From the CEO: December 2011

Dear Tourism colleagues and friends

As many of us prepare for a holiday with friends and family, I am getting ready to meet my Christmas baby. I will be gone for a little longer than most of you as I am on maternity leave until May 1, 2012. In my absence, Enver Duminy, head of tourism services will be acting CEO. He will be supported by the very competent team of Velma Corcoran (head of marketing), Nzima Soci (head of finance) and Skye Grove (communications manager).

2011 has been a year of highs and lows. We have basked in the acclaim of accolades such as Table Mountain becoming one of the New7Wonders of Nature and Cape Town the World Design Capital 2014; Tripadvisor readers named us their favourite destination and BA’s passengers rated Cape Town as one of their top five destinations. We were the top destination in Africa at the World Travel Awards, where there were more nods in the right direction for our destination.

On the other hand we have endured one of the toughest years for tourism. Occupancy has been low and hotels have had to weather the storm; some tourism operators teeter on the edge of bankruptcy while others lose their fight altogether.

Cape Town Tourism has just conducted the first in a series of summer surveys, and our findings suggest there is some optimism in the air. A little more than 57% of our polled members believe that summer 2011/2012 will be better than 2010/2011. We have also seen the best airport arrival statistics for October and November in many years. If we look at feedback from our accommodation and attraction establishments we know there is an increase in visitors staying with friends and family.

Our visitors are extremely price sensitive and are looking for the best value packages across the board – whether staying in or just experiencing our city. We have not yet seen a significant rise of emerging economies reflected in Cape Town’s arrival figures, and traditional key source markets still dominate, but this will take place over time with awareness, focused marketing and special packages to Cape Town from various destinations.

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’s new destination marketing campaign was launched late this year both locally and internationally, and was met with an overwhelmingly positive response.

Internally Cape Town Tourism has had an extremely hard-working year as we conceived and rolled out our new Cape Town marketing plan with its supporting activities to the public and the trade. We have been soul-searching, and have worn our heart on our sleeve.

We know this. Cape Town is an outstanding place in which to live, work, play and study – it’s also an incredible, inspirational place to visit. There is no shortage of nostalgia about Cape Town (just read the comments of our 241 255 Facebook fans) and there is no shortage of desire to be here and experience it.

I feel confident that we have the most incredible product in the world; now it’s about converting those dreams of visiting into stories of having visited. We look forward to converting the world’s fascination with Cape Town into a tangible reality that brings a much needed economic boost to our hospitality sector in 2012.

Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold
CEO, Cape Town Tourism

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