GEORGE NEWS – South Africa won the award for the best large stand at the recent IBTM tourism trade show in Barcelona, Spain.

Alewijn Dippenaar of Adventures Garden Route, and Niel Els, president of Skål Garden Route, have just returned from the 31st IBTM trade show, where they represented 15 adventure tourism entrepreneurs from the Garden Route, as well as seven accommodation establishments and a wine cellar. The Turnberry Boutique Hotel stall, which was shared with Adventures Garden Route, formed part of the South African stand. Fifty-five South African companies were among those from 246 countries.

According to Dippenaar, adventure tourism represented maybe about 2% of the offerings. “While the Garden Route is a notable destination, we will have to put a lot of strategy into marketing our adventures to the world.”

He says more research is necessary to determine who would be potential adventure tourists – their age, destination preferences, how often they travel and how long they can stay, and whether they will have time to get involved with social development projects. There are also safety and security concerns.

“The buyers are not sure whether it is safe to partake in adventure tourism activities: are these activities legal and safe, what support system exists if the tourists should be injured and would there be insurance coverage in the case of injury?”

“In addition, there is a cost incentive for travel agents and tourists alike in travelling in large groups of up to 100 individuals. “It is simply cheaper to travel in larger numbers. But these large groups need different facilities than smaller groups – a small hotel with less than 60 beds will not fulfil their needs.”

Dippenaar says, two types of new tourism trends stood out. “Firstly, incentive tourism, where employers use travel opportunities to motivate their employees, is growing. Secondly, destination marketing companies. Individual businesses who try to market their product offerings are largely ignored. 

“The way to go is by means of companies who represent a whole region or specific products in the region such as adventure products. Tourists want to know what a region has to offer, and that whole region must be marketed as a destination.”

Dippenaar said their application was approved to promote adventure tourism in the Garden Route region at the Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB) in Berlin, Germany from 6 to 10 March 2019, followed by the Moscow International Travel and Tourism (MITT) trade show in Moscow, Russia from 12 to 14 March. Contact Alewijn on 082 457 5675 or dyndev@mweb.co.za.

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