Hosted by: The Cape Country Meander
Day 1: Tuesday, 26 September 2017
Opening Function - Kom ons Braai | Sponsored by Northern Cape Tourism
Story-teller 1 | Alison Towner | Great White Sharks and Orca interaction
Alison gave an interesting talk about the interaction between Great White Sharks and Orcas. She made an ironic observation about how we view these predators in their natural environments. She says she commonly refers to it as a “backward zoo” with humans being in cages and the animals looking in. This insightful talk noted the common misconception of how we usually associate Orcas with our favourite, childhood feel-good movie, Free Willy and Great White Sharks with the well-known, riveting ocean-thriller, Jaws. Alison’s research shows that this is in actual fact massively inaccurate. Orcas have proven to be the only natural predators to the Great White Shark. She demonstrates this when tracking two Orcas in particular, Port and Starboard, named for their identifiable characteristic collapsed dorsal fins. After tracking their pattern of destruction and mutilation of Great White Sharks, she now refers to them as Hannibal and Lector, pointing out that they have a unique taste for liver which they extract with precision and technique.
Story-teller 2 | Dirk Pienaar | Khomani San
Dirk gave an insightful and meaningful look into the typical life of a Khomani San. He started this with an emotive story taking the whole audience back in time by asking them to close their eyes, listen to his voice, and follow his story with the power of imagination. He tells the story of the last bushman born in the Kalahari and how he walked the desert. This young boy, born so many years ago, died four and half years ago now. He tells the story Oupa Dawid Kruiper, who led the Khomani San community to victory on Human Rights Day in 1999, and how he has been a father, grandfather, story-teller, teacher, healer and visionary leader.
Story-teller 3 | Isabel Wolf-Gillespie | Riding for Horses
Isabel shared a very special message with the audience. She told the story of The Hummingbird, or more commonly known as the Sunbird in South Africa. The story tells a tale of an ancient forest that was home to many different species of animals who lived happily and in unison for many, many years. Then one sad and fateful day, there was a fire. In panic, despair and with very heavy hearts, paws and hoofs, the animals fled to a far-off stream for sanctuary. There they stayed while watching the flames grow higher and their home burn brighter and bolder as it spread. The hummingbird, small and petite, looked at his animal kin and decided that he had to at least try. He took a beak full of water, flew over the fire and released the few droplets from his beak into the raging flames below. The fire blazed on as he continued to do this for hours on end. All the animals watching him, told him he was wasting his time and that his efforts were futile, to which he replied, “I do what I can.” He further explained that he would rather do something than nothing. And herein lies the message to each and every person, “Be a Hummingbird!
Closing | Darryl Erasmus | South African Tourism
‘We Do Tourism’ is the new SA Tourism campaign officially launched at the Tourism Indaba in Durban earlier this year. Darryl explained the campaign benefits and the thinking behind it. Statistically, South Africa has less than 1% of the global tourism market which allows for ample opportunity to increase this percentage. The benefits of increasing tourism within South Africa are increased gross domestic product (GDP) and job creation, to name a few. The concept of ‘We Do Tourism’ is to get South African’s excited about tourism and to rally behind it by getting involved on a personal level. They are encouraging people to seize the opportunity and not only be personally invested in tourism within South Africa, but to become a part of that tourism in any way that they can, which can be a small an act as being friendly and welcoming to foreigners visiting our country. He ended off asking everyone to sign a massive pledge, indicating their support for We Do Tourism.
Day 2: Wednesday, 27 September 2017
Official Opening | Welcoming | Johan Radcliffe
Johan’s official opening of the first ever SA Adventure Summit was honest, humbling and certainly in keeping with the theme. You don’t get more real than the personal story that he shared with everyone in attendance. A year ago, Johan was diagnosed with cancer and he immediately thought of two things that he wanted to do before he kicked the bucket – if this is where things were headed. He wanted to be a Guinness World Record holder and he wanted to travel to Alaska. In true Johan style and with only the spirit and determination of an adventurer, he achieved both. Playing tennis for a whopping 59 hours straight, he made it in to the Guinness World Records. His good friend and companion, Marthinus van der Westhuizen helped make Alaska possible. After avoiding him for months, and realizing that the only way to appease Johan was to become his cuddle-buddy, the two made it to Alaska and back with a greater appreciation for life and body heat. And this wonderful and insightful 3 day SA Adventure Summit would never have been dreamed of without this life adventure and friendship. The dream was born and right then, was written in the stars resulting in this marked event and epic life slogan, “Keep It Real!”
Official Opening speaker | Fikile Hlatshwayo - Author of Blacks do Caravan
In true South African spirit, Fikile started her introduction by apologising for her lack of volume having lost her voice somewhere above the waterfalls and flying through the skies whilst enjoying her Cape Canopy Tour, ziplining through the Elgin mountains. This fiercely challenging and highly spirited individual embraced a phrase that had the whole crowd going; ‘VIVA!’ With a comedic touch and a passionate story, she shared her experience of camping with her family as a black, South African woman. She explained how life is all about perceptions and she was adamant to change the stereotypical view of black people, their culture and the association with camping. She shared with the audience pieces of her journey as detailed in her book, including her logic that if snakes don’t bite white people they won’t bite black people either and the time a white woman tipped her R10 when she came out of the ablutions at the camp site. Fikile stated that one of South Africa’s biggest challenges is racial division and she encouraged everyone to not just talk about it, but rather find solutions. She said that we must unite to build South Africa and find the rainbow nation and one way to do this is to bring adventure into the townships. Fikile says that black people, as a community, would embrace adventure if only they knew what was available. She reckons that white people enjoy camping so must because the outdoor lifestyle and closeness to nature brings out their inner lioness, very subtly suggesting that it would bring a man and woman “closer together”. She makes a compelling argument for everyone to face their fears, embrace adventure and unit our country.
Keynote Speaker | Darron Raw - Swazi Trails
With over thirty years in the industry, it came as no surprise to the audience that Darron had a few stories to tell and points to prove. His talk, in keeping with the theme of the summit, was keeping it real and not getting hung up on the smaller things that life sometimes throws at you. He suggested the whilst getting to know one another, delegates could call each other as “Ngozi”, meaning “danger”, a borrowed concept from Swaziland where the surname “Dlamini” is used to address anyone without causing offence. Darron spoke zealously about adventure and about common stigmas that adventure tourism sometimes develops, especially in Africa. Quoting statistics released by an Australian survey, Darron mockingly points out that a person is eight times more likely to die falling off a chair than off of a skateboard. And with this, he warns everyone not to fall asleep during any of these talks, asking vigilant attendees to sound the alarm word “F&*K” at the top of their voices, to ensure everyone’s bums stay firmly in their seats. He also points out more seriously that there is a move away from adventure in the developed world, through the removal of individual decision-making and responsibility for taking risks, and that this could be responsible for many of the world’s anti-social behavioral trends. He emphasized that societies are being denied adventure which means people are being robbed of an integral part of their human evolution. He ended off with a very adult joke, which embodied “keeping it real” like no other, and encouraged everyone to live comfortably with uncertainty and risk and to avoid the trap of “dumbing” adventure down.
Our Government and Adventure Tourism | (TED talk style)
The NDT and Adventure Tourism | Thabo Manetsi - NDT
Thabo Manetsi opened the floor with a very interesting and factual presentation showing us how the government plans to implement, unpack and unlock an entire mandate of adventure tourism within Southern Africa. He states that tourism occurs naturally and that people will travel no matter what. In saying this though, they want to help build and guide the industry as best they can. They want to be the lead role in driving the industry by joining the different communities and products together. One of their national strategies is to push the domestic market, making adventure tourism cost effective and affordable for locals as well. The want to maintain travel and tourism in the low seasons as well as high seasons allowing them to float the communities during the difficult times and therefore giving them full time jobs. They ensured the attendees that South Africa is the fastest emerging adventure tourism destination in the world and therefore an opportunistic market to drive.
National Parks and Adventure Tourism | Glen Phillips – SANparks
Glen Phillips spoke on behalf of SANparks and what their primary message is. He explained that SANParks are all about going beyond boundaries, literally and figuratively. They strive to be hands on and help break down the boundaries of adventure tourism. They want to help build and create a safe space for adventure within the protected areas. A common misconception is that because they work within protected areas, they will never be considered adventurous enough. But in actual fact, they stress that they can be, it just means that they have to be very responsible in the way they do it. Glen says it needs to be sustainable for both the area and the industry. They would also like to assist in changing the demographics in their parks therefore building the local communities and working together integrating the land use.
Cape Nature and Adventure Tourism | Wilfred Williams - Cape Nature
Cape Nature believes in adventure tourism and they have a tourism vision. Their vision is to share the benefits of outdoor adventure within South Africa. They feel so strongly about this particular industry that they have invested R200 million on infrastructures and have created strong alliances with businesses to help create and develop these different initiatives. They feel that there are four main spaces within South Africa that can help boost this industry. These focuses are adventure tourism, green conference facilities, the film industry and gay multulisation. Wilfred explains that they would ideally like to add tourism programs to heritage sites therefore expanding the activity base and making sure that the community benefits from the activities as well. He also explains that they would also like to improve their mountain bike trails so much so that they have put out a call for any proposals to adventure companies to add adventure activities to all their properties.
Building a successful adventure guiding sector | Panel Discussion
A panel discussion took place to discuss the building of a successful adventure guiding sector and some really great and pertinent points were brought forward. Overall, the common feeling was that the legislation needs to be simplified and all the inconsistencies need to be removed. Guiding is a vital necessity and believed to be the best job in the world, assisting bringing modern man back into nature all over the world. It’s a very important role and every guide needs to understand their role not only as a guide but as a role model, understanding the environment and the impact that humankind has on it.
The importance of a good guide | Anton Lategan - Eco Training
Anton’s opening is as real as it gets as he explains that a guide is a leader, a guardian of nature, an interpreter and an honest host to visitors. Anton spoke with a lot of passion about guides and motivates that Eco Training’s mission is to educate people on the importance of the wilderness, and especially the processes that drive the natural ecosystems of the world. He says that they strive to encourage and educate everyone that participates in their programs and hopes that arming them with the correct knowledge and teaching them about what it is to be a guide will result in the difference needed in the world to look after our planet. Not only do they want to arm the guides with these necessary tools within their own day to day lives, but hopefully they will share and teach this to others, who will go on to do the same.
A legislative overview of the guiding sector | Uveshnee Pillay - Director Tour Guiding NDT
As Uveshnee explains, tourism is fast becoming a key industry to many developing as well as developed countries. This is especially true in South Africa, and it has the over whelming potential of even further growth. With such a large influx of travelers, it has become necessary for the governments to implement more responsive and responsible tourism policies, such as the tour guide legislation. The legislation is a set of guidelines and rules that are meant to give the guiding sector some structure and can be seen as legally binding acts and laws passed by the government. Uveshnee stresses the importance of this legislation, especially in such a fast-growing industry, to ensure that the levels of guiding and quality of service are standardized and meet suitable expectations when welcoming the influx of visitors to our country.
Training & Curriculum Development | Martha Collette - CATHSSETA
CATHSSETA stands for Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality, Sports Sector Education and Training. The function of CATHSSETA is to quality assure the training for guides. They ensure legal compliance in terms of the acts governing skills development in South Africa. When visiting providers, they check that they are complying with national hours and that they are using registered assessors and moderators to ensure certification is possible, which is a requirement for registration. Martha explains why training and development in the guiding sector are so important and why CATHSSETA implement their programs for these guides. She explains that it is vital that all tour guides require the correct skills within the industry. She says that they need to be able to conduct tours of specific localities or attractions and that they need to provide these tourists with all the information they would require whether it be cultural, historical or contemporary. Martha explains that essentially the tour guide will be responsible for ensuring that the visitor connects and engages with the destination and therefore making sure they are having the best experience possible, which is the end goal of all guides.
An industry perspective | Marie-Louise - Gravity Adventures
Marie-Louise takes a deeper delve into the practical ramifications of legislation and how it actually effects adventure operators from a supplier point of view. She points out how frustrating it can be when industry professionals, such as themselves, have to go through what seems to be a very complicated process that takes a lot of steps and time to make head way and get the necessary approvals. In her experience, there are a lot of hoops to jump through in order to get any form of accreditation and she would really like to highlight the difficulties that she has experienced with the necessary government departments to try and get a smoother and more fluid process in place. Marie-Lousie explains that to make things easier for all parties, she would like to see the process of the legislation simplified, less inconsistencies and to see less change to regulations which would allow an easier and more comprehensive understanding of the processes and requirements for all involved.
Qualifications for guide registration | Walther Meyer - Adventure Qualifications Network
Walther describes why it’s important to be a fully qualified tour guide and why all guides operating in South Africa have to be legally registered with DEDAT. Apart from the obvious, being that it is illegal to not be qualified with having a National Qualification in Tourist Guiding, it also means that after successfully completing this qualification, the learners will be able to arrange and organise their own guided activities and create their own programs for groups of tourists. Walther explains that after obtaining a legal National Qualification, they will be efficiently able to interact with clients according to their experience and training. All qualified tourist guides need to register as a tour guide which he explains is important because having a registered tour guide as an ambassador of the country ensures visitors a positive understanding and outlook, thus offering tourists the most information as a result of the guide’s knowledge, skills, values and qualities and therefore enhancing the tourists overall experience and ensuring safe adventure tours..
Research on tourist guide policy I Karen Harris – Professor University of Pretoria
Since 2012 the NDT has commissioned the University of Pretoria’s Department of Historical and Heritage Studies to carry out research on a range of topics including cross-border tourism, film tourism and more recently the tourist guiding sector. Given the extremely intricate and layered nature of the industry, as well as the complex systems for tourist guide accreditation, registration and monitoring currently in place, the research is looking to streamline processes, to facilitate the sector and to suggest innovative ways to enhance it. An analysis of the development of the legislation and regulations as well as the various rationales for the changes that have been introduced points to a system that remains unaligned. There is a historical footprint of federalism within the sector which obstructs cohesion and progress, while the legislation regarding skills development has had a cataclysmic impact on the sector. Moreover, the division of the sector into the three hermetically sealed categories of culture, nature and adventure, appears artificial and problematic obviating against the synergy that should prevail. Other aspects requiring innovative attention include widening the base to employ and empower more people in the industry – in sum, to consider ways in which the tourist guiding sector can contribute to the Ministerial vision “to ensure tourism rises and that people of South Africa rise with it”.
Environmental Impact Studies, the Why and How | Presentation
Environmental Affairs | Bernard Niemand – Department of Environmental Affairs
Bernard gave a very insightful look into Environmental Impact Studies and how the assessment is structured. An EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) is often essential within the Adventure Tourism industry, largely because of where it takes place (the great outdoors) and the environment it affects (nature). Very basically, the Department of Environmental Affairs will first assess the impact any development would have prior to commencement. They then consult and encourage public participation with any interested and affected parties. Their duty is to essentially provide the decision makers with information and feedback. Once all of this is gathered, they identify the possible positives and negative impacts and suggest any alternative avenues that could be explored. Bernard points out that what they do is important and necessary. Why? Because biodiversity creates economic value. He also gives all attendees a helpful link to identify locations that have been deemed appropriate to develop and ones that should be avoided.
How to do an EIA | Ross - Holland and Associates Environmental Consultants
Ross certainly got some heads to turn when he went in to the practical ramifications of not getting this procedure right! He explains to the attendees that this is all about understanding one’s obligations and managing one’s risk. The procedural framework for an environmental assessment can result in two possible routes should a company or person trigger the need for an assessment. He goes in to detail explaining these two avenues, with the one being the Basic Assessment and the other being Scoping and EIA process. He then explains what could be expected if one were to be found non-compliant. And this is where things got interesting. All of sudden, heads whipped up, backs were straightened and ears were turned… There are the legal ramifications which could be a financial penalty of up to R10 million or if it resulted in a criminal conviction, up to 10 years in prison. If one were to admit guilt and agree to an administrative rectification, the fee would be a maximum of a R5 million fine. Worst of all though, and well known in this industry, the reputational damage is simply not worth the risk. For this reason, Ross encourages everyone to always, “Get it right, people!” Ross recommends managing your risk via undertaking an Environmental Due Diligence Investigation prior to undertaking any new venture.
RISK management - The how and why | Presentation
The indemnity Form | Louis Nel - Louis the Lawyer
Louis spoke all about the indemnity form which got more than a few hand raises as the end of the discussion. A hot topic for sure, he went through all the do’s and don’ts of what should be included, what could be excluded and what was absolutely essential in terms of managing risk through the use of an indemnity form. Louis suggests that the earliest a client is notified of the indemnity form and the information it contains, the better. He suggests that mention of it should also be in the company Terms & Conditions (T&C’s). He states that the best way to manage risk is to have a clause that limits liability in both the company T&C’s and the indemnity form. A more ambiguous topic which Louis cleared up in no time was Group Tours. Very simply, he says that unless each person on the tour does not sign the indemnity form, then your risk is high, unless each person has signed power over to one representative. This includes minors, which in South Africa is under 18 years of age. A guardian can be any adult looking after a minor but one would need to ensure that there is a consent letter from each respective parent or guardian. Finally, the much-debated digital consent form came up. Louis, with years of expertise and knowledge in his corner, assured all that for the moment, there is enough legislation for a digital tick box to be used and still sufficiently manage one’s risk. Finally, he stresses the importance of customer briefings, both in advance and upon arrival, to ensure that were the indemnity & T&C to fail to protect the operator, common law & voluntary acceptance of risk could be a saving factor.
The SOP | Mark Brown - Canopy Tours
Mark spoke about the need and growth of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). He speaks from experience and his well-earned proficiency on the subject is a result of trial and error and a massively grown company from where it all started. He explained that when assessing the Risk Matrix, it is important to note that risk will always pull away from the SOP a bit, and that is normal. Nothing is ever 100% safe guarded, especially in the adventure industry. He also explains the importance of modifying one’s SOP as time goes by with the introduction of new, better and modernized systems, processes and practices. Mark identifies a gap in the market which is challenging to individuals within the adventure industry and that is bridging the gap between the people who need SOP’s and those that write it. Usually on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of what is considered safe, standard and possible, he speaks of the need to meet somewhere in the middle to ensure a safer and healthier adventure tourism environment. He ends off explaining that once risk is mitigated, adventure tourism is a much safer and happier place to be.
The Broker | Andre du Toit - SATIB
Andre points out the importance for every individual and that the tourism community must extend to include vital support roles, these being the insurers, the broker, the legal experts, the travellers and the operators. He says it is always preferential and beneficial to deal with a specialist broker who understands your business and can therefore represent your needs and requirements in the best possible way. Andre goes on to discuss the exposures you will face during an unfortunate “incident” which can cripple your business, especially in adventure tourism industry. He suggests that one should never leave the management if an incident up to one’s staff, this increases your liability exposure. He explains that it is not fair to expect this of them. He also stresses that an incident management team is absolutely not the same thing as an emergency response team such as ER24, Netcare911 and so on. The way an incident is handled will speak volumes about one’s company and the way in which the public views the company moving forward, as well as each individual’s assessment of the company and its reputation.
The Insurer | Juan Coetzee - H&L Insurers
An interesting introduction of H&L Insurers started with a comedic public toll by show of hands reflecting the general attendee’s opinions of insurers. Needless to say, it was in line with how one usually feels about a sales call. Juan explains that as an insurer, the more information they have, the more they can help. Too much information is better than less, and he stresses this often throughout his talk. He also stresses the importance of doing business with someone who understands your business. As a specialist underwriter, H&L Insurers try and create a specialized product for a specialized industry, such as adventure. He continues to explain that general insurers and for general industries which is why premiums are so high for companies within the adventure tourism industry using general brokers. They perceive most adventure activities to be high risk. This is where he comes back to the importance of giving as much information as possible. Juan then ends off with a thought provoking statement, encouraging everyone to make sure that when it comes to selecting insurers, to make sure that they are asking the right questions too, as reputation is everything in this industry.
The incident | Charmaine Beukes - White Shark Projects
Most people in the adventure tourism industry already know this story very well, but nothing stopped anyone form listening more closely and concentrating a little more as soon as Charmaine stood up to talk. The dreaded “incident”, a boat carrying 40 clients capsized on a random Sunday in April 2008. The worst possible outcome, 3 of these clients lost their lives. After an investigation, it was determined that the incident was indeed an unavoidable accident caused by a rogue wave. So, what now? We pick up the pieces and try our best to rebuild and move forward. Or, you can rather be sued for $20million 18 months later, which is exactly what happened here. A grueling total of an 8-year legal battle saw Charmaine and her team at the White Shark Projects go through High Court, an appeals process and then finally ending with a dismal at the Supreme Court. After all was said and done, Charmaine says there was no winner. After this most unfortunate experience, Charmaine offers advice to her fellow colleagues which, coming from someone in her position is more valuable than gold. She says to choose your insurer wisely, to know that your broker is actually your ally and that the advice they give you is very valuable. She also says to not talk to the media directly, but rather use qualified and emotionally removed parties to do this for you. She ends off with a quote from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which somewhat turned the somber mood around again, “It will all be good in the end. And if it’s not good, it’s probably not the end.”
Scared Clients | How to deal with scared clients | Panel discussion (or was it?)
Rob Coutts | Eva Gilliam | Sipumziwe Lucwaba | Steve Larter | Tamith Hatting – The Long Shots
This was a panel discussion like no other. At various points of the entire conference, attendees listened more closely to topics and discussions that they thought more pertinent to their interests. Regardless of who was paying closer attention to this particular topic, everyone was ears tuned, eyes forward and interest peaked after each speaker’s introduction. What really grabbed absolutely everyone’s attention in the audience was Eva’s introduction of her company, XXX Adventures – adventure travel for adults only. Audiences were shocked, from Eva explaining just how adult travel takes place including group tours (use your imagination!), Rob saying that the most adventurous tour they offer is locking travelers in a warehouse with a raging bull (literally!) and the youngest ever solo bungee jump being an 18-month old child (with parental consent of course), it THANKFULLY turned out to be a simple act of comedic relief. Johan had organised The Long Shots, an impromptu comedy act, to travel from Cape Town and surprise the attendees with some much needed laughter and lightheartedness after a long day of serious information sharing. Although they really had everyone going for a while, it was the perfect end to a great day.
Day 3: Thursday, 28 September 2017
How our SA companies are keeping it REAL | TED Talk Style
All Out Adventures | Chris Mecklenborg
A powerful and meaningful talk was given by Chris about being bold and how to best tune into the next move most suitable for you. He says that great ideas are most often lost due to the delay in taking action. He further explains that when you have a great idea, you need to act on it immediately because otherwise your body senses this hesitation and starts to shut down. He advises that when we have one of these ideas, to count down the seconds and then move towards the action. He motivates that whatever you believe in, you can do it, if only you are bold and take action. He breaks down his key word ‘bold’ for all to see and understand; B is to believe in yourself, O is to organise your life, L is to limit the amount of distractions you have and finally D is to delegate the low priority stuff in your life. He encourages all in attendance to always expand yourself and keep going for what you want most. Chris believes in discovery and that as a human, you are always a work in progress and that is how we keeps it real.
Untouched Adventures | Marthinus van der Westhuizen
Marthinus gives us a stimulating and challenging talk, making the whole audience realise and remember the reason that travel and adventure is so successful. He reminds us that it is all about people. He explains that when your world revolves around money and numbers, you are no longer connected to the human element and therefore lose sight of the bigger picture. He exclaims that people are what life is about! He says that they are what business is about, family and friends. One’s family and friends are the ones that we all work hard for and so it is only right that we remember them throughout these endeavors. He encourages us to always make it about the people in our lives and motivates that if we make people the center and the reason for what we do, it will outweigh the numbers every time. In travel and adventure people are the core and the reason for us to be real and authentic.
Transfrontier Parks Destinations | Eleanor Muller
Transfrontier Parks Destinations are passionate about the development of a viable and sustainable community-based tourism industry. Eleanor explains that their goal is to balance the needs of a local community with the needs of nature, and to give the traveler an unforgettable experience. She goes on to describe how their destinations are places that one can really experience and be a part of, and not just assess from the outside. They track the value created by travelers visiting, and encourage learning that transforms travelers who can go home with new understandings of the world they have visited. They believe that their staff and their real engagements are what keep it real within their industry and for their guests.
Marine Dynamics | Wilfred Chivell
Wilfred spoke passionately about how we only have one life to live and how we need to live it fully. He however is adamant that we need to think about how we are living our lives and the impact we are having not only on others, but on our surroundings and environment too. Ignorance is no excuse. He explains that saying one didn’t know about it, is simply not good enough and certainly not a viable excuse. Living well and in harmony with our environment is not living badly or boringly. There is a way to live a great life and look after the planet while doing so, and that’s how Wilfred believes we can all keep it real.
Real time for Real adventures | Presentation
What online booking platforms need | Martin Hawke - Viator
Martin was brief and to the point in the delivery of his information which in itself was to the point and very factual. Viator is the leader of online tours and activities globally. Operational in over 450 countries, and owned by TripAdvisor, Viator has access to bigger audiences, more channels and more new customers than anyone else. Being listed on their platform will give users access to a worldwide reach which will help grow business. Martin also points out just how easy it is to be a part of this online community and it is much less difficult than one may think, essentially, he tells the attendees that all one would need is an email address.
Why go live | Theunis Hanekom - Activitybridge
Representing Activitybridge, Africa’s leading real time booking platform, Theunis speaks about what the big fuss about being online is all about. He says that in his experience, 80% of companies that are not online in one way or another think that there is no need for it and that they can do it without an online presence. However, he also points out that in actual fact, 26% of all bookings take place after hours, which indicates that they are made through a Realtime Online Booking Solution from their own website, linked to channels and social media platforms. As per the Activitybridge tag line, he encourages all adventure operators and enthusiast to do what they love and let them do the rest.
Marketing Adventure | Panel Discussion
Adventure tourism is mostly about reputation and public perception and this panel discussion addresses how best to market your adventure experience to the public resulting in increased sales, profits and exposure. It addresses the different options available to operators as well as how best to maximise the avenues accessible within the industry.
SA Tourism and adventure travel | Darryl Erasmus - SA Tourism
Darryl describes South African Tourism as the marketing arm of the Department of Tourism. He explains that their duty in this role is to promote South Africa as a tourist destination to local and international travelers. With over 11 official offices worldwide, and access to strategic insights and an analytics team, they are able to understand the markets that they operate in. He encourages everyone to make use of the published findings which are available to the public and with this information, fine tune their own marketing efforts to best suit their company needs. Darryl also urges operators to get onto the platforms available to them and to take advantage of what can be achieved by accessing this information and utilising it in the best possible way.
Tradeshows local and International | Penny Fraser - WTM Africa, Reed Exhibitions
Penny divulges and explains two vital aspects of tradeshows. She first speaks of the benefits of participating at a show which she identifies as firstly, the importance of face-to-face meetings where she explains how the best person to describe their own story of adventure is you and secondly that tradeshows, such as World Travel Market Africa, bring the buyers to you. Penny shares that these tradeshows spend a lot money and time sourcing, vetting and selecting these buyers to ensure they are of the right quality with access to the right markets. The second aspect that penny address is how to maximize your exposure at a tradeshow once you have committed. The biggest tip she shares is to verbalise what markets you want stating that 60% of buyers are from new markets. She says that the cost to contact is not that high when considering your return on investment potential. And finally, she says that when already committed to exhibit, the onus is on the operator to work the diaries accordingly and maximize on the platforms available to you.
Domestic Market | Brad Cable - Brochure Management
Brad starts off with his passionate introduction about how marketing is such a powerful tool, and certainly one of the most powerful sales tools. He shares with us that Google has identified 5 stages that a traveler will take before getting to you and stresses just how important it is to tap into these stages with successful marketing. Marketing can involve various platforms including digital, signage, video / television, print, shows & networking, word of mouth and radio. Brad identifies the 5 stages of a traveller’s journey as first the idea stage, where a seed is planted in someone’s mind of where to travel to and what to do. The second stage is research, where Brad suggests that operators implement all of their marketing opportunities in this multi-platformed process. Next is the actually travelling where Brad advises that people are making their way to their final destination and says that most bookings are made 9-10 days in advance. Fourth is the destination stage which is when all the last-minute bookings are made and there is massive opportunity to really go for it. And, finally is the sharing stage which is the most impactful stage as it is the stage where you consider how you can get people talking and thinking about your product.
Social media | Janine Avery - 5 Star Stories
Janine speaks about marketing from a social media perspective and explains that with this digital platform, it is about building a brand and persona that will overtime lead back to bookings. Social media is a long-term goal that leads to return on investment. She advises that in her experience, it’s all about how one tells their story that gets people to choose them. Adventure and travel are easy to sell, she explains, saying that it’s not like selling toothpaste. It’s exciting and people want to hear about it. She advises operators to bring it back to the people, let their guides tell their own personal stories and talk about their stories as experts in these industries. Janine also advises that operators should actively utilise the services offered by advertising agencies, public relations companies and South African Tourism platforms to maximize their product offering. Her advice is to pick whichever platform best works for your company requirements and will ultimately give you a good return on investment.
Do we need an SA Adventure Association?
Associations and their purpose | Hannelie Du Toit – SATSA
Hannelie gives a very insightful talk on SATSA (The Southern Africa Tourism Services Association), and sharing some very impressive statistics on how they are growing as an association and as a result, how they are assisting the tourism industry grow too. She explains that as an association, SATSA’S main purpose is to provide their members with incredible services and benefits that are specific to their relative markets. She goes on the say that SATSA also represent their members at all the appropriate levels of government. Through their endeavors to be trusted and recoginised as a quality tourism provider throughout Southern Africa, she also says that they provide the international buyers with the information they require, as well as advising them on quality tourism partners within the Southern Africa inbound tourism industry. She reveals that in a market research study on adventure tourism, results showed that adventure was the sleeping giant of tourism and is growing at a rapid rate. Hannelie believes that with SATSA’s help, South Africa could be the world leader in adventure tourism.
SAYTC | Gavin Eyre – SAYTC (The South African Youth Travel Confederation)
Gavin gives us a look into what SAYTC is. Formerly known as Backpacking South Africa (BSA), it is a non-profit organisation that aims to showcase South Africa as a backpacking destination in the youth tourism market. Gavin gives us both his personal and professional opinion saying that he agrees that adventure tourism is an up and coming, booming industry and that they are in need their own association. As well as telling us how they joined such an association, he shares with the audiences how it helped them grow and build their market as youth travel representatives. In sharing their own struggles with examples of locals rejecting international students to study in South Africa, saying that they were a threat to local jobs, he advises that joining forces with a larger association, such as SATSA, gave them the power to have their voices and concerns heard and not suffer continuous hardships and uphill battles.
In closing this topic, all the attendees at the SA Adventure Summit put it to a vote. The question: Do we need an SA Adventure Association? The overwhelming winning result: YES! The logical decision of joining SATSA was reached, as they have the infrastructure in place already. It was also concluded that the best way forward was for the adventure industry to create their own body to represent the adventure sector within SATSA. David Frost, CEO of SATSA, supported this decision by saying that they want to help and that they already have the back office and the man power to support adventure within the tourism world.
The Future of Adventure Travel
Your Future Clients - Lesedi, Paige and Emma-Joy
The closing of South Africa’s first ever adventure summit definitely ended on a high note with three beautiful young girls teaching us valuable life lessons that they shared with everyone.
Paige taught us to never give up and that if you keep moving forward you will eventually get there. She tells us her story of how she went away with her family on a snowboarding holiday and after falling once, she broke her right wrist. She got out there the very next day again and as if one broken wrist was not enough, she then proceeded to break the other. Instead of stopping and calling it a day, she kept getting up again and again - even with two broken wrists. Paige says that adventures such as these are the ones where you gain resilience. She says that resilience is like having a six-pack, it makes you solid. It doesn’t matter what low blows life deals you later, when you have resilience you can overcome adversity. The determination of this little girl taught us some serious life lessons in never giving up. Lesedi is a firecracker (just like her mom!) who in her relatively short life has already hiked, canoed, been on bicycle tours, rock-climbed, quad-biked, been jet ski riding, tubing and snorkeling, her best adventure by far was when she went shark diving. Note that there was no cage after the word shark! She says that jumping into the water with no cage was an adventure of a life time. After this particular life experience, her lesson to share was to never panic, as it doesn’t help. Emma –Joy is no stranger to adventure and just like her dad, she has already experienced more adventure than your average person. She has rafted, been sailing, camped rough in the bush and she has ridden her bicycle through big game country. She explains that the real adventure that changed her view on life was a family cycle trip to one of her dad’s favourite places to visit, Botswana. Just before she turned 9 years old, they cycled from Maun to Sepupa, a 365km journey. Emma-Joy says she struggled with some of the further distances, but learnt a valuable life lesson which she also shared with all of us and that is that if you keep moving forward, you will always get there.
In true youth style, they mentioned in and amongst their life lessons, to not be afraid of the internet. They explain that it’s the way forward and the future of travel for generations to come. You can’t break the internet or get rid of it, so you may as well get on board with it.
Thank you by Johan Radcliffe, Dirty Boots
Report by Red Lip Media