Tourism conference a resounding success

A successful Tourism Conference was hosted by George Municipality’s Tourism Department to kick off celebrations for Tourism Month. 

The event took place on 3 & 4 September 2019, at Pine Lodge in George and The Beach Hotel in Wilderness respectively.  Registered members of the Tourism Bureau as well as strategic partners and councillors were invited to a full day of interesting information and programme topics, ranging from an update of the Tourism Department’s movement during the past financial year, and plans for the future financial year to a Spotlight on Trade Shows, why your accommodation establishment should be star-graded, and how to make your activity business more visible online, through the use of channel managers.

Both days kicked off with a networking opportunity and included guest speakers Melanie Leloup, Trade Relations Manager for South Africa at South African Tourism, who enthused audiences with the excellent opportunities available to attract domestic tourists through the Sho’t Left Campaign, and Khan Farooq, who takes care of the South African experience platform at TripAdvisor in the United Kingdom.

George Tourism introduced their Portfolio Councillor, Iona Kritzinger and team, explaining their new portfolios.  They also revealed plans to collect accurate visitor statistics throughout the area, with the help of members and strategic partners.  Presently, only airport and visitor information office stats are available, and George plans to be a leader in this field by surveying tourism establishments, as well as all supported festivals & events.  Tourism business are invited to participate in this project, to share in the results.

This is what some of the various stakeholders had to say: “A huge thank you to Joan Shaw and her team for a fantastic conference today – “We Do Tourism”!  Great info.  Great advice.  Fabulous opportunity to network.” -The Fat Fish.  Marianne Smit from Surfari said “Thank you for an excellent morning of inspiration at the conference.  I much appreciate all your efforts to put George on the map.”   Lynn Keith from Tours by GLK said “I would like to complement you and your wonderful team on the success of the conference held this week at Pine Lodge, George.  I found it most informative and think it will grow from strength to strength.  The conference was well presented and most professional and “just what the market needed.”

Joan Shaw, Tourism Manager said: “This conference was a milestone for tourism in the George area, and we hope to present a similar event annually.  However, plans to communicate more regularly with the tourism sector in smaller, more focussed workshops are afoot.  We encourage all tourism related businesses in George, Wilderness and Uniondale to ensure that they have completed membership forms, so that we can communicate our own and other event on a more regular basis.”  For membership forms or more information on benefits of membership, kindly contact Claudine Carelse, membership Consultant, on

Photo caption: Nomzamo Entile, from the Xhosa excursion of George Tourism’s Dine with a Local project paints Sharon House’s face. Entile was hired for two days as part of the We Do Tourism conference in George and Wilderness last week, as  George Tourism wanted to accentuate the importance of guests from the private sector at the event.  Face painting indicates status, and those deemed important or beautiful receive recognition with face painting in the Xhosa culture. The conference was an opportunity for the local tourism industry to meet the George Municipality Tourism team, learn more about what the department is doing, get insights into tourist statistics, discover trade shows opportunities and get tips about how to get tourism small business visible online.

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