Cape Town - The tourism industry must take full advantage of the fast-growing digital and social media ecosystem, according to Thulani Nzima, chief executive officer at South African Tourism.
That is why e-Tourism Frontiers and SA Tourism are hosting the 6th annual E-Tourism Africa Summit at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on September 9 and 10.
“The online environment has yielded phenomenal results for our destination,” said Nzima.
“It’s exciting to note how receptive the South African trade is to using digital to grow their businesses.”
South Africa has managed to create a presence on global travel platforms like TripAdvisor and WAYN.com and all online sales relating to the country - via Expedia and affiliates - now exceed R770m annually.
SA Tourism's attract over 3.2 million online visits a year.
In 2012 over 200 000 people booked their trips online to South Africa. Of these, more than 186 000 were booked by international visitors.
In 2011, TripAdvisor users voted Cape Town Global Destination City of The Year and in 2013 Cape Town topped the TripIndex Rooms Service survey for the value for money it offers visitors.
South Africa has the largest following of any destination on the social media travel community platform WAYN.com, supported by over 415 000 friends.
When WAYN.com users were asked to vote a few months ago, they said South Africa was their "Dream Destination of the World".
South African Tourism’s combined trade and consumer-facing Facebook pages and Twitter feeds have over 747 000 friends and followers.
"The #MeetSouthAfrica Bloggers Conference that SATourism initiated at the Tourism Indaba 2013 showed the power of social media and the reach of the blogosphere as crucial to gaining a competitive advantage on the destination world stage," said Nzima.
The Bloggers Conference hosted 15 bloggers from around the world and resulted in more than 161 million opportunities for people around the world to be exposed to the South African brand.
The project has already reached over three million people on Facebook and delivered more than R34m in advertising value.
“Digital marketing continues to evolve at lightning speed,” Nzima said.
Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.