4 May 2012

16 days, 21 South Africans, a hundred life-changing experiences

The ‘Take a Sho’t Left before you turn 35’ campaign is a big success

STA Travel competition winners STA Travel competition winners

STA Travel has been working closely with SA Tourism through a Joint Marketing Agreement for nearly a year. The partnership has driven exceptional results, proving that young South Africans are eager to explore South Africa. - STA Travel General Manager, Liezl Gericke.

South African Tourism and trade partner, STA Travel have wrapped up their mammoth ‘Take a Sho’t Left before you turn 35’ campaign.  The totally integrated drive, aimed to get young South Africans exploring the many facets of their own country, has attracted more than 50,000 monthly unique visits on the dedicated homepage; resulted in a more than 55% increase in sales volume during the campaign period and contributed an immeasurable increase in awareness for the hidden treasures waiting to be discovered in some of South Africa’s most spectacular locations.

Kicking off in May, the campaign encouraged South Africans to look to their own country before considering a gap year overseas, with the theme of ’voluntourism’ at its heart.  A competition element driven through STA Travel’s Facebook page offered aspiring Sho’t Lefters the opportunity to see their country through rejuvenated eyes, teaming up with a group of 20 fellow travellers on a 16-day trip of a lifetime.   Covering more than 4300 overland kilometres, overnighting in six of the nine provinces and proving beyond any doubt the importance and ability of trade partnerships to fast track the domestic tourism agenda, the campaign was a resounding success for all involved.

Intrepid Cape Town blogger, Dylan Jack Van Vuuren, who accompanied good friend Max Roberts on the phenomenal adventure, summed up the trip perfectly when he blogged about his experience.  “We experienced what felt like four seasons and at least four different continents. All my life I have dreamed of whisking myself off to Europe and never really contemplated staying here in my own country to explore the treasures we have,” Dylan writes on www.justdylanjack.com.  “I suppose I was part ignorant, part oblivious to the beauty and splendour our country has to offer.  Things I never dreamt were in this country,encounters I only dreamt of having, South Africa has gifted me with both.”

Pearl Nkosi, a 23-year-old from Johannesburg, joined the travel group as a competition winner following her dynamic video entry onto the campaign’s Facebook page.   Her ongoing tweets throughout the 21 days experience kept her network informed and educated on the many life-changing experiences she was going through; most poignantly ending her updates with a retrospect on the power of travel to unite young South Africans.  She tweeted, “When I first climbed on the truck I was excited but a little nervous: here we were, 21 young South Africans from very different walks of life ….bound together for 16 days... But by the end of the trip this rainbow nation group had bonded in a way that only travelling together can achieve.”

These personal journeys are the ideal reactions South African Tourism is looking for as part of their reinforced Sho’t Left national campaign.  Launched this year, the campaign seeks to create a deeper emotional connection with young South Africans, making travel fun, relevant and an enriching experience.  The new strategy is rooted in the objectives of the National Tourism Sector Strategy, while acknowledging the need to bedynamic and exciting in order to inspire the youth of the country.  Phumi Dhlomo, Regional Director: Africa & Domestic, explains the importance of partnerships such as the STA Travel agreement, to drive the Sho’t Left messaging of ‘fun with friends’ to even greater heights.  “As a national organisation, we are well equipped to drive countrywide awareness, but its essential for the tourism trade sector to take care of the groundwork, creating interesting packages that appeal to South Africans, and which offers them the opportunity to act on the interest we create.  We commend STA Travel for this most recent initiative, and we are energised and inspired by the feedback that has come from the group of South Africans who won the experience.”

STA Travel General Manager, Liezl Gericke, is confident that the partnership with SA Tourism is a valuable route to supporting business growth.  “STA Travel has been working closely with SA Tourism through a Joint Marketing Agreement for nearly a year. The partnership has driven exceptional results, proving that young South Africans are eager to explore South Africa, says Gericke.  “During our partnership we have seen the sales value for domestic travel increase by 55%.  This is a result of increased bookings for accommodation and organised or overland tours.  In addition we have noted an increase in the average spend per booking, by an impressive 34%.  This is attributed to increased length of stay, with people choosing to book additional experiences once they arrive at their destination.  Not only are more people traveling domestically – they are all spending more money on their trips!  All of this is encouraging and can definitely be attributed to the JMA that we have with SA Tourism.”

Ends.

Note to editors: Pictures available on request. 

Issued by South African Tourism.

For further information contact

Fathima Adam at SA Tourism               
Tel: +27 11 895 3148                                                 

Email: fathima@southafrica.net                    

Website www.southafrica.net

Register on our media extranet to browse the latest news releases (from SAT as well as the tourism industry in general), access the news archive and get details of all upcoming tourism industry events (both locally and internationally).

South African Tourism is the national tourism agency responsible for the marketing of South Africa as a preferredtourist destination. It is headed up by Chief Executive Officer, Ms ThandiweJanuary-McLean, Chief Operating Officer Mr Timothy Scholtz and Chief Marketing Officer, Ms Roshene Singh.