Embarking on a new era for Travel and Tourism

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Tuesday, 25th October 2022

Makana Tourism recently rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest African and international brand names at the World Travel Market (WTM), a business-to-business travel and tourism event.

This took place after a long two-year period that South Africa endured under the COVID-19 pandemic and provided some pertinent lessons on how we can re-ignite the travel and tourism sectors.

Let's hear from Makana Tourism Acting Director, Prudence Mini, on her thoughts about the session:

The Sarah Baartman District Municipality did such a great job in assisting local tourism agencies in its district to get them to connect with tourism buyers at the World Travel Market that took place in Cape Town. These are just some of the beneficial elements that stood out the most:

The ability to tap into community connections

As a representative of Makana Tourism, all the way from Makhanda, I was able to meet and mingle with the tourism and travel industry’s key players from aroudn the world, an awesome realisation that we are not alone in our challenges and visions for the sector. This was from our Sarah Baartman District Municipality Tourism Manager, Pumeza Tanga, and all the way to hearing from the Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu. 

Delegates caught up on the latest business developments, new tools, resources, and solutions:

When I was not networking with industry role-players at the Sarah Baartman District Municipality exhibition space, I had such an awesome opportunity to attend a variety of workshops that would assist us in our marketing strategies, such as:

  • 2022 WTM Africa Industry Report
  • Trend Insights
  • Reimagining the Tourism Economy
  • TikTok Can Boost Your Booking Numbers
  • Rural Tourism
  • Mixing MICE Business with Pleasure
  • Understanding How to Tap into New Source Markets

It was interesting to look at other accommodation brands, such as Air B&B. I got some insight into their strategies for tourism entrepreneurship and how tapping into unique experiences can help market what you are trying to sell to tourists (including locals) as people are looking at more than just booking accommodation. They are on the search for authentic experiences and to create memories.

Another useful talk was on how to improve websites as SEO marketing tools are the current and trendy way to get more clicks and make you relevant as a brand. I learnt about the following features that can help improve the traffic for a website that converts leads:  

  • Using emotive, imaginary and experiences for content
  • Conversion leads
  • Unlocking a customer journey using call to actions
  • Segmentation
  • Automation
  • Personalisation
  • Collaboration

The helpful face-to-face encounters:

The COVID-19 pandemic was isolating. We lost touch with each other and ourselves. This workshop allowed me and other delegates to make new friends in the sector who we can now reach out to and who will support us in the future. The new friends include meeting tourism heads from the local tourism offices and other destination marketers that face the same challenges in rural tourism or have made it and could offer lessons on their respective journeys. It also assisted me to connect with travel content creators, where I learnt about new resources and tools to improve in our mandate to Makana Municipality, the Makana Tourism Board, Makana Tourism members and general community.

Growth in authority and opportunity for our business:

It was such an awesome opportunity to do the meet and greet with international tour operators, especially since a large majority of them did not know much about the Makana region. This provided a chance to find out what they did know about the Eastern Cape and what could get new tourists to visit our region. Lastly, the conference validated Makana Tourism as a credible tourism agency. It was a great opportunity to pass out business cards, make pitches face-to_face and meet people who recognize what we do and even more impressive when they contacted us after the workshop proposing future collaborations. 

 Visit the WTM website to watch some insightful webinars here to boost your business.

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