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Collaborative Garden Route workshop boost for local tourism

Destination Garden Route SATSA travel trade workshop Cape Townp

“There was a great sense of camaraderie on the day and greater than expected attendance and interest. It just goes to show what can be achieved when private sector and public sector collaborate. Our thanks must go to Satsa, Wesgro, Knysna Tourism and Oudtshoorn & De Rust Tourism for their support in making these kinds of initiatives happen,” said Peter Dros, SATSA Garden Route chair and sales and marketing director of Fancourt.

Ypie Kingma from Destination Garden Route, who attended the event, praised the initiative and said the response from the trade-in attendance had been very positive.

“With different bodies like SATSA, Wesgro and some of the local tourism offices working together, it made it possible for smaller operators to present their products to the trade. With many smaller tour operators attending, we were able to highlight some of the off-the-beaten-track establishments and activities which will give them a chance to differentiate themselves from the well-established operators.”

Kingma highlighted the “strong urge to collaborate” among Garden Route products. “We are aligning ourselves so that everybody can benefit.”

The workshop was very productive for Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours, said Lee-Marque Jansen. “I met new operators, negotiated a new contract and was able to rekindle relationships with those who are no longer on the Garden Route. Coming together as the Garden Route to do destination marketing was great,” he said.

This is not the first or last Destination Garden Route initiative aimed at aligning the efforts of tourism experiences and product to market the region, says Dros. “We are partnering with Wesgro again to bring consultants to the Garden Route in September so that we can showcase the diversity of experience and product that this region has to offer,” confirmed Dros.

SATSA is a firm believer in products and experiences within regions collaborating for the greater good to access markets, said David Frost CEO SATSA. “The Garden Route is a fine example of how the private sector industry can work together with government stakeholders to grow the tourism pie for the benefit of everyone in the region.

“Through collaboration and aligning our marketing efforts, regions can reach their markets in a far more powerful way than working in silos. It is my hope that the Garden Route example will inspire other regions of South Africa to align their efforts and market their destination collaboratively,” concluded Frost.

This article was first published on BizCommunity.com.