New Gartour site receives international acclaim

gartour

Joomla! Community has added www.gartour.com – a new site built for Gartour (Garden Route Tourism, a private sector marketing organisation) – to its list of the world’s top Joomla!-based sites.

As of Sunday, 7 April, the Joomla! Community Showcase had chosen to feature just 3,799 sites – 154 of which appeared in the travel and tourism category.

To put this in context: the Joomla! software has been downloaded more than 35 million times.

“This is a significant achievement for everyone concerned,” said web developer Marc Trollip of iBall Media (www.i-ballmedia.com), which built the site.

“Although it doesn’t mean that Joomla! Communities endorses the site or even our work in any way, it does mean that gartour.com has been reviewed by our peers, and that they think it’s a noteworthy example of how the Joomla! software can be been used.”

Joomla! describes itself on its web site as “an award-winning content management system (CMS), which enables you to build Web sites and powerful online applications. Many aspects, including its ease-of-use and extensibility, have made Joomla! the most popular Web site software available. Best of all, Joomla! is an open source solution that is freely available to everyone.”

Mr. Trollip said that much of the credit should go to Keith McFarlane, the technician who did the lion’s share of the work on the site

In a presentation to the members of Knysna Tourism (archived on line at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37NqD2YpsD4), Gartour chairman Peter Dale said that the organisation decided last year to channel its printing budget into on-line marketing, and that this prompted the decision to build the new site.

Where the old site received only about 41 visitors a day – and 1,006 visitors for the month of April of 2012 – the new site received an average of 477 visitors a day (or a total of 13,380 visitors) in March this year.

“This rapid growth has been achieved through feeding the search engines by continually adding information, by blogging, by sharing, and making it a live, active web site.”

Mr. Trollip said that the blogging facility on gartour.com is unique amongst sites built for destination marketing organisations.

“Sites that represent individual members almost never allow them unrestricted blogging rights – but Gartour took the decision to make this facility available to its core members, and they’re using it actively and enthusiastically.

“This has made all the difference, and it’s definitely one of the significant factors in the growth of the site’s traffic.”

Mr. Dale said that Gartour is looking to increase its core membership from 15 to 25 properties, but that all tourism businesses on the Garden Route and in the Klein Karoo are welcome to apply for pages on gartour.com.

Core members have blogging rights on the site. They also exhibit collectively during road shows, workshops and trade exhibitions like South Africa’s annual Tourism Indaba.

“We are determined that this web site is going to grow, and become one of the leading sites for the whole of the Southern Cape,” said Mr. Dale.

He invited businesses wishing to appear on the site to contact Gartour.

“It would also be great if you’d visit the Joomla! Community Showcase page (http://community. Joomla!.org/showcase/sites/recreation-and-hobbies/travel-and-tourism/page8.html) and rate the site,” he said.

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