Freo's View

WHAT IS THE FOTOFREO TRUTH?

Posted in fremantle, photography by freoview on March 8, 2013

The Fremantle Herald and West Australian newspaper today also report on the demise of FotoFreo, after I exclusively published on Freo’s View on Sunday that it would not continue because of funding problems. Fairness and new information require another blog post.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt is adamant that council had not stopped supply and was going to consider funding the 2014 event during the next budget talks, so why is the official statement from FotoFreo that the City of Fremantle would no longer sponsor it, what has happened behind the scenes?

I have talked to quite a few people, including a City arts officer, who tell me there was discontent when Bob Hewitt resigned about how he handed over. Bob was well known to want to control everything as he saw FotoFreo as his baby. He more or less admits that in the West Australian. His style upset competent people like former manager Laura Beilby who decided not to continue working for FotoFreo. My insiders tell me the board of FF realised they did not have the people to organise the event and no money, so that’s why they decided to pull the plug, not because the Mayor or City officers had told them they would not get funded.

It would be good if FotoFreo came clear about the real reasons why Fremantle is losing this great photography showcase as Eventscorp also say they would have considered sponsering it again if an application had been lodged. Someone is not telling the truth!

Roel Loopers

MINISTER SAYS ISAF VISITORS’ FLOP A SUCCESS FOR W.A.

Posted in fremantle by freoview on May 14, 2012

According to a report in today’s West Australian three out of four Fremantle businesses were unhappy with last year’s ISAF World Sailing Championships, which were held off Bathers Beach, according to an analyses by Perth marketing consultants Metrix.

The 16 day event attracted only 7800 people from interstate and overseas, not the 500,000 ISAF director John Longley had predicted. It shows how far ISAF over estimated the visitors numbers and how unrealistic Longley’s figures were.

Of course Western Australian Tourism Minister Kim Hames called the event a big success, presumably so he does not have to acknowledge Eventscorp did not do their homework and blindly believed the figures given to them by ISAF.

The media value of the coverage was worth $ 16.6 million, while the event together with the numerous training camps held in 2010 generated $ 38.6 million for the state.

Eventscorp only sponsored ISAF with $ 8.8 million, so we’ve got a bargain, I think is how the Dr. Kim Hames would put it. Well, go tell that to the Fishing Boat Harbour and Worlds Village traders, who all lost money!

Roel Loopers

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THANK YOU, LORD LONGLEY

Posted in fremantle by freoview on March 7, 2012

I nearly collapsed with laughter as I read ISAF 2011 director John Longley’s comments in the Fremantle Gazette. Some people just don’t have any shame. Longley told the Gazette that “another legacy is what we left for Fremantle. Like the Mews Road crossing, the refurbishment of Bathers Beach and the cleaning up of the old Woolstores.”

Thank you so much, John, for fooling our local and state governments with your hugely inflated visitors’ predictions, so they spent enormous amounts of money trying to get your estimated half a million visitors from Bathers Beach to town and vice versa. We now have too many, not needed, railway crossings near Bathers Beach that did cost the tax payers tens of thousands of dollars that could have been spent on more important things.

As for the Woolstores artwork legacy. Could you please pack it up and take it home, John, because it is a piece of ramshackle, anything goes, example of mediocrity. It should match your ISAF 2011 visitors numbers quite well. A perfect match in fact, I reckon.

Roel Loopers

BIGGER THAN ISAF?

Posted in fremantle by freoview on March 1, 2012

It is interesting to read this morning that the city of Weymouth in England, which will be hosting the London Olympics sailing events, is only expecting 60.000 visitors. That puts the ridiculous predictions made last year by ISAF 2011 director John Longley, that the sailing event off Fremantle would attract half a million visitors, in perspective. It’s time Western Australian government agency Eventscorp demanded some of the millions they paid ISAF back for making unsubstantiated claims

I heard Longley is walking around town claiming he is working on something even bigger than ISAF, so expect the winter Olympics to come to Fremantle in the near future. * >)

Roel Loopers

W.A. GOVERNMENT TOURISM SCROOGE

Posted in fremantle by freoview on February 27, 2012

It is quite unbelievable to read in the West Australian today that the Western Australian state government is the second lowest spender on tourism in Australia. This is even more amazing when one knows how much money was squandered on the ISAF 2011 sailing championships, where  the estimated half a million visitors stayed well away from Fremantle, to the surprise only of the organisors and Eventscorp.

The W.A. Tourism Council wants the Barnett government to invest an additional 27 million dollars a year to promote the state’s tourism industry, which is struggling badly, partly due to the high Australian dollar. Our state government only spend 0.18 percent of its revenue on tourism.

This government is not different from any other, and obviously prefers to spend money on building icons to show their greatness, with a new stadium (in the wrong location), and the Perth foreshore development (too big, high, and all wrong). This money could be better spend on infrastructure, more train carriages, supporting and promoting the struggling retail and tourism industries. That however does not give politicians enough media headlines. Let’s build more white elephants like the Bell Tower, hey mister Premier.

Roel Loopers

FOTOFREO DOES AN ISAF

Posted in fremantle by freoview on January 3, 2012

What is it about the people who are in charge of events in Fremantle that makes them claim inflated figures? Is it to impress major sponsors like Eventscorp, or is there a general blindness towards reality? First ISAF claimed half a million visitors would come to Freo for the event, now FotoFreo also exaggerates the figures.

In today’s Fremantle Gazette FotoFreo director Bob Hewitt claims the 2010 international photography festival attracted more than 90.000 visitors. That is bollocks with a big B in my opinion! I doubt even if the word visitors was changed to visitations they would get anywhere near the numbers Hewitt claims. I have spoken to volunteers who man the venues and they talked about a trickle of people a day, not hundreds, let alone thousands of them. I visited most shows and the number of people was insignificant, while mainly the same people came to the opening evenings, so how FotoFreo comes up with 90,000 plus visitors is anyone’s guess.

I am a big fan of FotoFreo and believe it is fantastic that Fremantle has such a good international art festival every two years. I have participated with  exhibitions in the last three FotoFreo, so my support for it is unquestionable, as is my desire to see it continue and grow. But don’t give us inflated figures please!

Roel Loopers

EVENTSCORP CRITICISED FOR FREO ISAF 2011

Posted in fremantle, perth by freoview on December 16, 2011

The Fremantle Herald reports that Labor opposition spokesman for tourism John Hyde wants the State Government of Western Australia to hold an official inquiry into how state tourism agency Eventscorp handled the Fremantle ISAF 2011 sailing event. Claims that over 400,000 visitors would come have shown to be totally unrealistic with many retailers out of pocket. The event never embraced the Fremantle community as it was promoted as a Perth event, with even a huge Perth sign erected on the Fremantle foreshore.

Will Tourism minister Dr Kim Hames take any responsibility for spending millions of dollars on an event that did not get anywhere near the estimated figures? I doubt it. In his arrogance the minister has not even given me the courtesy of a reply to my complaint about the erection of the Perth sign, although his Chief of Staff emailed me weeks ago to say they were dealing with it. The event will finish this weekend, so my complaint has been ignored. Accountability? Yes Minister!

Roel Loopers

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ISAF NUMBERS DON’T ADD UP

Posted in fremantle by freoview on December 8, 2011

What a great excuse ISAF is giving for the low number of visitors to Fremantle. It’s the weather of course! One day the heat is to blame, the next day it’s the rain and thunder.

The fact is that the ISAF 2011 organisors totally overestimated the amount of people that would make the trip to Western Australia for the sailing championships. Figures from ISAF events director John Longley of half a million visitors, were taken with a grain of salt by all realistic people, but it appears our W.A. State Government tourism agency Eventscorp just swallowed the spin as fact and threw heaps of money at it.

The Sunday Times last weekend has ISAF only talking about 5000 visitors, but that could be a typo by the journo, while the very disappointed stall holders at the Worlds Village on the Esplanade are reported as saying they were promised 200.000-250.000 people who would make their efforts worthwhile. Even many locals stayed away on the weekend, fearing parking chaos and overcrowded restaurants and cafes.

I have passed through the Worlds Village several times over the days it has been open and there were only ever a handful of people. I hear even the Pigram Brothers concert had a small audience while rumours are that INXS numbers were boosted by ISAF giving away hundreds of free tickets.

The vibrancy and extraordinary event ISAF 2011 promised us it would be has not eventuated, which is very disappointing for Fremantle.

Questions have to be asked to the Minister for Tourism, Dr Kim Hames, how Eventscorp is going to recoup the wasted money it gave to ISAF. Did anyone at the agency check the validity of the estimated visitors numbers given to them by ISAF?

ISAF 2011 makes Fremantle look like a deflated spinnaker flapping around. Hot air alone is not enough to make an event great. Let’s hope for the competitors that the sailing is better than the hype.

Roel Loopers

PERTH OR FREMANTLE ISAF 2011 SPIN

Posted in fremantle, perth by freoview on November 17, 2011

Now that the huge P.E.R.T.H letters are being erected on the shore of Fremantle, because, according to Perth 2011 ISAF director John Longley (Fremantle), it is ISAF tradition to name the international sailing event after the nearest international airport, it is worth looking at the last two ISAF events.

In 2003 ISAF was held in the Spanish city of Cadiz. The ISAF event was not named Jerez, which is the nearest airport to Cadiz, but after Cadiz, the city off which the sailing happened.

In 2007 ISAF was held in the Portugese city of Cascais, and again it was not named after the nearest airport, which is Lisbon.

So why is ISAF 2011 named Perth ISAF 2011 and not Fremantle ISAF 2011? Because ISAF spin doctor John-half a million visitors- Longely and his buddies at Perth based Western Australian government agency Eventscorp decided that Fremantle was not a good enough name for such large event. (Fremantle was good enough for the America’s Cup when Longley was sailing in it in 1987).

Forget the “tradition” bullshit they have been feeding us. This is all about more money for ISAF, and the Western Australian government selling Fremantle short. Maybe that is why Tourism Minister Dr Kim Hames has not even bothered to reply to my email, although the Premier’s Department told me he would look into my complaint about the PERTH sign being erected in Fremantle. Dr Hames’ department did not even bother to give me the courtesy of an acknowledgment of receiving my email.

SPIN, my friends. It is the curse of modern times, while accountability has gone down the drain.

Roel Loopers

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