GEORGE NEWS - George Municipality’s Tourism Department has various scenarios planned for the recovery of the tourism sector amid current uncertainty about protocols from Government that the hard-hit industry is waiting for.
"There are no answers at this stage, and although some are of the opinion that we are reaching a peak of the curve of the pandemic, it is just not possible to tell," Tourism Chief Joan Shaw told the George Herald.
Rewriting strategies in digital space
In the meantime, the tourism office is currently focusing their business continuation planning on a more digital space.
"We are rewriting our strategies for the next three years accordingly. Although many events are going ‘virtual’, one has to consider that a great many of our target audience are now over-dosing on digital, and long rather for the quiet open spaces of what nature has to offer.
"We are working on a two-pronged attack, of a balance of digital and non-digital projects."
* Growing the Tourism Department's digital footprint to reach a larger audience;
* Planning an online tourism conference to help members to better position themselves in a new digital space;
* Reducing the bricks and mortar offices and offering a mobile solution for information provision at events and busy destinations;
* Planning ‘virtual roadshows’ with tour operators to educate them on the unique products on offer in George, Wilderness and Uniondale.
* Special offer deals: Shaw says in the non-digital space they are also working on special offer deals that will be released once the domestic market travel opens up. This is focused around the new school holiday calendar and will then be marketed extensively through social media and radio campaigns.
"We are using this time to increase research and data management to better reach our target markets and planning events for 2021, when hopefully things will slowly get back to normal, albeit a ‘new’ normal."
Equip local communities
The department is also streamlining and re-focusing priorities to equip local communities to be able to host more tourists once the international markets open again.
"There is no crystal ball, but we are compiling plans to assist in combatting the loss of any businesses and associated jobs, as best we can. To date we have learned of only two businesses in Wilderness that have closed down.
"We thank our members that faithfully share information regarding the industry. The relevance of our response is directly linked to the accuracy of information received and we appeal to all our members to continue to keep us updated on their intentions to close down permanently."
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