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  About ScapeNotes & Help: COFFEE MUG - the casual discussion board forum for tourism in Cape Town and the Western Cape:

CAPE TOWN .........THE LOST CITY! Cape Town Tourism to disappear

Cape Town is likely to be the poorer after an historic Extraordinary General Meeting of the members of Cape Town Tourism decided with a small majority to transfer their organisation into the Cape Town Tourism Visitor Services Association, to be formed on 28 June, and to deregister Cape Town Tourism at the end of June.

Many members of Cape Town Tourism are unhappy about the decision, and feel that Cape Town Tourism received a rough deal from the DMO, in that its Board and members were under financial pressure to join the proposed Association. Despite an agreement between the DMO and Cape Town Tourism, which promised payment of a loan to Cape Town Tourism to keep it going financially, the DMO has not paid Cape Town Tourism since February, despite numerous requests, and has not even paid the monies since the Extraordinary General Meeting on 22 June. Members would have had to pay a membership fee of R 5000 to keep the organisation independent.

Sheryl Ozinsky's departure from Cape Town Tourism at the end of June, and from playing an active role in marketing Cape Town, is seen as a sad casualty of the DMO's request of Cape Town Tourism to join the Cape Town Visitor Services Association. Ozinsky has been lauded for her visionary, creative and passionate marketing of Cape Town and relationship with her members. The industry was in shock when they read that she is to leave Cape Town Tourism. Popular Membership Manager Mandi Hodgson has left Cape Town Tourism already, presumably for the same reasons as Ozinsky.

The relationship between Cape Town Tourism and the DMO had not improved since the Board of Cape Town Tourism capitulated in March, and agreed to call the Extraordinary General Meeting. It was believed that Cape Town Tourism could play a role in shaping the proposed Cape Town Visitor Services Association, and even in guiding the marketing of Cape Town, but the reality was that the Board of Cape Town Tourism, and even Ozinsky, were sidelined by the DMO, with minimal contact since March.

Cape Town Tourism has been used as the model for the proposed Cape Town Visitor Services Association, and therefore Cape Town Tourism members will not receive any greater benefits than they currently do. An e-business system is to be introduced, whereby accommodation members can add their room stock to the system, for real-time bookings by local tourism bureaus in Cape Town and through the Western Cape. Many guest houses and B & B's say they are too small to allocate rooms to such a system. It is unclear how non-accommodation members will benefit from the system. Members of Cape Town Tourism wishing to participate in the system will have to pay R 600 for training on this system.

The proposed Cape Town Visitor Services Association has been described by the DMO as "... separate and independent to the DMO...", but in reality the DMO seems to have a strong role to play in it. Seven of the twelve members of the Executive Committee have already been allocated to the DMO, with only four seats available for member representatives to be voted democratically.

For 26 years Cape Town Tourism, and Captour before it, have been highly regarded for marketing Cape Town, and for the world class quality of the visitor information centre that has been created at its offices in Burg Street. It is a shame that it has to be replaced with a brand new and untested model, and that the industry has to lose Sheryl Ozinsky as a result.

(Reprinted with permission from Whale Tales Newsletter June 2004)

Readers are invited to submit their comments below:

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George Young on Monday, June 28, 2004 - 01:19 pm: Edit Post

Just for clarification, DMO is the "Destination Marketing Organisation" that lives at www.capetourism.org. It is funded by public taxes - ie a civil service type of organisation.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jabula Lodge B&B Betty's Bay on Sunday, July 04, 2004 - 02:46 pm: Edit Post

Listing is free.
But before a user name and password is issued, it is mandatory to visit the MTN Science Centre, spend 4 hours training and pay R600 to Colour Software. With only a 3-year contract in place, one wonders of the next step.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Soekershof Walkabout on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 08:08 am: Edit Post

South Africa is more than Cape Town (alone).
Less than 2 hrs touristic driving from Cape Town is Soekershof Walkabout. How strange it may sound: first time overseas visitors experience this place as the best introduction to the South African culture.........
A visit to Soekershof Walkabout is a very personal experience; hard to describe.

The best description can be found in their brochure:

A plethora of fantastical South African history, artistic creativity and botanical
delights await the adventuresome traveler at Soekershof Walkabout.

In 2000 the Dutch couple Yvonne de Wit & Herman van Bon acquired the farm Soekershof in the historic Klaas Voogds region between Robertson and Ashton.
The farm was neglected for 24 years. The initial intend was to clean and restore the premises but fate had other ideas.

The Soekershof concept came about within a week of happy discoveries and fascinating local folklore.

First of all there was the historical weed-overgrown succulent garden which was created in 1965 by Marthinus Malherbe (pioneer of the South African cactustrade and founder of the cactus nursery next-door) and reviewed as ‘the most beautiful succulent garden in the Southern Hemisphere’ (Royal British Horticultural Society, 1971).

Secondly: Soekershof is Afrikaans for ‘Seekers Court’ and it thus seemed logical to create a landscape of mazes.

The 13870 m2 Klaas Voogds Maze incorporates a 260 m classical 5-circuit Cacti-Labyrinth.
The Klaas Voogds Maze is not a Maze in the traditional perception. This Maze is as life; you walk from one story into another. The objects towering above the hedges serve as orientating points and as a reliquary of amusing local history and fables. You are invited to fulfill a quest and earn a memorable reward.

Other Mazes on the farm include a.o. the Butterfly Maze and the indigenous Langeberg Maze; the latter one still ‘under construction’ for its unique character.

The original succulent garden has been restored and extended. Nowadays the garden consists of over 2400 different succulents including cacti and other exotics that are uniquely kept in the unprotected open air very much unlike nurseries with most of the collection under a roof or a shade-net. The garden is recognised as one of the finest collections of specimen plants worldwide. Visitors may have a peep into the wonderful world of camouflage, self defense mechanisms and survival strategies. Follow the trail and discover plants like horse’s teeth, baba-boudjies, elephant’s feet and lots more.

The Visitors Centre contains exclusive handcrafted gifts by local artists. In this tatched cottage there is also a photo-and video-presentation of the developments from April 2000 onwards.

‘Our little nursery’ sells waterwise plants with landscaping and consultancy on offer.

Other options include a Full Moon Walk and Corporate Teambuilding (for groups of at least 10 participants and only pre-booked). Group visits can be customized.

To experience Soekershof in full: take your time and relax!!!

On request light homemade meals are served (only for visitors).

The website http://soekershof.com contains a wealth of information including various accommodation details, information on other local activities and numerous links to Maze/Labyrinth and succulent related websites.

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