in the V&A Waterfront, for their rudeness to customers, for selling tickets via the Refreshment counter, and for never having management on duty read more

Darling Music Experience, for hosting an event at Grootte Post wine estate, with a poor lunch and the performance of one music piece only, at an exorbitant charge read more

 
WHALE COTTAGE
FRANSCHHOEK

  
WHALE COTTAGE
HERMANUS

  

WHALE COTTAGE
PLETTENBERG BAY


      

   
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