Cape Town Tourism calls for a stronger focus on a city brand for Cape Town

October 11, 2010

“Cities are the new brands,” says Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, quoting Cities: The Destination Identity, by The Communication Group, which asserts that cities are now being defined as the “prism through which countries are viewed”.

Du Toit-Helmbold was speaking at the Cape Town Tourism Annual General Meeting (AGM), about creating a strong brand for Cape Town in the post-World Cup vacuum. International guest speaker and destination marketing expert Claes Bjerkne pointed out that Cape Town and the Western Cape offer just about everything from wine tours to safaris and marine experiences to natural beauty and that this needs to be packaged under one super-brand. Bjerkne said Cape Town would be the ideal master brand as it is one of the better-known cities of the world. Prime examples of other city brands include London, Paris, San Francisco and Beijing.

The theme for the AGM was “Imagine Cape Town in 2020” and Du Toit-Helmbold made an appeal to Cape Town’s private and public sector to find creative, innovative techniques to ensure that our tourism industry is “future fit”. Apart from the importance of building a compelling brand for Cape Town, she cited exploring new markets and investing in web, e-marketing and technology as key to achieving Cape Town Tourism’s goal of doubling the economic impact of tourism by 2020. More than 70% of travel decisions and bookings are now being made online. Cape Town Tourism is committed to playing a leadership role in ensuring that the tourism industry is geared for this shift, and as such announced that it will be the host sponsor of the third annual E-Tourism Africa Summit. Taking place for the first time ever in Cape Town, the two day online tourism and technology summit will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on October 25 and 26, 2010.

Du Toit-Helmbold also shared her vision of Cape Town in 2020: “In my mind I see a city celebrated globally as one of the top ten world cities to live, visit, study, work and invest in. Recognised as a centre of innovation and creativity, Cape Town attracts close to four million international visitors and is a favourite domestic tourism destination. As the events capital of Africa, Cape Town hosts a series of mega events, specialising in sport, the green economy, the creative sector and technology. Cape Town now sustains a healthy year-round tourism industry with many direct flights from key markets across the world. The city is clean, green and safe – recognised as one of the most liveable cities in the world.”

Feedback from the industry after the World Cup has been mixed, with some establishments reporting alarmingly low occupancy levels. Predictions for peak season are still uncertain. Balancing supply and demand and continuing to address the negative impact of seasonality remain critically important.

Du Toit-Helmbold said that events – apart from being important platforms for destination marketing and branding – are one of the most effective catalysts to counter seasonality. In partnership with the city, Cape Town Tourism is developing an events strategy for Cape Town that looks at a more strategic relationship with existing signature events and establishing or attracting key events in Cape Town’s off-peak season.

Commenting on the current debate taking place on the most effective structure for the future marketing of Cape Town, Du Toit-Helmbold stressed that the marketing of tourism must remain apolitical, driven by the private sector and supported by government. “Cape Town Tourism will not compromise our status as an industry-led association, and we remain committed to marketing Cape Town and its unique experiences to the world.”

Cape Town Tourism’s membership re-elected four members of the current Board of Directors: Pierre du Plessis, Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, Claus Tworeck and Susanne Faussner-Ringer, as well as a fifth new member, Sarah Struys from Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. The re-elections ensure continuity for Cape Town Tourism and can be seen as vote of confidence from the tourism industry for the positive work that was done by the Board during the World Cup year.


For further information, please contact Cape Town Tourism’s PR and Communication Manager Skye Grove,, +27 (0)21 487 6800 or see

Released for Cape Town Tourism by

Rabbit in a Hat Communications
Tammy White
+27 (0)21 448 9705
+27 (0)73 202 5041

blog comments powered by Disqus