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E Tourism Africa Summit

Tourism taking the lead in digital marketing

The fifth annual E Tourism Africa Summit will take place on the 13th and 14th of September 2012 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Coordinated by E Tourism Frontiers, the E Tourism Africa Summit is hosted in partnership with South African Tourism and Cape Town Tourism.
CAPE TOWN - The E Tourism Africa Summit is a two-day tourism conference on global online trends and developments in digital marketing relevant to tourism. This year the event will focus specifically on social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube for use in tourism campaigning, mobile travel apps and the use of social media to leverage online bookings.

The E Tourism Africa Summit will again bring together experts in the online tourism arena such as Trip Advisor, Wanderfly, Expedia, Facebook and more. The first day will be a full day of presentations by international speakers and the second day will offer a selection of seminars and workshops on different topics that attendants can choose from.

Heralded as an advocate for digital marketing and its use of social media, Cape Town Tourism has recently garnered much success with an online iAmbassador campaign across Twitter and the wider web. Says CEO, Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold; “The world has changed fundamentally. Travellers share their experiences honestly and instantly and travel decisions are influenced by the opinions and recommendations of friends and fellow travellers. The authentic and innovative use of digital marketing and, in particular, social media is essential to stay relevant in today’s marketplace. As a destination marketing organisation we see our role as leading and stimulating positive conversation about Cape Town, providing platforms for the world to connect with citizens and fans of Cape Town. The people of Cape Town are our greatest ambassadors and they are the ones that would-be visitors believe, trust and listen to.  Personal testimonials and recommendations now count for more than the opinions of guide books, brochures and tourism boards.”

A snapshot of the impact of social media on the hospitality industry, produced by the Four Pillars Hotel Group in the UK, found that 92% of consumers trust earned media such as word of mouth and recommendations from friends and family above traditional advertising. The study also found that of those who used social media to research their holiday, only 48% stayed with their original plans.

Considering that the Google search phrase “hotels in….(whichever city)”  has lost search volume by 70% in the last six years – replaced in popularity by testimonial sites like Tripadvisor and Expedia – we are faced with a whole new way in which consumers are choosing and planning their vacations.

Du Toit-Helmbold continues; “Travellers, business and leisure, are now armed with Smart Phones and iPads sharing their experiences intimately and instantly. Digital marketing and social media provide a great opportunity for destinations and businesses to share stories and influence travel decisions. The E Tourism Africa Summit is an invaluable platform for, particularly, small to medium businesses to learn more about using digital marketing and social media to their advantage.”

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