Cape Town Tourism AGM 2012

Live updates

18h45: Thanks all for coming, join us for refreshments!

18h31: The new Cape Town Tourism Board members are Enver Mally, Jonathan Jacobs and Craig Kensley. Read their biographies on our industry blog.

18h20: Anton Groenewald from the City of Cape Town and Ian Bartes from Cape Town Tourism will now answer questions from the audience. In summary, discussions about the roles and responsibilities of both organisations in relation to tourism marketing, destination marketing and related requirements, will be discussed during the next six months.

18h10: Anton Groenewald, executive director of tourism, events and marketing at the City of Cape Town, delivers his department's objectives for the near future. He says growing relations with Brazil, China, India and The Netherlands is high on the agenda. He adds that there have been some very successful events this year, such as the football match between Manchester United and Ajax Cape Town at Cape Town Stadium, and says there are plans for even bigger and better events.

18h08: Mariette du Toit-Helmbold concludes: "In closing, I would like to thank the Board of Cape Town Tourism for your dedication to tourism in Cape Town. I work with incredible people and want to thank and commend the Cape Town Tourism team for their hard work and passion.

"I do want to single out two special members of the Cape Town Tourism family and invite them on stage. Firstly, Ian Bartes, the outgoing chair of Cape Town Tourism, thank you for your leadership and commitment to Cape Town Tourism over the last few years. You leave behind a legacy to be incredibly proud of.

"Then I would like to wish Cathy Alberts great success as she leaves Cape Town and Cape Town Tourism for an exciting new island adventure as the new head of tourism for St Helena Island! Thank you for the wonderful work done for this city over the past years. We will miss you terribly!

"Last but not least, I would like to thank and commend everyone involved in the past weekend’s rescue operation of the capsized Miroshga in Hout Bay. It was through the combined effort of everybody that so many lives were saved. Cape Town Tourism’s Visitor Support and Band Aid programme kicked in immediately, and the feedback that we have received from the visitors supported has been very positive. In tough conditions, people pulled together and this is what being South African is all about.

"Let us stay connected with each other and the world. Let us remind ourselves that the story is the unique selling point and take great pride in knowing that our story is a remarkable one. Let us keep the customer at the centre of all our clever marketing plans, never underestimating the power of word of mouth and the authenticity of local voices. Most importantly, let us never forget that ultimately everything we do is to contribute in making Cape Town a better place to live."

18h05: Mariette du Toit-Helmbold says: "The year ahead holds much uncertainty as we co-design our future partnership with the city and agree on Cape Town Tourism’s role and responsibility within the broader place marketing agenda of the city.

"The city’s investment in tourism is critical to support the significant investment made by the private sector and to stimulate demand for the industry to convert into new business for Cape Town. Looking forward, we believe that Cape Town Tourism is the best agency to deliver visitor and tourism marketing services for Cape Town.

"We will continue rolling out our tourism marketing and visitor strategies, aimed to complement the broader economic offering of the region. We must work hard to change perceptions of Cape Town as a sleepy seaside resort, providing a platform for partners in the city and the province to collaborate in building a stronger tourism and business brand for the destination.

"We will work smarter, stay creative, continue to navigate change and will never lose sight of the fact that tourism makes a significant contribution to shaping Cape Town’s future and a better life for its citizens.

"The world is expected to witness one billion arrivals by the end of 2012. Recognised as the world’s third-largest economic sector after the automobile and banking sectors, the tourism industry really matters.

"Some elements will have to be delayed or reimagined in lieu of reduced funding and ever-changing trends, but Cape Town Tourism is single-minded in our belief that we can change the tide on shrinking demand and seasonality.

"We will embrace new technology and digital marketing trends further, push the boundaries of creativity and break some more rules on traditional tourism marketing and how we talk to visitors. We will implement more platforms for citizens and fans of Cape Town from around the world to be the storytellers and marketers of our city, connecting more would-be travellers to Cape Town. We will improve the balance between 'bricks and mortar' and digital visitor service delivery, and focus a lot more on marketing in partnership with the tourism industry."

18h00: A reminder about Cape Town Tourism's digital campaign: Send your Facebook profile to Cape Town and stand a chance of winning the trip for real -

17h55: Mariette du Toit-Helmbold adds: "Over the last couple of years, with the painfully slow recovery of the global economy and the access of so many more global citizens to electronic communication platforms, this change has accelerated and Cape Town Tourism has responded with an innovative marketing strategy that allows Cape Town to compete with the rest of the world.

"Despite prevailing uncertainty around funding and Cape Town Tourism’s future role in relation to the City’s new Tourism, Events and Marketing Directorate, the new campaign – launched at our AGM last year – and marketing programmes have been rolled out with success and gained momentum over the past year.

"Taleb Rifai, secretary-general of the World Tourism Organisation, has commended Cape Town Tourism on the role we play in positioning Cape Town as one of the world’s leading destinations. I quote: 'Key programmes over the past year, including a new, compelling marketing campaign and a concerted push into social media platforms, have positioned Cape Town Tourism at the forefront of some of the most innovative initiatives in destination marketing.'

"The National Geographic campaign went live in April this year and in an effort to ensure its continued roll-out in the light of funding uncertainties, the Board agreed to fund the campaign through Cape Town Tourism’s self-generated income.

"We have worked hard to leverage opportunities derived from Cape Town’s status as World Design Capital 2014 and home to one of the New7Wonders, and our quick response to these wins with positive PR achieved significant media interest. It has resulted in media coverage return-on-investment of R45-million for the year. In social media, we’ve built on our reputation as one of the most connected tourism organisations in the world and we have invested significantly in digital tourism marketing initiatives like the first-of-its-kind Facebook App for Cape Town launched earlier this month."

17h45: Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold says: "Our world has changed fundamentally forever, and with that people’s travel behaviour. The message is pretty simple. Adapt or become irrelevant.

"We know that whilst some of the joy has been taken out of living and travel because of political, environmental, social and financial challenges, travel remains a priority, a desperately needed respite, and in today’s fractured world, people are seeking to put the joy back into living and travelling.

"To stand out we have to be relevant and arm ourselves with the tools to navigate these challenging, but exciting times.

'The world is more connected than ever before and the internet has profoundly changed how we communicate and do business, especially in the tourism sector.

"Since the turn of the century, internet usage has increased from 304-million, or 5% of the world’s population, to 2 280-million, or almost 33% of the world’s population. More recent innovations, such as the social web and mobile technology, have meant that anybody and everybody with access to a computer is a writer, publisher, critic, social commentator – and travel agent.

"We’re using this incredible connectivity as our theme for this year’s Annual General Meeting. In many ways ‘Connect’ says all that needs to be said about what Cape Town Tourism is doing to connect Cape Town with the world and turn our inspirational city into an irresistible magnet to both the domestic and international travel markets, and one that’s loved and celebrated by its citizens.

"Just this week Cape Town was voted the second top city in the world by Condé Nast Traveler readers in their Readers' Choice Awards for 2012. Cape Town beat stiff competition in Florence, Bangkok, Vancouver and Sydney.

"Cape Town has also claimed Africa’s Top City spot in the Top Five Cities in Africa category, scoring highest for ambience and friendliness. Also under the top five is Knysna, an incredible achievement for this special Western Cape destination."

17h40: View the Board member nominations ahead of voting.

17h37: Achmat Toefy of Webber Wentzel announces talks through the 2012 resolutions, which are passed. 

17h33: Ian Bartes announces: "In closing, this is my last chairperson’s report as I come to the end of my term and it is with great sadness and pride that I step down as chairperson of this great organisation. The opportunity to serve tourism in Cape Town over the last six years has been a great privilege and honour.  It’s been tough and sometimes rough, with highs and lows, but I’m leaving with only wonderful memories, which will be cherished forever. I’ve made some great friends and I’m sure these friendships will continue. It is time to hand the baton and leadership over to somebody new. I wish the Board and the new chair the best of luck.

"I would like to thank firstly, all the board members, past and current, for their continued support and cooperation over the years. Then to Mariette, her executive team and Team Cape Town Tourism – you guys have made my stay a wonderful and memorable one. All the best for the future. May Cape Town Tourism grow from strength to strength."

17h30: Ian Bartes adds, "At the end of 2011, the city established a new directorate called Tourism, Events and Marketing under Executive Director Anton Groenewald. The Board was informed at the end of May 2012 that the new directorate would have an impact on Cape Town Tourism’s mandate, in particular its destination marketing mandate, which would be limited to tourism marketing.

"Subsequent to this notification, the Board of Cape Town Tourism has been in discussion with the city to clarify the impact on the organisation’s budget and programmes delivered. In the meantime, the organisation, as agreed with the city, adjusted its programmes, had its operating costs verified through an independent audit and continued delivery of visitor and tourism marketing programmes in good faith."

17h25: Ian Bartes, chairperson of Cape Town Tourism, says, "The last four years have seen Cape Town Tourism growing from a visitor services organisation towards a full tourism destination management and marketing service – a public-private tourism organisation of the type that exists in most major city destinations worldwide, places such as Vancouver, San Francisco, Boston, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Melbourne and Auckland."

17h20: To read more of Dr Ian Yeoman's ideas, visit his website,

17h15: Dr Ian Yeoman says destinations must keep their values, but need to offer different things to keep potential visitors interested. He mentions how 20-over-a-side cricket has made the game so much more exciting for people who don't have five days to watch a full Test match and believes destinations need to think along similar lines.

17h05: Dr Ian Yeoman, keynote speaker for the evening, says today's consumers are displaying a general unwillingness to risk the cost of "big tickets", such as long-haul holidays, due mainly to economic reasons. He is a futurologist specialising in tourism. He previously worked as the scenario planner for VisitScotland and is currently a professor of Tourism Management at Victoria University in New Zealand.

17h00: John van Rooyen, regional director of Tsogo Sun, says 45-million people visit Tsogo Sun properties across South Africa each year. The group owns several luxury hotels in Cape Town and is the proud sponsor of tonight's Cape Town Tourism AGM.

16h55: The mayor talks about the important role Cape Town Stadium is playing in hosting big events such as music concerts (Linkin Park, Lady Gaga and Red Hot Chili Peppers) and football matches, such as the successful friendly between Manchester United and Ajax Cape Town. She adds that there is a possibility the stadium will host a friendly between Bafana Bafana and Norway in the near future. She also commends Table Mountain Cableway for its excellent work in attracting visitors to the city.

16h50: Cape Town Executive Mayor Alderman Patricia de Lille says the visitor arrival target for Cape Town by 2020 is 18-million per year. She says it's important to convey the message that Cape Town is not just a leisure destination, but also a great city for business, events and more. She compliments Cape Town Tourism for its part in broadening Cape Town's offering.

16h45: Liezel van der Westhuizen, the host for the evening, welcomes everyone and reminds delegates that they are welcome to keep their cellphones on and tweet as much as they like.

16h25: Auditorium 2 at Cape Town International Convention Centre is quickly filling up as everyone takes their seats. 

16h00: Just 30 minutes until the start of the 2012 Cape Town Tourism AGM. We will be providing live coverage of the event through streaming video above. Please feel free to share your thoughts on Twitter by adding #cttagm to your tweets, which will then appear on this page.

15h30: Registration is now open, welcome to everyone attending.

14h30: One hour to go until registration opens. It's a lovely day in Cape Town and there's an energetic buzz at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.


Date: Thursday 18 October 2012
Registration opens: 15h30
AGM: 16h30 until 19h00
Refreshments: 19h00 until 21h00
Venue: Auditorium 2, Cape Town International Convention Centre
Dress code: Smart casual or business informal