A total of 35 Knysna businesses were represented at the hugely successful World Travel Market Africa (WTMA) in Cape Town last week, which was attended by over 5,000 travel industry professionals.
The exhibition is Africa’s leading and only Business-to-Business (B2B) exhibition for inbound and outbound African travel and tourism markets.
The local businesses were sharing the Knysna Tourism stand, or they were represented by their managing companies, alternatively they were exhibiting as individuals, or they were roaming the floor.
Chairperson of Knysna Tourism, Elmay Bouwer said that this was the first time in eight years that Knysna Tourism has had their own stand. “We were very excited to be sharing our stand with the Knysna Elephant Park, Knysna River Club, Blackwaters River Lodge, Destination Garden Route, Simola Hotel, Country Club and Spa, and Peggy’s Township Tours.
“It was a great way for Ebrahim Windwaai and Keagon Borchards from the Knysna Tourism office to interact with the travel trade, make new relationships, and share what we as a destination have to offer and how we have recovered after the fires. In all, they collected the contact details of over 100 tour operators and agents.
“We also used the opportunity to market the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival.”
During the exhibition, Elmay Bouwer did a presentation on behalf of Knysna Tourism about the role of a tourism office in the face of a natural disaster. Ypie Kingma of Destination Garden Route spoke about the role of the private sector in the time of a crisis.
Feedback from the Knysna exhibitors is extremely positive. Mariska Swart from Knysna River Club said that “it was in one word, excellent, and more so because we were there with Knysna Tourism and other great products from Knysna.”
Ester Reid of Knysna Elephant Park said that “WTM was a great opportunity to introduce Knysna Elephant Park to new operators from across the globe as well as reinforcing our business ties to the more established operators.”
Peggy Dlephu of Peggy’s Township Tours said that it was “a very fruitful networking opportunity and a great way to show the world what we offer in Knysna.”
Ypie Kingma of Destination Garden Route said it was extremely valuable for the establishments she represents. “We have already done the first site inspections with operators in Knysna as a result of the show, with more to come!”
According to Ebrahim Windwaai, there was a large presence from emerging markets whose buyers were at the show and, in particular, the Brazilian market showed huge interest in Knysna.
Keagon Borchards said that it was fantastic to see all the Garden Route local tourism offices represented at the show. “Together we are a force to be reckoned with!” he said.
Knysna Tourism will again be representing the area at Indaba in Durban from 8 – 10 May.