November update from the CEO

I am sure that by now you are well into the start of season and I trust business is looking promising for the months ahead.

Some of you might know that I am expecting a baby girl, due at the end of November. I will be on maternity leave from November 13, returning to work on April 1, 2010. Cape Town Tourism will be in capable hands in my absence. Belinda van Niekerk, Executive Manager: Finance and Corporate Services, will be Acting CEO, supported by Lianne Burton, Executive Manager: Marketing.

As I embark on the incredible adventure of motherhood, the Mother City is on the brink of an equally exciting time. We are getting ready to welcome the world for the biggest event ever hosted on the African continent. The eyes of the world will be on Cape Town on December 4 as we host the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ Final Draw. This is our moment to shine and Cape Town Tourism has been hard at work with the host city to make sure we offer the warmest welcome to the FIFA family, teams, visitors and the thousands of international media people who will descend on our city.

It is perhaps not the ideal time to have a baby, but some things in life cannot be pre-planned… What we have been planning well is to be able to host the best ever World Cup in the most beautiful host city. While we face many challenges, we know that the World Cup is our city’s and country’s great opportunity and we must use the event as a springboard for sustainable long-term growth and the marketing of Cape Town.

With this is mind, Cape Town Tourism has approached 2009 and 2010 by putting the customer and the citizen at the centre of our marketing. We have identified four strategic priorities:

  • Hosting a successful 2010 FIFA World Cup;
  • Realising the longer-term marketing legacy from the World Cup;
  • Positioning Cape Town as a year-round destination; and
  • “Cape Town at Large” (unlocking its full potential and spreading the benefits).

The first priority is to host a successful 2010 FIFA World Cup™ with our partners, inspiring citizens to be the most colourful, welcoming and remarkable hosts the world has ever experienced.

We launched a Citizen Activation Campaign on June 11, 2009 coinciding with one year to kick-off, as well as a series of awareness and communication campaigns. We can have all the necessary infrastructure in place, but if citizens are not behind the event, it cannot deliver the kind of legacy we hope it will.

We plan to inspire three things:

  • Confidence – with the message, “Cape Town is ready to welcome the world”;
  • Excitement – with a series of “Live It! Love It! LOUDER!” activations so that local people can give expression to “their Cape Town” in their own unique way; and
  • Ownership – by making citizens and the industry the ambassadors and hosts of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.

We believe that the World Cup has the power to unite a still segregated city, inspiring ordinary citizens along with the tourism sector to be proud ambassadors of Cape Town, living and loving their city, long after the final goal has been scored.

Realising the longer-term marketing legacy from the World Cup is our second strategic priority for this year.

The 2010 marketing plan focuses on in-destination and local marketing initiatives, delivering our promises through our visitor services network, the tourism industry and the citizen. Thousands of visitors will descend upon Cape Town and millions of people will watch the World Cup from their lounges all over the world. This is our one chance to tell our story to the world… The experiences of these visitors and the stories and images of our city and people that we share with the world will determine the long-term success and legacy of hosting the Word Cup in our country.

We are focusing on PR and media with dedicated reputation management in the run up to the World Cup in our key source markets like the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and US. Dedicated support is provided to the city through a media programme for the Final Draw in December this year and the World Cup next year.

We have invested significant resources in web and e-marketing platforms, as the most cost-effective and effective marketing methods. The web, exceeded only by word of mouth, is now recognised as the most powerful and effective marketing tactic, with more than 70% of the world’s travellers using the internet to research and book their next destination.

We launched a new customer-focused website ( in December 2008, backed up by the first comprehensive e-marketing strategy for Cape Town, making full use of the latest technology and Web 2.0 tools.

A dedicated 2010 World Cup mini-site was launched on June 11, 2009 to educate, inspire and invite locals, visitors and the industry to become fans of the Beautiful Game and the most beautiful host city on earth. Within less than a month of launching a Facebook fan page for Cape Town, we got more than 45 000 fans signed up from all over the world, with one thing in common: they all live and love Cape Town.

Our new industry website ( is now live, giving members and potential members a platform to interact with Cape Town Tourism.

The use of the FIFA brand has been a controversial topic. After two years of negotiation, we developed and got permission from FIFA and the City of Cape Town to roll out a vibrant Cape Town soccer brand with a logo that can be used freely by the public, businesses and the tourism industry to proclaim their support for Cape Town as a host city without breaking any of FIFA’s rules.

Our third strategic priority is positioning Cape Town as a year-round destination. Cape Town deserves a winter brand, as strong as our summer brand, that celebrates all the remarkable winter offerings and unlocks a whole new world of experiences to the visitor. The Cape Town 365 strategy focuses on events and business tourism coupled with a strong and beautiful winter brand and campaign.

The fact that the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ is taking place in winter is an opportunity to show our gorgeous winter brand to the world, attract new markets and develop new business opportunities and experiences.

Our fourth strategic priority is Cape Town at Large. In essence this means giving people a 360-degree view of the Mother City, unlocking the less often explored corners of Cape Town and spreading the benefits as widely as possible across the city region and beyond. Legibility, or the ability to navigate and explore all corners of a city, is an important aspect in unlocking a destination’s full tourism potential.

Cape Town Tourism will work with the industry and communities to capture the unique appeal and diversity of Cape Town in a series of new maps, mini-guides and web features, inviting visitors and local people to explore beyond the well-known and obvious and discover the real Cape Town.

While we work hard to make full use of our immediate opportunity, our Vision 2020 is our guide. Our vision is that by 2020, Cape Town will be positioned as Africa’s greatest city, and one of the top 10 world cities, to visit and to live, work, study and invest in. The strategic target is to double the value of tourism to Cape Town by 2020. The purpose of this target was to focus minds on the scale of the potential for enhancing the social and economic impact of tourism and on the measures that are required to achieve such impact. 

Our window of opportunity is limited, which means we have to act now. Such a target will be achieved only through the combined and co-ordinated effort of a wide range of public and private sector partners. 

To this end, there is the need for a jointly owned tourism vision and strategy in Cape Town and an integrated programme of implementation, with strong strategic leadership. Cape Town Tourism, with the support of the City of Cape Town, has embarked on a process to bring together key partners within Cape Town under a single vision, strategy and brand for Cape Town. It is a fact that cities are the new brand leaders and Cape Town has the potential to join the ranks of top city brands around the world.

With the eyes of the world upon us, the time is ripe for Cape Town to unite under a powerful vision and brand that can guide us into the future. We will keep you informed and involved in the process, as our partners in tourism. In the meantime, let us get ready to welcome the world to Africa’s greatest city.

See you in 2010!

Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold
Cape Town Tourism

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