Great ideas that go awry…

A media release arrived from CTRU this week announcing that the Cape Town & Western Cape Tourism Brand Ambassador Programme had been launched at Indaba in Durban.

“The whole idea behind our Tourism Ambassador Programme is to form a network of people who are passionate, motivated and proud of their home – Cape Town and the Western Cape. This is the kind of group that will at every opportunity project a positive image of the authentic culture and beauty of our destination and its people, enthusing others to want to visit and experience it first-hand,” says Calvyn Gilfellan, chief executive of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, the tourism destination marketing destination for Cape Town and the Western Cape.

Now that sounds great, doesn’t it? But wait till you hear who the Ambassadors are.

“The first group comprises radio personality Nigel Pierce; City of Cape Town Executive Deputy Mayor Grant Haskin; Members of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Development, Garth Strachan (chair), Ntombomzi Phenduka, Pauline Cupido, Alan Winde, Lennit Max, Johan Gelderblom, Kent Morkel and Lynne Saayman; City of Cape Town Councillors Simon Grindrod and Mansoor Mohamed; Western Cape Provincial Government 2010 Economic Legacy Coordinator, Brent Walters; members of the City of Cape Town’s 2010 team, Terral Cullen, Pieter Cronje and Lorraine Gerrans; City of Cape Town representative Nombulelo Mkefa; and Calvyn Gilfellan, Chief Executive of Cape Town Routes Unlimited.”

Most are politicians – and who believes a politician? – or local government employees who are paid to be passionate. Where is the Province’s highest profile citizen – Helen Zille? Where is Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold – arguably the highest profile tourism champion in the Province?

Where are the great role models the public will really pay attention to?

CTRU have no shortage of truly great ambassadors to choose from – David Kramer, Rashid Lombard, Pieter-Dirk Uys, Ravi Naidoo, Mark Shuttleworth, Schalk Pienaar & all the Stormers, Desmond Tutu, Gavin Rajah, Pam Golding, Natalie du Toit, Jane Raphaely, Raymond Ackerman, GT Ferreira… the list goes on and on.

These are Ambassadors who will mean far more than all the politicians and public servants in Africa. But who will want to join join CTRU’s over-politicised club?

This great idea is a dodo before it got off the ground.  Is it all about scoring political brownie points?

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