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23 November 2012

Collaboration key to Western Cape tourism development

Cape Town Tourism and Wesgro teamed up at the recent World Travel Market to present Cape Town and the Western Cape as interchangeable parts of a whole experience.

Mariette du Toit-Helmbold. Mariette du Toit-Helmbold.

From airline partners to industry champions and media, we saw people wanting to get together and share their time, expertise and assets.

Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, Cape Town Tourism CEO, who represented Wesgro (the destination marketing, investment and trade promotion agency for the Western Cape) and Cape Town Tourism at the World Travel Market (WTM), said there was a willingness among all partners to collaborate at this year’s event.

'From airline partners to industry champions and media, we saw people wanting to get together and share their time, expertise and assets. There was a lot of interest in Cape Town, the Western Cape, and South Africa as a tourism destination,' she said.

The city and the region have also joined forces to prepare for the upcoming peak tourism season in Cape Town and the Western Cape.

According to Du Toit-Helmbold, some WTM highlights included the release of Euromonitor’s latest Global Trends Report; a huge emphasis on the role of digital marketing and social media in travel and tourism marketing – with South African Tourism and the official tourism organisations of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town collaborating to host selected top travel bloggers from new and traditional source markets in a #LoveSouthAfrica campaign in 2013; and an extension of Cape Town Tourism’s successful #LoveCapeTown campaign.

She said there was also a growing interest in Cape Town as a business tourism destination. Cape Town was recently announced as winner of the National Outsourcing Association’s Offshore Destination of the Year Award.

'Cape Town is South Africa’s leading city for BPO (business process outsourcing) and has numerous call centres for new international companies. The BPO industry employs 33 500 people and is worth R7,9-billion,' she said.

Cape Town hosts a number of leading global brands, including Amazon, ASDA, Bloomberg, British Gas, iiNet, Shell, Shop Direct and T-Mobile.

The CEO of Wesgro, Nils Flaatten, said Cape Town was becoming the launch pad for doing business on the west coast of Africa, and that air connectivity was critical for both leisure and business tourism.

Complicated visa processes and policies that limit air connectivity – major barriers to the growth of travel and tourism – were also key topics discussed by international tourism ministers attending WTM. There were calls for increased intra-governmental cooperation to break these barriers.