Knysna Tourism chairperson Elmay Bouwer has been on a nonstop campaign to promote Greater Knysna at various trade and road shows in Europe and the UK for the past few weeks.
The campaign kicked off in October with a five-day SA Tourism (SAT) Nordics roadshow to Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland with Nicole Tunmer (the Featherbed Co) and Lyle Katzen, (Afrovibe and Afroventures Tours & Safaris). Madison Manor and Knysna Hollow were also represented.-
Says Tunmer: “The Nordics show was groundbreaking for Knysna as a destination. This market has above average disposable income and does long-haul travel twice a year. The fact that Knysna and Sedgefield were both represented definitely put the focus on our region. South Africa as a destination is competing with Thailand, but I believe with all the effort put into these shows and with the SAT Megafam of 100 agents planned for March next year, we will channel interest and buying power to South Africa and ultimately the Garden Route as this market has expressed a need for a new sunny destination.”-
Bouwer then flew to the Netherlands for the SAT Netherlands roadshow where she was joined by Evelyn Pepler from Ocean Odyssey. The show ended on 3 November and the next flight was to London for World Travel Market (WTM) from 6 to 8 November, the leading global event for the travel industry, where they were joined again by Tunmer, Sue Mills (Belvidere Manor), and representatives of Rex hotel (aha group), Lakeside lodge and spa, Protea hotel Knysna Quays, and Conrad Pezula, as well as Knysna Tourism’s newly appointed international representative Robert Schaerer.-
Bouwer and the other Knysna reps have seen literally hundreds of agents and answered dozens of questions about the Garden Route and Greater Knysna area. They have also had the opportunity to meet with local SA embassies, and SAT representatives in these key markets.-
The final part of the campaign was a four-day UK roadshow from 13 to 16 November to visit travel agents in their own cities.
Says Bouwer: “It was very important for Knysna Tourism to do this trip. The Wesgro business index report for 2016 shows that 63% of visitors to Knysna are international. In one month we reached 490 tour operators and travel agents in five different countries. This will ensure business from these markets from 2019 onwards.
“It was the first time in nine years that we’ve attended any international trade or road shows and it was fantastic to hear that Knysna and the Garden Route are bucket list destinations for international travellers.”