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5 reasons why educationals are important

I have just returned from an educational to the Winelands and Overberg, in the Western Cape here in South Africa.  It was organized by SATSA, and supported by Wesgro.  Almost 20 DMC’s, travel consultants and owner/operators experienced what this diverse region has to offer, with 3 different itineraries themed around ‘wellness’, ‘adventure’ and ‘luxury’.  I was part of the ‘wellness’ group, which was exactly what I needed.  Here’s why:

1. Educationals introduce new products

Often agents and operators are ‘stuck’ on what they know from using it in the past, or referral by others in the industry.  Going on an educational organized by experts in that particular region will introduce you to new products.

On the edge of my comfort zone, in more than one way… Photo courtesy White Shark Projects.

2. Educationals spark ideas

Creativity happens on the edges of your comfort zone or knowledge pool, and as one gets exposed to new products, ideas pop up for new tours, new themes, new routes.  As you experience new activities, or stay at different places, merely seeing ‘with new eyes’, one gets inspired to create new and different itineraries.

3. Educationals open new markets

Slightly further down the line, you may find because of your experiences on an educational – out of your ‘normal’ environment – you may actually be able to create interest for your services, or your tours in a whole new market.  

4. Educationals let you meet peers in the industry

This is something which in the current situation is possibly more important than the top 3 above.  Having worked from home, not being with your colleagues, not having been able to travel yourself, not having been able to ‘do what you’re good at’ – putting itineraries together and introducing new products to agents and operators, so visitors get blown away by the natural beauty, people and experiences South Africa has to offer – educationals are a boost of the morale, being in a happy space with like-minded people who have gone to similar stresses as yourself, together working towards full recovery of the industry.

5.  Educationals reignite the industry

While suppliers may not charge full rates to those organizing or on an educational, it provides exposure and at the same time brings in – albeit reduced – turnover for the participating suppliers.  Slowly but sure the industry is recovering!

What I learned on this particular educational?  That there is so much more to discover between the Garden Route and Cape Town.  We spent three nights in the triangle between Hermanus, Gansbaai and Elgin, stayed at the most wonderful places, had the most delicious meals, drank the most appetizing wines and met the most beautiful people.  The Cape Winelands and Overberg region are a true hidden gem, which is so worth exploring! 

From a personal point of view: we need to be kind to others but also look after ourselves, take the time out to have that massage, to eat that scrumptious meal, to sip that delicious wine, to calm the always busy mind, to enjoy the views and smells around us.  It is not something I often do, in that respect I was taken out of my comfort zone, and it was the best thing I’ve done for a long time!

Over the next weeks I will be sharing my experiences on the Destination Garden Route facebook page, should you wish to see where we were, what we did, who we met.