“Imagine a future where Cape Town Tourism is financially independent, and we don’t have to worry about funding; where we are able to provide financial backing to the City of Cape Town to help them; and where long-standing staff members can become shareholders.”
These were the words of Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism, at its annual general meeting, which took place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Wednesday October 26.
This was the 14th annual general meeting, themed Future Forward, during which the organisation recognised the efforts made in rolling out sustainable tourism initiatives.
Mr Duminy said the sector had done well to manage challenges and should look ahead with optimism.
“Future Forward is what will drive our strategic thinking; not just in building on our sustainable tourism foundations, but in addressing inclusivity as we evolve as an industry.
“The private and public sectors have, over the past year, collaborated to produce meaningful results and, as Cape Town Tourism, we’d like to acknowledge and thank each and every industry representative for standing firm during this time and acting swiftly to ensure that our industry has a future, a bright one that is a beacon on the global stage of sustainable tourism.”
He said the biggest challenge that Cape Town Tourism faced was insecurity caused by a lack of funding. However, he said, Cape Town Tourism had signed another two-year contract with the City, so they would be able to carry out their work until then, at least.
Brett Hendricks, who presented the financial report, said Cape Town Tourism had its 14th clean audit.
He also announced that the membership fees would be increasing byn 6% next year and that the self-driven income of Cape Town Tourism had increased, which was a step in the right direction for self-sustainability.
Keynote speaker, Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, commended the ways in which tourism businesses found creative approaches to addressing the drought.
“We recognise that the people of Cape Town, and the tourism industry here, have faced a tough period, but in adversity we find new ways of doing things, and now we are a global leader in sustainable water practices in tourism and beyond. I welcome the future focus adopted by Cape Town Tourism, and most importantly, the embracing of inclusivity which is crucial for sustainability,” said Mr Hanekom.
He said Cape Town Tourism was doing a good job of putting Cape Town on the map and making it a better tourist destination.
“Cape Town keeps getting accolades, which includes most affordable destination, best growth potential, best destination in Africa by a number of agencies around the world.”
He said one of the challenges that the tourism industry in Cape Town faced was that there was an over-saturation of tourism in parts of the city, while there was so much more to offer.
“One of the things we need to work on is getting the spaces that are less popular on the map. We want a better seasonal spread, and I think we are able to achieve that in Cape Town.”
He said there were plans to improve safety on the Table Mountain trails in light of the recent attacks on hikers.
“We don’t want people to be scared when they hike. We are in the process of placing safety monitors around the country, and we want to get them on the hiking trails and blue flag beaches to make the spaces safer.”
The event also saw the presentation of the organisation’s Board Development Fund to two recipients, as well as a new initiative which seeks to award future forward thinking among tourism professionals.
The prizes were awarded to 4 Roomed Ekasi Culture, a concept based on the four-roomed homes found in the oldest townships of South Africa; and ABCD Concepts, a lifestyle marketing tourism start-up based in Khayelitsha which aims to express the experiences and interactions of people and businesses within communities through physical activity.
The Future Forward Thinking inaugural awards recognised members who have their heads turned towards the future, who are innovative and who see the opportunity in challenges presented by change.
The Future Forward Thinking award for environmental sustainability was awarded to The Spier Hotel & Wine Farm for being able to report on water consumption for delegates and guests; and to Reverie Social Table for thought-innovation and action in the restaurant space, with their comprehensive approach to environmental management.
The Future Forward Thinking for Community Benefit award winner was Uthando (Love) South Africa, an organisation which has leveraged tourism to provide direct benefits to community organisations through funding and capacity building.
They raise funds by offering tours to the community development projects it supports.
The Future Forward Thinking for Visitor Experience award went to Marine Dynamics, which works towards having guests leave with a lifelong respect for marine life and conservation.