Wine tourism, which thrives during the cooler months, can play an important role in helping Cape Town rid itself of the “seasonal” label and become a year-round international visitor destination.
So says Grant Newton, sales and marketing manager for Groot Constantia Estate, who has been elected onto the board of Cape Town Tourism. Groot Constantia is the oldest wine farm in South Africa and one of the Big 6 tourist attractions in Cape Town.
Newton, who has been involved in the wine and hospitality industries in South Africa for the past 23 years, is passionate about tourism and destination marketing. He says that during his three-year tenure on the board of Cape Town Tourism he will be striving towards removing the whole idea of seasonality in Cape Town.
“Tourism brings with it obvious economic, environmental and socio-cultural benefits. However, there is far too much focus on a tourist ‘season’ which is unnecessary and unfounded, especially for a city in Africa where the climate is so conducive to year-round tourism. Cape Town is a seasonal destination, when you look at the numbers, but there's absolutely no need for us to have peaks and troughs throughout winter.
"We have a wonderful product, a wonderful destination, so many things to see and do and, of course, wonderful weather. We need to stop selling ourselves short. Wine tourism is a great example of an industry that thrives during the cooler months. Think red wine, hearty food, crackling fireplaces and you can understand why."
ACCELERATED WINTER CAMPAIGN
Cape Town Tourism has announced that it is planning an accelerated winter campaign for 2015, with events forming a central role in increasing and spreading visitor numbers across the calendar.
According to Newton a strategy of establishing events as a drawcard is a proven one that has been used successfully by others cities in other countries.
“Cape Town must be presented as a year-round destination. By comparison to much of the world, our winters are relatively mild. Offering ridiculous specials during the winter months does very little to enhance our image. We are already a great-value international destination thanks to the weak rand and we need to stop apologising to the world for a bit of wind and rain.
“It is important that destination marketers strengthen engagement with potential travellers through the strategic use of the internet and social media. This allows us to make information about a holiday in South Africa more accessible to potential tourists. Globally, social media has become a very powerful tool for the travel industry as more people are relying on word of mouth when planning their holidays.”