Taking tourism to a new level

Tourism service providers from George attended a strategic planning session on 14 October to refine immediate actions that will be submitted as a part of a Tourism Strategy to City Council for consideration and implementation.  Mariette du Toit-Humboldt, a consultant from the company Destinate, who achieved great success with marketing Cape Town, Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Reunion Island, facilitated the workshop with the aim to establish a clear George Brand- and destination marketing plan.

In front are Graham de Swart (George Tourism), Melanie Martins (George Tourism), Dorothea Jantjies (George Tourism), Chief Jacob Theron (Khoi-Khoileier), René Linnert (Eden District Municipality) and Bruce Middleton (South Cape Net and The Gremlin). At the back are Chief Jacob Lotriet (iXamBoesman), Carl van Blerk (Garden Route and Klein Karoo Pass),CiscaKoekemoer (Aqua Eden Resort),Albert Hoffmann (Xanadu Guest Villa), Claudine Carelse (Acting Tourism Manager: George),Pieter Pepler (Manager: Office of the Executive Mayor of George), Mariette du Toit-Helmbold from Destinate, facilitated the workshop,Michael Cook (Outeniqua Tourism Association) and Rose Lewis (Local Economic Development: George Municipality)
In front are Graham de Swart (George Tourism), Melanie Martins (George Tourism), Dorothea Jantjies (George Tourism), Chief Jacob Theron (Khoi-Khoi leier), René Linnert (Eden District Municipality) and Bruce Middleton (South Cape Net and The Gremlin). At the back are Chief Jacob Lotriet (iXam Boesman), Carl van Blerk (Garden Route and Klein Karoo Pass), Cisca Koekemoer (Aqua Eden Resort), Albert Hoffmann (Xanadu Guest Villa), Claudine Carelse (Acting Tourism Manager: George), Pieter Pepler (Manager: Office of the Executive Mayor of George), Mariette du Toit-Helmbold from Destinate, who facilitated the workshop, Michael Cook (Outeniqua Tourism Association) and Rose Lewis (Local Economic Development: George Municipality)

After crystallizing the uniqueness of experiences that a visitor to George might enjoy, Du Toit Humboldt informed the meeting about the value and power of story-telling via digital and social media marketing, whereby every visitor could be enabled to share their pictures and stories on the Internet, and thereby become a part of the marketing foot-print.  “In the current information era, every hospitality establishment should consider providing free Wi-Fi to its guests”, she said.  She pointed out that apart from the wonderful and unique holiday experiences offered in George, cycling has overtaken golf as the main attraction for tourism in the current global tourism trend, and that George has become a hot spot for both these activities.

It was agreed that a workshop in digital and social media marketing for all tourism product providers in George would be one of the most immediate interventions by the George Tourism Department.

The Executive Deputy Mayor of George as well as Portfolio Councillor for Tourism and LED, Cllr Daniël Maritz, outlined the function of the Tourism Department at George Municipality, “to work in partnership with each one of the service providers to market and sell George to prospective visitors.   We want them to visit us and spend their holiday money here.  Tourism is one of the key drivers of economic growth globally.  George wants to attract our fair share of this business.”

He indicated that George City Council has a vision for the communities that make up the entire city.  We believe that local government is key in ensuring a better life for all its citizens. To make this better life a reality, our governments must be forward thinking, create caring, safe and inclusive environments for our residents, be well-run and provide opportunities for all.  Our role is to facilitate a truly open opportunity society.  “We are unstoppable when we share a common goal – a common vision and act as a team”, he said.  He motivated the Tourism sector to think clearly and then take effective action.

All service providers to the Tourism Sector, including festival organisers, restaurants, tourist attractions, hotels, guest houses and sporting facilities, are invited to contact Melanie Martins at George Tourism to add their contact details to the George Tourism notice service – free of charge.  Melanie can be contacted on 044 801 9299, or via email onmembership@george.org.za

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