As the global demand for experiential travel starts to rise, travellers are increasingly looking for activities that are more personal than prescribed. They are looking for experiences that are authentic and in tune with the local culture, and its people, to create a genuine connection and some thought-provoking memories to take home.
Meeting local shopkeepers, renting someone’s home and hiring a pair of bicycles ticks all the boxes as touristy attractions give way to unexplored neighbourhoods that get real.
Over the last couple of years, insider info has gone digital and these platforms are growing at a rapid pace, with tools like Tripadvisor, Airbnb, Tripbod, Instagram and Wayn attracting millions of visitors to source, plan, book and travel more like locals would.
Getting locals to tell Cape Town’s story
In line with this trend, Cape Town Tourism is excited to be launching various projects that aim at giving the insiders of the Mother City an opportunity to tell their versions of the Cape Town story, encouraging visitors to “travel like a local”. At the same time, Cape Town Tourism is also encouraging Capetonians (amongst the most passionate advocates of our city) to ensure that they take advantage of what is on offer by “living like a tourist”.
Says Cape Town Tourism Marketing Executive, Velma Corcoran: “As the official agency responsible for tourism marketing, Cape Town Tourism as an organisation is in fact not the most authentic voice to convey the destination’s beautiful and lesser-known stories – the locals are. We have been listening for voices that passionately share their experience of living their daily lives in Cape Town, and now we’re offering them the platform to share their love for the city with the rest of the world.”
Launching new app-based neighbourhood walking tours
In partnership with the global VoiceMap Walking Route App – some of Cape Town Tourism’s team members are adding their own personal perspectives on the places they live, by creating their own routes for the app and recording it in their own voices.
Coleen van Staden, a Muizenberg resident of over 30 years, is one of the first storytellers to share the magic and hidden gems of her hood, when the walking tour is officially launched on 25 February 2015. The app has been refined using GPS tracking so that the route information is in line with the interest points and pause spaces where people naturally stop.
“Muizenberg is such a fitting neighbourhood to kick-off with: a quirky seaside town with both warring and genteel history that is now a casual mix of laid-back restaurants, affordable rentals, surf culture and crammed curio, craft and design shops. The next hood we’re mapping and recording is Woodstock with hopefully many others to follow,” adds Corcoran
Creating innovative platforms for locals
In 2011 Cape Town Tourism started to inspire the #lovecapetown movement on social media; a hash tag that crowd-sources both local and traveller experiences – a feed for the would-be traveller as they couch-plan their itinerary or when looking for things to do whilst in destination.
Mid-2015 Cape Town Tourism will launch their innovative new mobile app where travel suggestions, experiences and activities are shared from an insider’s perspective.
Cape Town Tourism has also started with a neighbourhood series on their blog where team members go out every month to spend time with locals in different neighbourhoods, in order to write a comprehensive insider’s guide to two different hoods featured every month.
A neighbourhood-focused video series will also commence mid-2015. It will feature colourful and interesting personalities in each area and will be shared on YouTube and across social media.
Says Corcoran; “We think locals will be as inspired as visitors by our new local knowledge experiences – and ultimately, if locals like it – everyone else will too.”