The Simon’s Town Business Association held a quarterly networking meeting on Thursday, 27 August 2015 at the False Bay Yacht Club. The guest speaker was David Henwood from Cape Town Tourism, and the topic was “Why Cape Town Tourism needs Simon’s Town, and vice-versa. These are the minutes:
1. UPDATE ON SBA SUCCESSES: Keith, Chair of the SBA, briefly highlighted some of the SBA’s successes. These included the publication of the Simon’s Town Map; the monthly Just Nuisance Market which was now being independently run; the annual Music Festival; the MACH1 Security Guard and the additional Law Enforcement Officer provided through the Ward Councillor. Keith encouraged all businesses, including guest houses, to contribute towards security in the Town as this is of benefit every business, and the more financial contributions received, the more comprehensive the security could become.
2. INTRODUCTIONS OF ALL PRESENT: Liesel invited all present to introduce themselves and their businesses, and to highlight briefly why they believed people, local and international, should come to experience Simon’s Town.
3. DISCUSSION WITH DAVID HENWOOD:
David initiated a discussion as to what “Simon’s Town as a Destination” might mean: A place where visitors could base themselves and from there have multiple varied experiences, both in Simon’s Town and the vicinity.
David explained that Cape Town Tourism (CTT) was essentially a marketing agency appointed by the City of Cape Town to promote the City. CTT had limited funding, but could provide advice with designing and producing a Simon’s Town brochure. He explained that Simon’s Town did feature on the CTT web site, and received hundreds of thousands of hits. It was suggested that we needed a brand name for the coastline from Muizenberg to Simon’s Town – (such as “wild coast”). David agreed to investigate what had happened to the old Simon’s Town brochure that the City had had.
Frequently in the discussion the issue of traffic congestion which was discouraging visitors was raised. This was not something that CTT could influence in any way. Suggestions to get around this included putting in cycling lanes and tracks, improving the train service, and getting the Red Bus to come through Simon’s Town.
David explained that CTT was trying to get more people to Cape Town all year round and had a “Hallo Weekend” programme of a major event each weekend (156) of the year. He emphasised the importance of using social media, and of putting the visitor first in all promotional material.
Simon’s Town businesses expressed their disappointment with respect to the CTT office here. The feeling was that although the people manning it were pleasant and welcoming, the building was not, parking was difficult, and the people did not have the local knowledge and familiarity with Simon’s Town that was needed. David responded that he was carrying out audits of the Visitor Information Centres (VIC), and had closed down several – a world-wide trend. However, he said that the Simon’s Town VIC would never be closed. He was open to exploring better premises, to a possible public/private partnership (as was becoming a trend overseas), and to initiating a process of better training the staff in Simon’s Town. He emphasised that CTT appreciated receiving feedback and would welcome the SBA working with CTT to improve the service being offered.
CTT was planning a Social Media Training Session on the 8-9 October and he would send information about it to the SBA once details were finalised. David described two new Apps onto which he is putting members’ information. He believed that all marketing should be a combination of physical interaction/ apps / and a good web site.
Derek reminded all of the Simonstown.com web site which was very popular. Arne showed the Simon’s Town flag he had designed and which he suggested should be bought and displayed by all as part of branding Simon’s Town.
Liesel thanked David and all present for the discussion and invited people to move to the Yacht Club bar to continue an informal discussion.