Two kinds of welcome

2017-07-20 06:01

THE other evening the Umtamvuna Area Committee near Port Edward hosted a well attended meet-and-greet for members at the picturesque Umtamvuna River Lodge.

The evening was a relaxed affair with a happy mix of fine dining, music, entertainers, lucky draws and speeches by local product owners and stakeholders.

In all this was a welcoming and hospitable occasion that represented the hosting persona that tourism community has down towards our border with the Eastern Cape.

A few days before this function we were in another part of the district and called in at a popular venue only to be informed in a somewhat matter of fact and not very polite way that the property was closed for the day and basically clear off.

A principle within the tourism industry is that as a point of departure one must have a welcoming approach to customers and visitors, and if for whatever reason one cannot meet their requirements, one makes a plan or communicates the situation in an inoffensive manner.

Most business deserving owners and managers realise that an accommodating open approach to customers is far better for business than having an “it’s my way or no way” or a “take it or leave it” approach.

Thankfully here on the South Coast most product owners go that extra mile for our visitors however those who do not can elicit negative perceptions of the tourism industry as a whole and this is something we have to guard against.

This is why we have local area committees who aspire to have their areas well known for their outstanding service and friendly disposition.

This approach always betters the alternative form of “welcome” which is really not one at all.

I always look forward to going down to the lower South Coast.

Their enjoyable meet-and-greet functions represent what their visitors’ experience, being very welcomed and where better to experience this than in and around Port Edward and that eco-activity hub along the mighty and beautiful Umtamvuna River.

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