Marketing South Africa: join the conversation


This Tourism Week 17 April 2013

This week:

Marketing South Africa chapter three: QR Codes. Today. Online at 5:00 p.m. SAST 

Join us today for our third  Marketing South Africa Google+ Hangout

We’re documenting what we learn, and posting our videos of our conversations to the Planeta Wiki. (‘We’ being Ron Mader of , me, and (hopefully) one or two others who work in or think about responsible tourism.)

Destinations are different to commercial brands – which belong to corporations that can and do expect their teams to accept and implement their homogenous cultures. Destinations like South Africa, on the other hand, are eclectic mixtures of people, nature, and places – so they have to be marketed differently. And this is where the social web comes in.

Story-telling: it’s all about story-telling.

Except that you can’t always be there to tell your stories – which is why the web is such a great resource. But how do you tell people where they can find your stories on the web? Why, QR codes, of course.

And we’ll be talking about them during today’s Google+ Hangout, which will begin on line at 5:00 p.m.South Africa time (technology willing).

Please take part:

  • Follow @thistourismweek
  • The broadcast will begin at 5:00 p.m. SAST (If you’re not in South Africa, there’s a useful tool for converting to your own time zone here)
  • I’ll tweet the link to the live-stream on YouTube the moment it’s available. Follow the link to listen to watch the conversation.
  • We’ll be following the hashtag #marketingsa on twitter as we talk – so if you have a comment or a question, tweet it with that hashtag.
  • Please consult the Planeta Wiki for further details.
  • Also: please view this Flickr Album: South Africa on the Web

What’s this all about?

  • This Tourism Week and – the w orld’s oldest responsible tourism web site – have teamed up to document travel in South Africa, and to explore the tools that local tourism providers (hotels, restaurants, museums, artisans, tour operators, tour guides, and others) can use to spark conversations on the social web in order to promote tourism in South Africa both to foreigners and to other South Africans.
  • Many of these lessons are replicable around the world.
  • We’re doing this through Google+ Hangouts – an incredible tool that allows colleagues from different places around the world to chat and share their knowledge in real-time online. These conversations can be viewed on YouTube by unlimited numbers of people – and, during the event, viewers can comment and ask questions using YouTube’s comments facility.
  • The conversations are then automatically archived on YouTube for future viewing.
  • Our conversations will continue every Wednesday during April at 5:00 p.m. South African time.
  • We plan to highlight responsible travel practices – since responsible travel is the foundation for sustainable tourism – and we’re hoping that we might have some international high profile guests who’ll share their experiences with us.
  • Lessons learned from our April hangouts will be delivered at a symposium that’ll be hosted by Ugu South Cost Tourism during which I will speak in person, and Ron will speak via the net from his base in Oaxaca, Mexico.

BirdLife South Africa: New conservation initiatives in the Garden Route 

  • Read this article on line on the new Gartour site – the fast growing portal for tourism to South Africa’s Garden Route and Klein Karoo

BirdLife South Africa last year appointed a regional conservation manager in the Western Cape, Dale Wright, to implement the Important Bird Areas Programme, amongst other work.

The Important Bird Areas (IBAs) Programme is a BirdLife International initiative which works to conserve a network of sites which are important for the long-term conservation of global bird diversity. South Africa hosts 124 such sites, with 24 in the Western Cape. The Garden Route region has three IBAs: the Wilderness-Sedgefield Lakes IBA, the Outeniqua Mountains IBA and Tsitsikamma National Park IBA.

Dale Wright has worked with the relevant conservation authorities, including CapeNature and SouthAfricanNational Parks to compile IBA Assessments for these three sites. These assessments provide baseline information regarding the state of the IBAs and have assisted in identifying future conservation actions which may be undertaken. The three Garden Route sites are fortunate in that they enjoy a high level of protection, mostly under the GardenRouteNational Park and also as Cape Nature Reserves. This designation also requires a detailed management plan and the implementation of this plan, thus securing the future for the bird species which utilize these sites.

In addition to consulting the relevant management authorities, Dale also works closely with the Lakes Bird Club and Plettenberg Bay Bird Club.

Both of these clubs are very active in the region, providing great recreational opportunities to people in this area and contributing to valuable conservation projects. These include data collection for national bird monitoring projects and commenting on development applications to ensure minimal impacts on birds wherever possible.

In this regard Dale is taking these groups one step further and is currently forming what are known as Local Conservation Groups (LCGs).

These LCGs will be small, volunteer-based groups that will consolidate and formalize the work already undertaken by the clubs.

The first of their kind in South Africa, the LCGs draw on a model from BirdLife International which encourages local scale action to support the conservation of IBAs. The LCGs will assist with more directed monitoring projects that can help us ascertain the abundance of certain threatened species within the Garden Route IBAs, continue providing comment on development applications and compile future IBA Assessments. The LCGs will also develop their own local-scale conservation projects, with guidance from BirdLife South Africa, so that local priorities can be addressed, whilst working towards higher level objectives.

The Plettenberg Bay Bird Club seems to be the first LCG ready to sign on, and one of their major projects will look to improve protection of the Kelp Gull breeding colony at the KeurboomsRiver mouth. This project will also include expanding the existing Tsitsikamma IBA to include areas such as the Robberg peninsula and Keurbooms Nature Reserves and the BitouRiver wetlands.

Projects such as these illustrate the power of citizen action.

Although many of the amateur ornithologists in South Africa engage well with citizen science, through data collection, the next step is to become involved in citizen action.

Dale will work with these groups to achieve lasting conservation gains in the Garden Route, thus maintaining the beautiful birds and natural areas which exist in this area. In turn, maintaining the wonderful recreational opportunities which exist in this area and which draw tourists from all over the world.

The many recreational opportunities afforded by IBAs will be the topic of an upcoming article regarding BirdLife South Africa’s work in the Garden Route.

BirdLife South Africa’s work in the Western Cape is supported by Knysna Toyota : if you’re in the market for a new vehicle please do contact them, so that they may continue to provide valuable support to the Regional Conservation Programme.

Now go away on holiday. It’s in the economy’s best interest

With best Barefoot Wishes – M

MARTIN HATCHUEL, Barefoot Writer

Specialist writer for the tourism industry
Social media & advertising
Media management
Responsible tourism
Cell +27(0)84 951 0574
Fax +27(0)86 614 8853
Skype: reefgod

63 Wilson Street, Knysna 6570

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