Know what tourism’s contribution is to SA’s GDP? In the tourism game, but unsure of how to improve your marketing efforts and grow your business?

Tourism should be a bigger contributor to GDP
The answer to the first question is surprisingly low  — 8.6%. Yet tourism has the most potential to make a significant contribution, considering the magnificently diverse country we live in, and the extensive range of experiences it offers. From gastronomic excellence to extreme adventures, majestic mountains to idyllic coastal retreats, and a heady mix of interesting cultures — we often forget how much we have to offer. So how do we grow this sector, and make it desirable to global travellers? (And yes, this includes the classic socks-and-sandals tourist!)

The main barrier to growth in general, unfortunately, is bureaucracy. But there’s progress, last month the Department of Home Affairs announced that it’ll allow an additional 7 countries to visit without a visa, removing an onerous ‘barrier to entry’. But there are ways to overcome the other barriers.

The challenge independent tourism players are facing
Technology has introduced exciting marketing opportuning, along with an array of new challenges that have had the greatest impact on the smaller players. Global aggregators – like Airbnb and – have the global reach and budgetary means to control the narrative, search engine listings, and other aspects which have an influence on the choices travellers make. Add to this the revenue-share aspect, along with SA’s economic, environmental and crime scenarios, and the picture gets more daunting.

Here’s a solution … or at least, the start of one
The answer to question number two is: we hear you, and why we’ve launched our Tourism Marketing Forum on 5 September. The event’s main focus is to address the current marketing challenges faced by the independent players in the tourism industry, and provide practical solutions, tips and advice to help level the playing field and facilitate greater success for everyone.

Digital marketing has introduced an uncharted landscape that’s difficult to navigate when you have a small team, and even smaller budget when it comes to upskilling or attending lavish international conferences. But it’s a cost-effective discipline that can deliver incredible results.

Introducing one of our 3 incredible speakers
We’re thrilled to announce the first of our three speakers; André Van Kets, co-founder and Digital Director of online-travel company Discover Africa Group. Established in 2002, Discover Africa Group helps thousands of travellers plan their holidays and safaris to Africa each year through their platforms and

With almost two decades in the field, Andre will share some of his most useful and game-changing tips. Learn from someone who knows what works and what doesn’t; find out more about his team’s more innovative projects like HerdTracker: an app that tracks the Great Wildebeest Migration in near real-time, and TrekSouthAfrica a project that has collectively added 170 of South Africa’s most spectacular hiking trails and tourism attractions onto Google’s StreetView dataset.

Check out our Facebook event for more information and updates on our Tourism Marketing Forum, and grab your ticket on Quicket.

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