February update from the CEO
By now I am sure you are well into the swing of the New Year and I trust that you are ready for a great 2010.
I am amazed at how quickly time is flying! I am settling into motherhood and enjoying the time with my precious princess. Thank you again for all the well wishes, gifts and messages, we appreciate it so much. I am getting ready slowly but surely to return to work part time in March and full time in April. Motherhood is an incredible experience, but also very humbling at times. I now understand just how easy it is to lose touch with oneself along the way and realise the importance of being gentler with myself and honest and open to advice and help – no need to try and be a supermom!
I am very proud of the work done by Team Cape Town Tourism in my absence and commend them for their excellent leadership, initiative and the passion with which they tackle each opportunity and challenge.
I thought I would add my two cents to the 2010 pricing debate – just to kick-start my brain into life again…
I commend the formulation of the Code of Responsible Pricing for Cape Town. This has put months of discussion, debate and strategy into tangible action. It also illustrates the power of partnership within Cape Town’s tourism sector and I am convinced that a significant difference will be made in protecting Cape Town’s image as a value-for-money destination. The emergence of more “value-for-money seekers” was a key trend highlighted in my ITB 2009 report. Rolf Freitag of IPK International offered valuable advice in his Travel Trends Report presented at the event. Much emphasis was placed on the importance of a world-wide price offensive. Like it or not, price remains the number one factor for most travellers in determining which destination and which place to stay or activity they choose next. This is of particular relevance now as the world slowly and very painfully emerges from a recession.
Whilst we certainly do not want to portray Cape Town as a cheap city, we know just how tough the competition is and how important it is to be innovative and creative when seducing our customers. We have a lot to offer: unspoilt natural surroundings, unparalleled scenic beauty, a colourful culture, cosmopolitan living and excellent tourism infrastructure. But this is not enough to make us stand out from the crowd of equally enticing destinations. We must improve our offer with value-add propositions and fight to maintain our edge as one of the world’s most authentic and best value-for-money cities.
As always, there are only a few culprits that believe that when demand exceeds supply it is a valid enough reason to hike up prices irresponsibly. The majority of players understand the dangers of this short-sighted action, but along with the destination as a whole, suffer the consequences of the minority’s foolishness. We have taken a hard stance on this debate and refuse to compromise. Cape Town must offer fans and visitors an exceptional and excellent value experience, no matter what. The legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ depends upon this. This is also in line with our commitment to be a destination that values and promotes its position with regard to taking care of people, the planet and sustainable profit to the greater community.
We only fool ourselves if we think we can get away with charging visitors more than what is fair and reasonable. The price we will pay for years afterwards is just not worth it. I call on all establishments and tourism players to sign up to the code and commit yourselves to a responsible Cape Town. Let us use the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ as an opportunity to offer even greater value experiences that will win over the hearts of the world to our city and her beautiful people. Let us do the unexpected.