April update from the CEO

ITB Berlin, regarded as one of the world’s leading travel trade show, boasted record attendance figures in 2011, with approximately 100 000 trade visitors and more than 60 000 members of the public attending the show between March 9 and 13, 2011. Cape Town Tourism attended, in partnership with Cape Town Routes Unlimited, to showcase Cape Town as a challenger brand and a place of inspiration.

In line with recent communications about our “future fit” strategy, team Cape Town Tourism returned from ITB Berlin with key insights on international market trends and how to use these to our advantage; focusing on how technology has irreversibly changed the way that people travel. Parallel to the trade fair, the ITB Berlin Convention was held from Wednesday, March 9 to Friday, March 11. Cape Town Tourism attended the Future Day convention to learn more about global megatrends that are affecting people’s travel behaviour, and how this will shape the travel patterns of the future.

The three most relevant megatrends affecting the tourism industry are globalisation, the demographic change of our customers and climate change. World tourism is firmly back on a growth path, with this growth being driven by emerging markets from Asia and South America. Destinations must understand how new travel behaviours affect us, investigate the opportunities that methods like neuromarketing hold and accept that we are still dealing with a consumer who is very careful with money.

From a trade perspective, an upward trend has been observed in the German market; tour operators are very positive and show an increase in bookings compared to last year. In terms of packaged holidays, German consumers demand unique, personal and unforgettable cultural experiences. A number of familiarisation trips for German media to Cape Town are planned for this year. If you want to participate, please contact our PR & Guest Relations Coordinator Hannah Deall via .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Sustainable tourism has become a central theme, and climate change is a key consideration in the traveller’s buying and decision-making behaviour. A core message in my Responsible Tourism presentation at ITB was that developing countries are in the fortunate position of having the opportunity to lay the right foundations, and are well-placed to take advantage of this trend within the growing competitive tourism market. For a city like Cape Town, it is imperative that responsible tourism is the backbone of our industry and its future development.

Click here to read the full summary of key trends revealed at the Future Day convention.

New technology and social media unsurprisingly took centre stage at ITB, with the internet now the predominant channel used by consumers to search for and buy travel products. Holiday tips from friends worldwide, interactive bookings and mobile travel guides at the destination will become the norm in years to come. Smart phones and mobile applications are becoming progressively important, with mobile set to be the next real platform in travel – especially when it comes to catering to emerging markets like Asia. An innovative new tool combines the use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) with a built-in camera to produce an “augmented reality”. Lonely Planet has already launched interactive city guides for smart phones featuring this technology. With the onset of information overload, credibility and dependability is, however, critical for users of social media.

Click here to read the full article on social media and technology trends from ITB Berlin 2011.

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