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Cape Town needs co-operation and clear communication to achieve targets in the tourism sector

“Our arrivals demonstrate a year on year increase and we can achieve much more, but we must take great care, especially when negative perceptions threaten to dull our reputation as one of the most preferred tourist destinations for leisure and business” says Calvyn Gilfellan, acting chief executive of…

“Our arrivals demonstrate a year on year increase and we can achieve much more, but we must take great care, especially when negative perceptions threaten to dull our reputation as one of the most preferred tourist destinations for leisure and business” says Calvyn Gilfellan, acting chief executive of Cape Town Routes Unlimited.

The Western Cape has again shown impressive growth, achieving 5.8% growth in international arrivals during the traditionally slow Quarter three, from 374,637 international arrivals in Quarter three, 2006 to 396,194 in Quarter three, 2007.  There was 11.5% growth in Total Foreign Direct Spend from R2.62b to R2.92b during the same period.

In a recent editorial feature, Ms Lynne Brown, Minister of Finance and Tourism, writes: “It is essential that we keep our eye on the ball, as it were, because we are taking the long view here and not just focusing on 2010, but also, almost more essentially – beyond the World Cup and the reality of the Western Cape and Cape Town being a 365 (days a year) destination. The word of mouth referential tourists are not to be ignored as satisfied tourists come back and bring their family and friends.”

She is the key-note speaker at the Tourism Business Partners Forum on Responsible Tourism and Brand Integrity. This event is facilitated by the official destination marketing organisation for Cape Town and the Western Cape, Cape Town Routes Unlimited, where they will engage with all tourism stakeholders at 15h00 on 13 March 2008 at Nelson’s Creek Conference Centre, Paarl.

Preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup will over the next while concentrate international attention on the country in a way that presents both opportunities and challenges. Messaging around the energy emergency, safety, leadership transition and climate change should be managed with integrity and build positive perceptions.

“We must collect and share best practice and case studies, both from here and internationally and collate feedback from both our domestic and international tourism markets to assess how the disruptions are being perceived and whether people are cancelling holidays or considering other destinations” says Calvyn.

The Minister of Finance and Tourism, Ms Lynne Brown, Tyrone Seale from the International Marketing Council and Chris Moerdyk, marketing analyst and journalist, will discuss the impacts of responsible tourism as an application for maintaining tourism brand integrity, perception, reputation and image in times of challenge.

Tyrone Seale is the International Marketing Council’s general manager of their Communications Resource Centre and he says that the importance of coherent, contextualised communication over the next few years – including the build-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, is critical for the Western Cape tourism sector and South Africa, as a whole. 

Chris Moerdyk will speak on what impacts the destination brand particularly from the point of view of the behaviour, actions and communications from those that manage those brands. He will also stress the importance of continually auditing marketing activities to ensure that brand integrity remains entrenched and particularly from the point of view of ensuring maximum return on investment. 

The Business Partners Forum is a dialogue with all Western Cape tourism stakeholders and is aimed at stimulating debate around our tourism brand image and reputation particularly when in the midst of an enormous amount of negativity over issues such as the power crises and others. An informative, unbiased exchange on the value of brand integrity will help stakeholders realize the long-term costs involved.

“Together, we can co-ordinate our response and achieve more” says Calvyn Gilfellan.

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