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Say cheese: How Cape Town is SA’s marketing showroom

Jan 23 2017 13:58
Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town – A yellow shop in one of Cape Town’s trendiest streets reveals how one of the world’s top tourist destinations is becoming a showroom for the rest of South Africa.

Cape Town Tourism approached Fin24 to tell the stories of some of the city’s most innovative entrepreneurs in a bid to market the Mother City as more than just a tourism destination.

The idea led Fin24 to a cluster of food-related shops in Bree Street on weekday morning. Here, British entrepreneur Luke Williams’s Culture Club Cheese store is buzzing, but I am assured it is a quiet time of day.

That’s because the shop, which samples a massive range of unique South African cheeses, almost explodes with international accents the moment the Hop-On Hop-Off Red Tour Bus makes its routine stop.

“For a tourist to come here, they will taste a lot of different South African cheeses: cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk and stuff that you just can’t get anywhere else,” said Williams.

“What we add to the South African tourism experience is a place where people can come … and try the cheeses at the counter, they can have a platter where they are spoken through the cheeses on the platter.”

WATCH: Interview with Luke Williams

Creating a scene is important

Williams said it has been a tricky business “getting people away from the supermarket cheese and more to the small production, hand-made cheese that have been made with love and care and (where) the animals have been well looked after and fed properly”.

What has helped his business succeed has been the concept of clustering, where complementary businesses like Bacon on Bree form part of a collective aiming for a similar target market.

“I think creating a scene (or a new area) is really important, because Cape Town has got pockets of wonderful things going on,” he said. “It doesn’t have a massive CBD.

“Creating an area people want to come to is really important,” he said. “Having neighbours who bounce off you is only a good thing.”

He said entrepreneurs could emulate what we’ve done by focusing on food.

“Cape Town in particular is very good with food. It is a huge foody magnet,” he said. “People come here because of the good life, because of the good food and because of the good weather.”

WATCH: Take a cheese tour with Luke Williams

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