I have recently come back from the WTM, where the make-up of exhibitors was very obviously changed compared to my first one 25 years ago.
I have since given some thought to the overall marketing landscape of our country.
There was a clear lack of product, big numbers of provincial and regional tourism authorities and only a few DMCs.
Is that really the most attractive, modern, efficient way of promoting what we are about? Especially considering the buyer profile attending these trade shows, who mostly seek to see existing and emerging product or channel management companies if used.
My personal observation is that tourism bodies – with few exceptions – had low occurrence of appointments, which I assume is indicative of a misplaced marketing effort.
On the other hand, SA Tourism is mandated to develop domestic tourism under the heading of the Sho’t Left campaign, with limited domestic facing infrastructure. Is that the best possible use of resources, especially in an environment where rapid growth from international markets is required?
I am a firm believer that only a tourism industry that is largely underpinned by domestic demand has sustainability. Hence domestic tourism development can't be yet another project of a national authority and, on the other hand, international marketing can't have a regional fragmentation. What we need is to rather create a holistic direction and strategy!
I guess my view on who should focus on what is clear from the above....What is yours?