A group of Knysna Tourism members will attend the World Travel Market in London next month (6-8 November) to help promote the Greater Knysna area to the UK market. This is the leading global event for the travel industry, and will be followed by a UK Roadshow (13 – 16 November) to visit travel agents who will not be at WTM, in their own cities.
Chairperson of Knysna Tourism, Elmay Bouwer is already in Europe, having left Knysna last week together with Nicole Tunmer, (the Featherbed Co), and Lyle Katzen, (Afrovibe and Afroventures Tours & Safaris), to attend the South African Tourism Nordics Roadshow: Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland (23 - 27 October), where Madison Manor and Knysna Hollow are also being represented. They will then go on to join the SAT Netherlands Roadshow (30 October – 3 November).
The trio arrived in Copenhagen on 21 October and received a warm welcome from SA Embassy first secretary Matlhaba Mogadingwane and Abby Swartz, SA Tourism marking and promotions manager: Nordics.
They will be joined in the Netherlands by Evelyn Pepler from Ocean Odyssey and in London by Sue Mills of Belvidere Manor Hotel.
Said Bouwer: “I am representing Knysna Tourism as part of the requirements of our Service Level Agreement with the Knysna Municipality in order to reach new, international markets. The trade shows and roadshows are a wonderful platform to interact with the tour operators in these countries who are bringing tourists to South Africa, to ensure that they include the Greater Knysna area and surroundings in their itineraries.”
The Nordics roadshow is the inaugural show for SA Tourism in this source market, and Tunmer believes it will attract all the main operators. “Research has shown a very positive growth in this market which, coupled with the favourable exchange rate, is sure to result in a positive return on investment not only for Featherbed Co but also for Knysna,” she said. “It is also extremely important that we reassure both our current and new operators that post the fires we are still in business and that the Featherbed Nature Reserve facilities will be rebuilt, rejuvenated and reopened. “
Lyle Katzen said that Afrovibe, partnered with Afroventures Tours & Safaris “has brewed an African experience specifically for the Nordic adventure-seeking market. As Garden Route and Eastern Cape specialists we aim to establish more relationships with international agents looking to sell destination South Africa,” he explained.
Evelyn Pepler said that, as someone who is “very passionate about our incredible town and unique destination,” she is very proud to be joining the SAT Netherlands roadshow and WTM London. “I love what I do and value the opportunity to showcase Knysna to our future international visitors.”
Belvidere Manor’s Sue Mills said she is proud to be attending WTM in London to continue the international marketing programme not only for the hotel but also for Knysna and the Garden Route. “Despite a traditionally strong core of support in the UK, our clients need to be assured that it is business as usual for Knysna after the recent fires, and we are looking to grow our brand and not become complacent. Having also learned that clients are looking for winter sun in South Africa since the recent hurricanes decimated so much of the Caribbean, we need to show them everything that our iconic area has to offer.”
Knysna & Partners will be attending a number of trade and road shows over the next four months in Gauteng, the Netherlands, and the UK to promote the Knysna brand. Chairperson of Knysna & Partners, Elmay Bouwer, said that, “In light of the recent fires, it is particularly important for us to get the message out to the world that Knysna is open for business.”
Between September and November this year, Knysna will be represented at the Gauteng Getaway Show (23 – 25 September), the SAT Netherlands Roadshow (30 October – 3 November), World Travel Market London (6 – 8 November), which is the leading global event for the travel industry, and a UK Roadshow (13 – 16 November) to visit travel agents who will not be at WTM, in their own cities.
Bouwer said that Knysna & Partners aimed to show the world, including South Africa, that Knysna is still a top tourism destination and visitors can expect the full Knysna experience, despite the devastating fires in June.
“The international trade shows are a wonderful platform to interact with the tour operators in these countries who are bringing tourists to South Africa, to ensure that they include the Garden Route and Knysna in their itineraries,” she said.
“By attending the SAT Netherlands Roadshow, we are also building on and strengthening our relationship with South African Tourism.”
Bouwer said that the South African market was also very important to Knysna.
“According to the latest Stats SA statistical release, last year South African tourists spent R7,7 billion travelling in their own country,” she said. “We would like to increase our share of that market. The Getaway Show is ideal for reaching those who are planning a local holiday.
“We would like these shows to be a collaborative marketing effort with our members and if they come on board and support us with their participation we will be able to give one of our staff members, Keagon Borchards, the opportunity to attend WTM in London, as part of our commitment to upskilling our staff.”