Media release Date Published: Oct 18, 2011 Published By: Cape Town Tourism

Cape Town Tourism’s Annual General Meeting took place last night at the Cape Town International Convention Centre and saw the introduction of an inclusive global marketing campaign for the city. The campaign encapsulates the essence of every facet of what the City has to offer, from tourism to design, business and studies to the rich diversity of people and nature.

Says CEO of Cape Town Tourism, Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, “Global best practice shows that the demand problem will be addressed if we retain most of our existing successful initiatives, but overlay them on a compelling global marketing and communications campaign, a campaign which takes Cape Town to the world in a bold and comprehensive manner.

“Such a strategy would position Cape Town as a city of the future, for the benefit of all visitors irrespective of purpose of visit, building the knowledge base and, subsequently, the demand for Cape Town. Whilst we acknowledge that Cape Town is still plagued by serious social issues, we must illustrate the determination to resolve these issues via tourism, education, service delivery, city planning and design.”

Background to the campaign

In 2008, the City of Cape Town mandated Cape Town Tourism to lead a brand positioning process for the destination, taking into consideration all aspects that make our city unique. This brand positioning was formulated in partnership with tourism members, the private sector, the City of Cape Town, non-member role players and key stakeholders such as Accelerate Cape Town, the Cape Film Commission and the newly formed EDP (Economic Development Programme). Through a lengthy consultative and creative process, the new positioning and marketing campaign for Cape Town is a comprehensive city brand encompassing citizens, tourism, business and academia. It is not about a new logo or advertising campaign, but about finding a believable, shared destination identity that frames Cape Town’s complexity.

Contextualising the campaign

The 21st century has been characterised by major upheavals and uncertainties politically, economically, environmentally and socially. Living in general has become more taxing and many feel as if the joy has been taken out of life. Similarly, in tourism, from the cost of travel to ash clouds and the lurking threat of terrorists and pirates, some of the joy has been taken out of travel. People are seeking to put the joy back into living and travelling.

The marketing strategy aims to differentiate Cape Town from other cities, and be relevant, personal and future-orientated while ensuring that the concept is flexible enough to be adapted message-wise for all stakeholders.

The marketing campaign offers inspirational Cape Town as the antidote to an uncertain and changing world - an urban elixir, if you will … take a good dose of the tonic and although we can’t promise what you will find, we can promise that you will find your better self. The tagline is, “You don’t need a holiday, you need Cape Town!”

The message incorporates more than beauty and natural assets, it tells personal stories that inspire and resonate with both locals and visitors.

Leisure tourism is Cape Town Tourism’s mandate but, anchored on the platform of liveability, the city’s proposition may be elevated to multiple audiences in an array of countries, to meet business, investment and academic objectives.

Building on the strong foundation laid and work done, the marketing and communications campaign focuses on three key areas:

  • Generating demand internationally and domestically
  • Ensuring optimal visitor dispersal and increasing spend by the establishment, and encouraging more unique and interactive visitor experiences in the destination
  • Improving the tourism industry’s capability to convert prospective business into revenue

The plan and campaign is designed to complement the city and region’s broader economic strategy and brand, and align with the mandate of the soon to be established Economic Development Partnership (EDP).

How we implement the brand campaign

Cape Town’s new campaign will be launched internationally to media and trade at the World Travel Market in London on 7 November. Cape Town Tourism will partner with international trade and media to sell Cape Town in a more compelling way, joining forces with international airlines and our local industry to put together packages to Cape Town to convert the demand into business.

In the meantime, negotiations with Discovery Channel and National Geographic have been concluded and Cape Town Tourism will launch a series of programmes with these media partners in April 2012.

A series of programmes have been agreed in collaboration with Durban, Johannesburg and South African Tourism and will showcase the liveability of our cities, generating a greater demand for South Africa among the world’s urban travellers. The programmes will be screened in all key traditional and new markets over a nine-month period, and will be amplified with vignettes, advertising, promotions on television, digital and online platforms, in-market events (like photo galleries and retail displays) and print articles. It is part of a comprehensive through-the-line campaign with these partners. Discovery Channel has also agreed to conduct a film school in Cape Town, which will provide skills and knowledge to attendees while generating footage for use by Discovery, Cape Town Tourism and the Cape Film Commission.

In terms of domestic tourism, Cape Town Tourism will continue to position Cape Town as a unique, inspiring and great value year-round destination for local travellers, especially in off-peak periods. Part of our domestic strategy is to leverage events as part of a national marketing campaign. This entails using established events like the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, the J&B Met and new lifestyle events in winter, as well as partnering with low-cost carriers and the local tourism industry to offer great value, short, city-break packages.

We are finalising a joint marketing agreement with the major low-cost airlines and consolidating our events portfolio into a compelling and marketable year-round events calendar. The focus will remain on winter to help address seasonality while growing domestic tourism.

The third key element of the strategy revolves around more authentic and interactive visitor experiences in the destination. An example includes the Fan Walk developed for the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ and using it to link sites of significance across the city through a series of interactive walks, redeveloping it into Cape Town’s Freedom Walk.

Another initiative is working with events like the Cape Town Festival of Beer to develop and market new themed routes, tours and experiences for Cape Town and surrounding regions. Not only will this disperse visitors wider across the city and beyond, providing them with new and authentic experiences, it will spread the tourism spend and create new business opportunities such as trading, street performers and public concerts.

Du Toit-Helmbold concludes, “The marketing campaign is about more than just attracting tourists. It’s about incorporating business and investment, the creative and innovation sectors and academia into one vision and direction: economic growth, job creation and inclusion to the benefit of all citizens.”

Read Du Toit-Helmbold’s full AGM speech here.


For further information, please contact Cape Town Tourism’s PR and Communication Manager Skye Grove,, +27 21 487 6800 or see

Released for Cape Town Tourism by Rabbit in a Hat Communications, Tammy White, +27 (0)21 448 9705, +27 73 202 5041,