Umhlanga Tourism’s Sabelo Didi recently returned from The World Travel Market Africa in Cape Town where he learned about the some of the latest trends and technology impacting the global tourism sector.
The World Travel Market Africa, a leading business to business exhibition for the continent’s tourism and travel markets, took place at the International Convention Centre in Cape Town from April 10-12.
Social media savvy
What Sabelo brought home from the event was new knowledge on how to market tourism businesses using social media – something he is already really good at but which, as a constantly evolving tool, requires one’s skills to be updated and sharpened.
“There were a lot of side events taking place at the event and most of them focused on the digital world and how tourism establishments can improve their marketing. The likes of Facebook and other social networks have been there for years but you need to know how to use them effectively for successful marketing,” Sabelo said.
Sabelo said he found that many local businesses in the tourism sector were still focusing more on traditional marketing tools such as the distribution of pamphlets and business cards than social media as part of their marketing strategy. He encouraged businesses to take more advantage of the power of social media – and to use multiple platforms from Instagram and Facebook to Twitter – and tools such as hashtags to help drive a holistic marketing campaign.
The issue of “over tourism” was another hot topic at the travel market event where delegates learned how popular tourist destinations in cities such as Amsterdam had become overcrowded to the extent of spoiling a once unique visitor experience.
The Dutch Tourism Board had to take a decision to stop promoting some of it’s most popular destinations, and to drive tourists to lesser known destinations. It removed the iconic “I am Amsterdam” sign for the city in December 2018 and has made moves to curb the building of new hotels and souvenir shops for tourists as well as restricting private rentals via Airbnb and booking.com to 30 days a year. Some 19 million tourists visited the city last year making it a crowed place to be for its 850,000 inhabitants.