Cape Town needs tailor-made tourism offerings

During yesterday afternoon’s members’ networking event at Lagoon Beach Hotel and Spa in Milnerton, London-based destination expert, Mary Tebje, stressed the need for the Cape Town tourism industry to look more at tailored experiences, particularly cultural experiences.

Tebje, who is Cape Town Tourism’s UK trade and press representative, made it clear that factors such as increasing airfares and the weakening pound, meant that long-haul destinations had to work harder to attract British visitors. She suggested that Cape Town Tourism members start by looking at competing destinations such as Orlando in the United States, as well as Brazil and Kenya, to see what they were up against.

She pointed out that the “over 50s market was booming”, quite simply because “they had money” and was of the opinion that people in this age group were generally interested in cultural experiences.

Tebje advised that the best way forward was to offer all-inclusive packages, so that visitors paid one price for several experiences, without worrying about how much extra money they would spend while on holiday. With this in mind, it was important for accommodation providers, tour guides and establishments to work more collaboratively.

Day trips were an important offering according to Tebje, especially those that involved local food and wine. “Teach them to braai,” she said, adding that when British visitors returned home, they loved to show off new culinary skills and talk about cuisine they had sampled abroad.

Tebje quoted the statistic that 450 000 Britons visited Cape Town in 2010 and approximately 25% of that number were visiting friends and relatives. She said the positive coverage of Cape Town during and after the FIFA World Cup™, as well as campaigns by South African Tourism, had resulted in a positive impact.

One member raised a question about Cape Town’s cultural offerings, which sparked an interesting debate. He asked if a quick township tour and a 10-minute gumboot dance were sufficient as a cultural experience. Other members felt it wasn’t and agreed that this was something that needed to be addressed at various levels.

New markets

Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold revealed that Indian arrivals in Cape Town had increased by 78% in 2010, proving that this was a good, upcoming market. She added that outbound travel from Asia was expected to grow in double digit percentages during 2011, mainly from India and China.

Du Toit-Helmbold reminded members of the need to focus on the domestic and African market, given the cost of airfares at present, as well as the strong local economy.

Cape Town Tourism would continue in its efforts to promote the city as a great place to visit, live, work, study and invest.

Read our blog about why Lagoon Beach Hotel and Spa general manager, Irishman Andrew Kelly, loves living and working in Cape Town.

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