Readiness for 2010 World Cup & strategic plans for tourism: Western Cape Provincial Department's presentations

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Meeting Summary

The Committee received presentations from the Western Cape Department if Economic Development and Tourism, Cape Town Routes Unlimited and the Western Cape provincial government. These covered the province’s strategic plans for tourism, the marketing of Cape Town and the Western Cape, and the Province’s readiness for the 2010 World Cup respectively. Everything was being structured through the Western Cape Tourism Development Framework, a 10-year strategy for the industry in the province, and the Western Cape Tourism Development Partnership, which combined representatives of  government, labour, civil society and business. Tourism growth, compliance with quality assurance to international standards, tourism enterprise development and tourism skills development were central. Training and mentorship programmes were provided, and new entrants to the tourism industry were being encouraged through bursaries and upskilling. There were still some budget restrictions, which meant that there had been a need to scale back, and tourism was also affected by global issues. However, new markets were being identified. The reports on crime and xenophobic attacks had had an adverse effect on the number of visitors, particularly from Germany. The work on business tourism was outlined by Cape Town Routes Unlimited, and the platforms for expansion of leisure tourism were also outlined.  Western Cape Provincial Government described the infrastructure projects, noted that the long-term legacy was an important focus area, which included infrastructural, social, sporting, environmental and financial aspects, and described challenges in accommodation and transport, and the efforts to address them.
 
Members requested clarity on the ceasing of the contract between City of Cape Town and Cape Town Routes Unlimited, asked how to grow tourism during recession, asked which people and enterprises were being helped on the ground and requested the specifics. Members also asked questions about the importance of cultural tourism, partnerships to help rural areas, the post-2010 legacy in rural areas, and joint initiatives with other provinces or countries. Members expressed their concern over negative publicity and asked who was responsible for ensuring the safety of overseas tourists. They were also interested in the current status of the accommodation in the Western Cape, whether it could meet the demands of 2010, whether there had been any challenges in working with the FIFA-accreditation system, and whether reports that those in previously-disadvantaged areas were experiencing undue delays in having their accommodation licensed were true. A Member expressed her disappointment that the QE2 would be brought to Cape Town. Members also enquired what lessons had been learned from the Confederations Cup and rugby tournaments, and what was being done to promote excitement and interest in the 2010 event.

The planned presentation by the Mpumalanga Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism was postponed due to the absence of the relevant officials who could answer questions. The Committee expressed its disappointment about this and the removal of tourist functions from the provincial government to the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency. The presentation would be rearranged for another date.

Meeting report

Tourism model and readiness for 2010 World Cup: Presentation by the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (the Department)
Ms Lizzy Mathopa, Acting Director, Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, gave a presentation outlining the Department’s tourism model. This was made up of the Western Cape Tourism Development Framework (the Framework), which was a 10-year strategy for the industry in the province, and the Western Cape Tourism Development Partnership, which combined representatives of four social partners, being government, labour, civil society and business. Everything was structured through this Framework and the partnership sub-committees on growth, participation and human resource development. Two of the main areas of the Framework were tourism growth, especially at the local level, such as the development of the Cape Aghulas area, and the global competitiveness of tourism, which comprised quality assurance to internationally accepted standards and tourism safety support programmes.
 
Ms Noxolo Ntenetya, Acting Director, Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, outlined the other two main areas of the Framework, being tourism enterprise development and tourism skills development. She noted that tourism enterprise development was about increasing participation in the industry. The Department ran programmes to help people start, market, sustain and grow their small tourism businesses. A mentorship programme involved linking a relatively new business with a more established one to learn and improve. The Department also provided links between businesses and funding partners, but did not provide funding directly. She went on to say that developing tourism enterprises also involved ensuring compliance with tourism laws, including broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE), and the Department had been conducting workshops with enterprises.
 
Ms Ntenetya explained that tourism skills were being developed by attracting new entrants to the industry, for example through bursaries for students studying tourism, and by upskilling existing employees in the industry through internships.
 
Presentation by Cape Town Routes Unlimited (CTRU)
Mr David Frandsen, Executive Manager, International Marketing, CTRU, gave a presentation describing CTRU’s tourism marketing strategy from 2009 to 2014. He outlined the strategic goals of CTRU, which were to market Cape Town and the Western Cape as a premier leisure, events and business tourism destination, distributing benefits to citizens of the province, and promoting environmentally and socially responsible tourism. These were aligned to the Department’s goal “to grow and share the economy”.
 
Mr Frandsen said that there were challenges for CTRU. Budget restrictions had meant that scaling back had been necessary. Tourism was affected also by current global issues such as climate change, oil prices, the economic slowdown and the African and South African political-economic climate. He noted the opportunities arising from the 2010 World Cup. Many of the Cape Town and Western Cape target markets were  currently the 2010 markets. He tabled figures that showed that the economic slowdown was most severely affecting visitor numbers from the United Kingdom (UK) and Germany, but that other markets, such as United States of America (USA) were showing increasing numbers of arrivals to South Africa. He noted that the reporting of xenophobic attacks, especially in Germany, had an enormous negative effect on tourist numbers. Overall the destination’s performance between 2007 and 2008 showed falling arrivals of both international and domestic visitors, but increases in spend in the province, and he suggested that this may be an anomaly in the figures.
 
Mr Frandsen outlined CTRU’s work on business tourism. Cape Town was ranked number 35 globally as a preferred destination for meetings. Durban was ranked number 128 and Johannesburg was ranked number 126.  The Cape Town Convention Bureau had secured 19 conferences in the 2007/08 period, worth R250 million. CTRU also had an Events Bureau sponsoring, for example, the ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike race (worth R1 billion) and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival (worth R430 million to the Western Cape, and R680 million for South Africa as a whole). There were also platforms throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and North and South America to encourage leisure tourism and joint marketing agreements, which focused on travel out of season and on geographic spread.
 
Mr Frandsen finally said that CTRU’s marketing campaign for the 2010 World Cup was designed to fill the gaps and work with South African Tourism’s efforts. It should translate the general awareness into people actually visiting and spending time in the region. 2010 should strengthen Cape Town and the Western Cape’s position in existing markets, whilst also opening up new markets. The main platforms for this campaign were the internet and e-marketing channels, primarily because they were relatively inexpensive.
 
Presentation by the Western Cape Provincial Government
Ms Laurine Platzky, 2010 Coordinator, Western Cape Provincial Government, gave a presentation to the Committee on the province’s readiness for the 2010 World Cup. She said that the objectives for the host city of Cape Town, and supporting province of the Western Cape were to successfully host matches, but also to maximise the benefit and legacy to the public, to ensure these benefits spread to the whole province and to advertise the area as a desirable destination for investment, trade and tourism. The long-term legacy was an important focus, and could occur before, during and after the tournament. It was made up infrastructural, social, sporting, environmental and financial aspects.
 
Ms Platzky described infrastructure projects occurring in the province as a result of the World Cup. Currently 50% of accommodation was outside the Cape Town municipality boundary, which posed big challenges for the transport system. However, there had been upgrades at Cape Town airport and station, as well as for roads in the region. There was also new infrastructure in the form of the new stadium and urban park at Green Point.
 
In regard to human capacity Ms Platzky stated that the links with universities in the area were strong, and also that there had been many upgrades of security and emergency services. She said that there would be many small and medium business economic opportunities and gave examples of crafts, wine, music, and hospitality.
 
Mpumalanga Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism briefing
Ms Joyce Pakade, Chief Director, Trade and Industry, Mpumalanga Provincial Government, explained that the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA), rather than the provincial government, now had responsibility for many tourism functions. She apologised for the fact that many of the people who dealt with tourism on the ground were unable to attend. Although she herself played only an oversight role, she was willing to give the presentation on behalf of her colleagues.

All Committee members present agreed that in order for the discussion to be worthwhile it was important for the whole team of relevant people to be in attendance. They were extremely disappointed that there were no representatives from MTPA or from Mbombela, and felt that these organisations had neglected their duty.

The Chairman thanked Ms Pakade for her effort in attending the meeting, but agreed that there was a need to speak to the people who dealt with the issues on the ground. He suggested that a new date be re-arranged to deal with the presentation. He noted that the removal of the tourism functions from the provincial government meant that Ms Pakade would not be able to advise the Committee on many aspects. He stated that the Committee could call in an MEC to explain why the functions had been removed.

Discussion
Mr F Adams (ANC; Western Cape) recalled that the Committee had recently received a presentation from the City of Cape Town, who said that the funding to CTRU was not “stopped” but that there was a one year funding agreement, after which audit reports and marketing reports would be examined before a decision was made on the future of CTRU. He believed the CTRU was doing a good job. He requested clarification of the situation.

Mr Frandsen said that funding was now with Cape Town Tourism rather than CTRU. Many aspects were now being attended to by both CTRU and Cape Town Tourism, often at cross-purposes. This meant that resources for marketing were being diluted and the brand was being diluted as well, but that CTRU would continue to market Cape Town as the hook for the province. There were a few months still remaining in which CTRU would produce a new model for tourism, and this would focus on having one organisation and freeing up as much money as possible for tourism marketing.

The Chairman asked how to grow tourism in the face of a recession.

Mr Frandsen pointed out that the effect of the recession was driven by the private sector. CTRU merely aimed to facilitate whatever the private sector was capable of doing. CTRU was maintaining its presence whilst cutting back as much as possible. For example, there was no budget for leisure marketing in Germany this year, despite it being the second largest market. He said that it was crucial that marketing remained in place, so that when the recession ended a region did not continue to suffer.

Mr A Nyambi (ANC; Mpumalanga) requested more specifics about helping people on the ground. He wanted to be able to say specifically which people and enterprises were being supported. In particular he felt it was important that the mentorship programme was able to be specific about who was being mentored and what was happening.

Ms Ntenetya said that the specific figures for the Enterprise Development Programme, as well as the programmes for small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs), were available, as also details of where they were based across the whole province. She would send these to the Committee Secretary. She also agreed that there was a constant need to learn from programmes. The mentorship programme, specifically, had been running since 2004, and the Department was about to begin an evaluation of the entire tourism enterprise programme, including these mentorship aspects.

The Chairman asked about cultural tourism, especially in rural areas, and how important this was.

Ms Mathopa replied that one of the niche markets coming out of the Framework was cultural tourism. The civil society elements of the partnership were keen on looking at how to extend this into the townships. The Department would be producing a position paper on this issue.

Ms M Dikgale (ANC; Limpopo) asked about follow up on partnerships to help rural areas.

Ms Ntenetya replied that there was follow up with the agencies. There were forums of national structures and people from the Department sat on these structures and took concerns from the provinces to deal with any blockages. She also highlighted the Department’s close relationship with the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).

Mr Adams asked about the post-2010 legacy, specifically for rural areas.

Ms Ntenetya replied that all programmes went to rural areas, and gave the example of ‘Access the Cape’ working with small a community in the central Karoo. The programmes aimed to identify small communities and create awareness about tourism in as many rural areas as possible.

The Chairman asked about any joint initiatives that were being undertaken, either with other provinces or other countries.

Mr Frandsen said that CTRU had worked with Northern Cape Tourism on the Cape-Namibia route, and that there were also agreements with the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal on developing tourist routes.

Ms Platzky replied that she worked closely with the coordinator in the Northern Cape, and Kimberley had been included in the base camp options for 2010. She also worked closely with the Eastern Cape on transport from Western Cape resorts, such as George and Knysna, to Nelson Mandela Bay.

Ms Mathopa said that the Department had worked with the Northern and Eastern Capes on their tourism development model and framework. There were collaborations through the tourism gateways in Plettenberg Bay, Van Rhynsdorp and Beaufort West.

The Chairperson expressed concern over the negative publicity created overseas from reports about crime in South Africa. He asked who was responsible for ensuring the safety of overseas tourists.

Ms Mathopa replied that South Africa ranked number two as a tourism destination in Africa and Middle East, behind Mauritius. Concerns around tourist safety were the reason that it was not first-ranked. The Department had a programme on tourist safety, which issued safety tips for tourists. It had also linked up with South African Safari Tourism Association and the South African Police Service (SAPS) to be more pro-active and identify crime hotspots to minimise problems.

Mr Nyambi asked about the current status of the accommodation in the Western Cape for the World Cup, whether it would be up to the task, and what the challenges were.

Ms E Van Lingen (DA, Eastern Cape) asked whether the figure of 50% of beds being outside Cape Town referred to those registered with FIFA.

Ms Platzky replied that the 50% figure was based on what was actually available, and not on the numbers of FIFA-accredited  or MATCH-accredited accommodation only. She suggested the need to be cautiously optimistic about figures. The estimated number of visitors  was 400 000, but this would fluctuate according to which teams qualified, which teams would play in Cape Town and the impact of the recession on visitors’ travel plans.

Mr Nyambi asked about any challenges experienced in working with MATCH, the FIFA accredited company for accommodation.

Ms Platzky said that the relationship with MATCH had to do with base camps for the players, and not individual accommodation institutions. It was worth noting that this was not a time for the industry to be greedy, but rather an opportunity for investment in South Africa’s long-term profile as a value-for-money destination.

The Chairperson noted that there were some allegations that people in the historically disadvantaged areas of Cape Town who were making applications to open bed and breakfast (B&Bs) accommodation for the World Cup were facing many more delays than applicants from more advantaged areas.

Ms Van Lingen asked on what grounds the requests for B&Bs were being refused, and by whose standards, whether City of Cape Town, or FIFA.

Ms Platzky said that she had not heard reports of these allegations.

Ms Ntenetya commented that this issue may not concern applications to have accommodation registered, but rather applications to local municipalities to have property re-zoned. She would follow this up to find out more.

Ms Van Lingen expressed disappointment at the decision to bring the QE2 to Cape Town. She was very unhappy that this would disadvantage the local tourism trade in Cape Town, and that it would result in money being shipped-out of the City.

Ms Platzky replied that the Western Cape Provincial Government had not been consulted on the issue, and that the arrangement was made directly with the port authority.
 
The Chairperson asked if there had been lessons learned from South Africa hosting the Confederations Cup and rugby tournaments.

Ms Platzky confirmed that interesting lessons had been learned from debriefings with colleagues in the North who were involved with the Confederations Cup, including lessons about volunteers and transport. The most important lesson, however, was about public viewing and the weather, and consideration was now being given to some indoor options.

The Chairman wondered what could be done about building and encouraging what he termed “the 2010 vibe”.

Ms Platzky replied that the focus was on the number of days remaining. The starting points were events for staff of the Western Cape Provincial Government and this would spread to the wider population. There was also work with schools, clubs and faith-based groups.

The meeting was adjourned.

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