The debate on what makes Nelson Mandela Bay sexy and sellable as a tourism destination will gain traction on Tuesday when former head of Cape Town Tourism meets with industry leaders for an interactive session aimed at unlocking new possibilities in destination marketing.
Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold, now owner of Destinate – an international destination marketing agency – will discuss what it really is that makes destination marketing and tourism assets sweat so cities can reap the socio–economic rewards of tourism. She will dispel the myth that cities need a single icon, like Table Mountain, to sell tourism. She will also share global tourism trends and offer fresh perspectives on how to unlock the potential of Nelson Mandela Bay.
“The value of the tourism industry and its associated services is indisputable, and trumped in all major South African policy documents as one of the key routes to achieving real socio-economic impacts,” said Odwa Mtati, of Jupilog, the event organisers.
“But within the Nelson Mandela Bay tourism sector, we need to be more innovative in the face of certain challenges. This Downright Dialogues is about sharing best practises and local-level experiences of what works in South Africa so we can activate destination marketing in a particular way to reposition the city for major tourism sector growth.”
MBDA chief executive Pierre Voges said as the city developed new tourism products and revitalized others, it was time for the private sector to embrace the changes and look at “out of the box” possibilities in the tourism sector.
“The tourism industry is a crucial cog in the economic wheel of Nelson Mandela Bay and contributes significantly to the GDP and employment. However the city is primarily characterised by lack of profile as a tourism destination,” said Voges.
“This is hampering the development and sharing of strong, clear and meaningful messages about the city at local, national and international levels. As a result Nelson Mandela Bay is hamstrung by an identity crisis that needs urgent resolution to bring clarity and the ability to move forward and define its space within the South African tourism context. Downright Dialogues aims to open the floor to discussion on how this might take shape.”
Du Toit-Helmbold was Cape Town Tourism chief executive for close to 10 years, and has more than 15 years’ practical tourism and marketing experience. Under her leadership, Cape Town Tourism won critical acclaim as a destination marketing organisation.
“The world has undergone dramatic change over the last few years and this has had a fundamental impact on the travel industry,” said Du Toit-Helmbold.
“In my opinion there has never been a more exciting time to be in tourism and destination marketing. If destinations are able to adapt and innovate, use their assets wisely, put the citizen and the customer at the centre of destination marketing and equip themselves with the knowledge and tools needed to stand out, they will prosper.
“I am excited to participate in the Downright Dialogues and look forward to playing a role in unlocking the incredible potential of Nelson Mandela Bay.”
Downright Dialogues takes place on Tuesday October 8 at the Athenaeum Building, in Central, Port Elizabeth from 8am to 10am. Attendance at the event is free, but space is limited, and participants need to reserve their place.
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