Tourism Indaba: most booking done online, guests told

2012-05-12 00:00

HUNDREDS of international tour operators and travel personnel arrived at Durban’s ICC yesterday afternoon for the start of this year’s travel and tourism Indaba.

Cloudy skies and threats of heavy rain had city officials worried, but Durban soon lived up to its reputation as a year-round warm and sunny city, with visitors opting for midsummer gear.

Said one tour operator from the UK: “I’ve always heard about your great winter weather in KZN. This is like summer, fantastic.”

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk will be opening the Indaba, which this year focuses on adventure and youth tourism and affordable holidays.

At a specially convened workshop yesterday, small and medium tourism enterprises were encouraged to “think out of the box” and not be fearful to join the big players.

Thekiso Rakolojano, marketing and communication manager for the SA Tourism Grading Council (part of the government’s tourism enterprise programme) said focused marketing was essential.

“… It’s about embracing the whole world of Internet technology. When you think that 75% of tourism is done online, including flights, tour bookings and accommodation, then those who don’t participate in social media are going to lose out big time.”

He said that once graded, a tourism destination, however small, could avail itself of a vast network of national and international opportunities as well as skills training and funding.

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