WHY A THINK TANK?
Mariette du Toit-Helmbold and Annareth Bolton of Destinate (www.destinate.co.za) facilitated engagement sessions with business and community members from the Swellendam region on 12 and 13 November 2018 in Swellendam and Barrydale respectively.
The aim was to unpack the tourism strategy development process and get input from the community on local tourism and the opportunities in the region against the backdrop of international travel trends. The goal was to reach consensus on the key areas of focus, ensure an involved and engaged community and identify immediate deliverables.
Both sessions were well attended and roleplayers’ feedback has been positive.
The programme was designed to allow for robust debate, conversation and interaction.
We considered the essence of the Swellendam region, allowing for specific engagement on Barrydale as a town within the Swellendam district and debated the key icons and the assets that give the region its unique sense of place and differentiate us from the competition. We looked at global trends and identiﬁed the trends that have an impact on us and that could be used to give us an edge over our competitors.
We spent time unpacking the region’s potential, then identiﬁed the opportunities for the Swellendam region and which areas should be priorities in the development of a new tourism strategy. Finally, we shared the next steps to be followed in the project ensuring participants that they be involved in the process
PROJECT & METHODOLOGY
Approach We will conduct the project in the following three phases:
Phase 1: International & local market research and analysis
Phase 2: Tourism and Marketing Strategy development
Phase 3: Strategic recommendation on a proposed Tourism Structure
• Context for new tourism strategy for Swellendam Municipal region
• Competitive proposition
• Priorities & areas of focus
• About structures and roles
• Brand, logos and strap lines…
SWELLENDAM and BARRYDALE
ICONS / BRAND ASSETS
WHERE DO WE FOCUS?
TOP 5 TRENDS FOR SWELLENDAM
• Economic shift (value proposition) – generosity of spirit, quality, warm hospitality, unique offering, package the greater Swellendam region better
• Web & Social Media (the traveller and local as our marketer)
• The story – EXPERIENTIAL, personal, memorable, authentic
• “New” travellers – lifestyle, solo-female, special interest, food & wine, “Bleisure”, cross-generational, family, outdoor active, event
• Health, wellness & responsible living
Do you agree these are the top 5 trends for the region? If no, why not? Would you like to add to these trends?
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• Swellendam region as an outdoor eventing mecca, really using the region’s natural assets like the ocean, rivers and mountains to their full potential and creating new attractions using the natural environment like a Coast to Klein Karoo Camino, a marathon (similar to Comrades) from Swellendam to Barrydale, more hiking trails, water based activities & family friendly cycling routes.
• Regional event strategy with 12 months event calendar and cross-regional packaging to ensure the whole region benefits from extended stays during events. The regional event calendar to incorporate some of the existing events like Barrydale in Bloom and BAM and add events where there are gaps in the calendar and in the offering.
• Turn the Swellendam Landbou Skou (Agri Show) into a town festival, incorporating the other unique elements like community, tourism, gastronomy, farmers market, sport, arts, heritage and culture.
• The Drostdy Museum as a living interpretive museum and regional tourism hub – starting point for routes, tours, cycling, walking etc.
• Connect the region and its towns through routes, scenic drives, tours and cross-regional packages instilling a new culture of shared accountability, community, joint marketing and partnership.
• Investigate new experiences and investment opportunities like sightseeing open deck busses, steam train tours, e-bikes for Swellendam and Barrydale etc.
• Invest in digital marketing and visitor services with a compelling marketing message with strong call to action and user-friendly transactions & bookings (accurate information).
• Define the target audiences/niche markets for the different towns and crossregional packages, focusing on conscious travellers wanting to experience slowliving, yearn for real connections and retreats.
• Ensure authentic connection with locals through community tourism that is well packaged and in line with what travellers are looking for.
• Swellendam’s unique basket of goodies – positioning our indigenous produce more successfully in restaurants and local produce outlets
THE BIG IDEA
What do we need?
When looking at a big idea it is important to identify something that will utilise the region’s resources, people, existing infrastructure and strengths best with real long term legacy potential that can be implemented within a relatively short space of time, without requiring a huge captal investment.
There was consensus that Swellendam’s natural environment and assets must be used better and that events can have a positive impact on the region’s year-round tourism potential, extending the length of stay, ensuring a good geographic spread and connecting the region’s towns better through an event calendar and cross-regional packages and promotions.
Through attractive cross-regional packages that incorporate the region’s other assets, the community at large can benefit directly through the value chain of tourism.
Ultimately the region needs to invest in a good tourism strategy with a well-defined marketing and digital strategy that is influenced by global best practice and trends, but applied within the local context. It needs a compelling marketing message with good storytelling and a strong call to action complemented by user-friendly technology that enables easy transactions & bookings.
The tourism info office, how can we disseminate information more effectively?
What if we had a Swellen card as a single purchase point for all activities and restaurants?
What if we agree to a tourism levy which is ring-fenced and used solely for tourism infrastructure and activities?
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ACTION: Please select the top 5 priorities in order of priority
❑ Align plans with the latest trends and identify opportunities specific to region
❑ Identify specific growth opportunities, such as adventure & sport
❑ Better alignment and mutually beneficial joint marketing initiatives
❑ Route development to showcase cultural and historical heritage
❑ Events calendar and a flagship festival/events for the region
❑ Package the region’s tourism offering better
❑ Improved funding for tourism development and promotion
❑ Effective communication channels
❑ Strong local brand and identity
❑ Effective marketing & promotion
❑ Investment in improved digital marketing
❑ Sustainable local tourism development that appeals to travellers
IMPERATIVES TO DELIVER
ACTION: SELECT YOUR TOP 5 ACTIONS
❑ Enabling environment
❑ Differentiation and a strong brand
❑ A practical, implementable plan
❑ Champions and partnership
❑ Consistency of message, true to what we are
❑ Effective communication channels
❑ Be digitally savvy
❑ Resources – people and funding
❑ Invest in the visitor experience!
Please send us further input/comments