In a bid to establish Nelson Mandela Bay as the ideal tourism destination to the Asian Tourist Market, and to solidify relations with foreign SAT counterparts, Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism (NMBT) collaborated with South African Tourism (SAT), where SAT President to the Asia Pacific Region, Bradley Brouwer, was hosted by NMBT to experience the sights of NMB and to engage with various industry stakeholders, in an effort to boost the local economy, by capitalising on the strong influence that the Asian Tourism Market has on South Africa.
As a key representative of SAT in the Asia Pacific Region, Brouwer has played an integral part over the last 10 years to establish beneficial relations with Asian countries such as: China, Japan and Korea, where it is his core duty to market South Africa as a tourist destination to these highly populated countries, who possess the means and spend to contribute to the economy directly, enabling positive growth among local businesses and establishments, potentially creating much needed employment opportunities.
“The biggest thing is to bring as many tourists to South Africa as possible. The second thing is to make sure that they spend enough money in the country, so that our economy and country benefits,” said Brouwer.
During his stay in the city, Brouwer engaged with various business owners from the restaurant, accommodation, travel guide and retail industries, where he experienced of the local trade and shared his expertise on Asian travel culture, enabling them with the tools to successfully penetrate the market and understand what the market expects of them.
Further engagements were held with the Executive Director of Economic Development, Tourism Agriculture: Anele Qaba and the corresponding Portfolio Chairperson: Cllr Andrew Whitfield to discuss plans and ideas on how NMB could benefit from one of the largest spending nations in the world and use it to grow the local economy.
Apart from meetings and engagements with industry stakeholders, NMBT shared a true NMB Sho’t Left experience with Brouwer, by providing him with a comprehensive tour of the city, giving him plenty of memories to share with his foreign counterparts.
Some of his experiences included: a comprehensive tour of the Mohair Headquarters in Walmer, an ocean safari, where he encountered dozens of bottlenose dolphins, visits to the Addo National Park, fine dining in Stanley Street, and an extensive tour of the city’s most vibrant and colourful townships, which Brouwer believes holds huge potential that would be of great interest to the Asian tourist.
“There is a lot to offer in Nelson Mandela Bay. I’ve been here a few times but before I did all the things I’ve done in the city in the last two days, I thought NMB had nothing to offer. But when I came to experience it with NMBT, who hosted me, I saw a lot! I saw more than 1000 dolphins, I saw penguins in their abundance, and I saw different kinds of bird life during the ocean tours. On top of that, I went to the Mohair capital of the world. It’s phenomenal what was there, and these will attract tourists from all over the world,” shared Brouwer.
Despite the great strides that SAT and NMBT have made with its foreign counterparts, there are further avenues that can be improved upon to insure a much higher success rate within the Asian Tourist Market, by utilizing payment platforms such as Union Pay, similar to Mastercard and Visa, which would enable vendors to link their electronic payment platforms, to instantly accept Asian currency.
Social Media platforms such as WeChat are extremely popular in Asian countries such Japan, China and Korea (due to laws which ban mainstream media such as: Google, Facebook and Twitter) and should be utilized by destination marketing agencies and business owners to market their products on a platform that receives millions of followers.
Having digested the full NMB experience, Brouwer has made it his goal to optimally market the city as an ideal tourist destination among his Asian counterparts, working hand in hand with NMBT to grow the international tourist market, while boosting the local economy.
“After visiting the city with NMBT, I’ve seen and been exposed to a lot, and I believe the township tours can work big time here. The city has so much to offer and I do believe that any client from around the world will enjoy this, there is no doubt about. I am going to work to the best of my ability to make sure this takes off,” said Brouwer
Brouwer praised the NMBT team for their high level of efficiency and cooperation, complimenting the amazing results yielded, with minimal resources and looks forward to a fruitful partnership with city that is sure to produce positive results for the city and its stakeholders.
Photo: (L-R) Key representative of SAT in the Asia Pacific Region, Bradley Brouwer, Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism Marketing Manager, Titus Chuene and Done Louw, Trade Coordinator for Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism visit the Visitor Information Centre at the Port Elizabeth International Airport.