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How SA should handle its branding - SA Tourism CEO

Nov 12 2018 19:39
Carin Smith

London - Differentiation is key in the tourism industry and a destination like South Africa must be very deliberate in its branding, according to Sisa Ntshona, CEO of SA Tourism (SAT).

He took part in a panel discussion at World Travel Market (WTM) London on how to leverage destination brands to attract higher value travel consumers.

"Your brand is essentially what you are promising. You have to understand how you are placed around the world," emphasised Ntshona.

"Are you attracting cheap or high-end consumers? All of that has to be packaged correctly to make sure a tourism destination is not only sustainable, but generational."

He said SA Tourism takes a deliberate approach about which source markets to focus on due to having limited resources at its disposal.

"It is about how to keep your destination 'fresh' for the tourism markets, especially to get people to become repeat visitors," he said.

"We also have to look at how much we spend in a source market compared to how many visitors we generate from there. Partnerships are, therefore, very important for destination marketing organisations like SAT."

He said that partnerships were especially important during times of crisis for a tourism sector, such as during the Cape Town drought.

"We then had to speak to our partners and tell them what the future looks like, so they could interface with consumers," he said.

During the panel discussion Issam Kazim of Dubai Tourism said the broad approach to branding a destination does not work anymore.

"We have regular discussions to look at growth patterns around the world. We check with key players to make sure they invest in the right areas," he said.

"If you do not deliver and lose a customer, you potentially lose your reputation as a destination. We also give incentives to sales teams as part of our marketing tool. It is very important to go well beyond just the images of your destination. You must make sure you understand the needs and wants of each end user and address all concerns."

* Fin24 was a guest of SA Tourism at WTM London.

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