TTW – How has been your experience as the CEO of Cape Town tourism board till now?
Enver Duminy : So far so good! It has been, and continues to be, a fast-paced and demanding role but one that I appreciate. It has been an easy transition for me, as I have a great team and great legacy, which forms a solid foundation for the change of guard. In my first 100 days I learnt a lot about myself, and understanding that I need not sprint in the first few months but rather that this is a marathon and I need to find the balance between needs wants and desires of stakeholders, while remaining focused on our current strategy.
TTW – What are the most significant achievements that you have made regarding local tourism and conservation tourism after being the CEO of Cape Town tourism board?
Enver Duminy : When I took on the role of Cape Town Tourism CEO, I committed to a process of listening for the first 100 days. I wanted to really get a sense of what the issues were and hear from the industry what they thought the most tangible solutions would be. I have now ended the 100 days but I have found that the listening has really only begun, there are so many stakeholders with valid opinions and advice. I don’t foresee any major changes to Cape Town Tourism’s strategy but I would certainly like to see more action around Responsible Tourism and ensuring that the benefits of tourism are more equally felt.
TTW: You were responsible for IT, Visitor information Centers and membership. Reducing the Visitor information Centers from 14 to 9, how do you think it has proved to be effective?
Enver Duminy : The reason for doing it was based on numbers; we were seeing the foot traffic at some of the outlets dwindle over more than two years, despite various attempts to increase the traffic. We concluded that visitors are now using our online platforms to research and book, but more so, mobile applications in-destination negates the need to engage with Visitor Information Centres in the traditional formats. We have embarked on a three year Visitor Services Strategy which extends beyond just VICs and ensures that we are when and where we are needed to provide the appropriate destination information and opportunity to connect visitors with the best local products. We are excited about our soon-to-be-launched Mobile Visitor Information Centres, which will be able to be where the action is; at events, at tourism hotspots and wherever visitor support may be needed.
TTW: With every kind of tourists visiting Cape Town, how do you think the negative social and cultural impacts can be reduced?
Enver Duminy : As mentioned, Responsible Tourism is a big part of our tourism focus and we are constantly educating the tourism sector about the choices they can help their guests make. In particular, we encourage visitors to consider tour operators that are invested and respected in the communities they bring tours to. This is exceptionally important as many people in Cape Town’s disadvantaged communities rely on visitors engaging with them while ensuring that they stimulate economic growth directly by purchasing unique hand-made products and services. It’s also important to us that experiences of places like Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain, Langa and Gugulethu are authentic and not experienced through a tour bus window.
TTW: Safety is a major concern for all. How Cape Town caters to the same?
Enver Duminy : A great deal of focus is put on Cape Town’s safety for visitors with year-round programmes focusing on the prevention of incidents through joint community, stakeholder and enforcement efforts, use of technology and in the training of hospitality stakeholders and their staff. As with all international urban centres, petty crime can occur in Cape Town so residents and visitors are urged to always use common sense when out and about. Cape Town Tourism and the industry also have reactive programmes like our Band-Aid plan, where the industry supports any visitors affected by any type of crime with remedial support, from assistance with travel arrangements to passport replacement; however, we don’t provide any monetary support.
TTW: Cape Town has retained its place as one of the promising Business destination. How is it working to keep up its name?
Enver Duminy : Cape Town continues to be top of mind in 2014 with our year as World Design Capital and as we celebrate Twenty Years of Democracy. We continue to develop an interesting mix of natural appeal and urban evolution – whilst our popularity as a business destination also continues to grow.
TTW: Green tourism or eco-tourism is a popular theme all across the globe. What’s Cape Town’s take on the same?
Enver Duminy : Capetonians are very aware and very protective of the natural assets that surround them. As the demand for green and responsible tourism grows so does the offering; Cape Town was in fact the first city to develop a Responsible Tourism charter and is now piloting a number of energy saving projects and social development initiatives. The key factor is that the partnership between the public and private sector has to drive this.
TTW: ‘100 days to listen and to learn from others’ – how did you find the response? How important you think it is to involve the local people and their opinion in the improvement of a region’s tourism?
Enver Duminy : As I mentioned before it’s essential, and there are many more voices that need to be heard. What I have found is that having a tourism business (or any business for that matter) is extremely hard work and the smaller guys are constantly battling to add value in the face of rising costs. It is essential that we involve as many stakeholders and voices as possible but it’s equally important that this leads to action and doesn’t get stuck in conversation only.
TTW: Table Mountain is a special attraction for the international tourists. For someone visiting Cape Town for a business trip, what are the other major places that should be visited according to you?
Enver Duminy : The big six are a must-see, of course: Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, the V&A Waterfront, the Constantia Valley, Cape Point and Robben Island but there are extraordinary experiences elsewhere too; from sitting on the Camps Bay strip with a cocktail to soaking up the street culture of Woodstock. A day in the Winelands is another popular one and to me it’s essential to get a taste of township life with a tour or lunch at somewhere like Mzoli’s. We also have other unique experiences like the Southern Line Rail Route, which allows visitors to hop-on-hop-off using our passenger rail service. It is like the internationally recognized City Sightseeing Tours, with the only difference being that it is a train and not a bus or boat.
TTW: There has been some major shift in the strategy of tourism marketing and social media plays a remarkable role. How is the response on the social media interactive pages of Cape Town tourism?
Enver Duminy : It has been fantastic, and it really generated quite a clutch of local and international awards. As it stands our channels continue to grow and our content is being aggregated through various platforms. We have come to a point of needing to curate some of the public content we are receiving now, so we have dedicated a space on our website to collating #lovecapetown messages www.capetown.travel/lovecapetown, and I think that social media will continue to drive global conversations about Cape Town. We are looking forward to developing our YouTube channel too.
TTW: What areas of tourism sector are still left for development? How different do you think Cape Town’s tourism would be different six months from now?
Enver Duminy : I don’t think we should be looking at the short term so much as planning a much more inclusive and long term strategy. Certainly in the short term we need to continue to refine our offering as sometimes it’s hard for people to conceptualise Cape Town because it’s so diverse. I would also like to think that this year will see a new focus on the urban offering with World Design Capital 2014 turning the spotlight on our innovation, creativity and design.
TTW: Travel and Tour World wishes all the people of Cape Town a very happy and prosperous new year. Do you have any message for our readers?
Enver Duminy : Well first of all – we are here! So call us, check in with us online and follow us on social media to keep up to date with all the exciting things Cape Town has to offer. Globally we are renowned for what our destination continues to inspire in visitors, and they always leave changed in a positive manner, don’t just take my word for it, come to see for yourself and experience a Cape Town where you can follow the first freedom steps of our Father of the Nation, Nelson Mandela. We would like to wish everyone a very safe and enjoyable season; avoid rushing through it and treasure the times with family and friends or just in a quiet spot in nature as we move gently into 2014 and a promising new year.