Wake up and smell the coffee !

In these times of economic recession the tourism industry across South Africa has to be really on its toes. With rising electricity and petrol prices people are feeling the pinch and watching their spending carefully. For towns and villages outside of the key holiday destinations in South Africa the tourism centres should be targetting the major local events throughout the year that bring in key revenues to accommodation establishments, restaurants and other businesses in their area. The municipalities and tourist centres need to work closely together to see how they can use these events to promote their town for future holiday business. Creating a warm welcome to visitors to these events is vital to ensure repeat business. How often do we visit somewhere on the word of mouth recommendation of a friend or relative!

Ensuring that your town is well prepared for these events is key. Potholes are a major problem in some areas and simply fixing these up for visitors as well as ensuring the key attractions are tidy and well presented goes along way to leaving a positive impression. Tourism centres need to co-ordinate and communicate all the things that are on offer for visitors during these events. Where to eat, places to see, activities on offer and things for children to do. Simple things like having information readily available for visitors to take away with them would seem a good idea. These can also be used to publicise other local events planned. I wonder how many tourism centres engage socially on the web with visitors to their events asking them what they would like to see when they come to an event? Most big events now have their own Facebook Page and should be used as a marketing tool by Tourism Centres. Twitter is also a valuable tool to reach out to your events visitors creating a platform to easily communicate updates on the event as it gets nearer to its date.

Big events such as the Inter-Varsity Rowing Regatta 2014 in Port Alfred attract hundreds of visitors to the town bringing in valuable tourism business. The event is staged over the weekend of 03th September to 12th September with nine universities from across South Africa competing. The coastal town of Port Alfred on the Eastern Cape of South Africa literally buzzes with students and friends and relatives. For the bars, shops and restaurants these are happy days especially for those positioned along the Kowie River itself where the racing takes place. So my advice to towns and villages in South Africa out there is to wake up and ask youself are you doing everything you can to encourage visitors to your destination.
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