More than 150 friends of tourism poured through the gates of Cango Wildlife Ranch (in Oudtshoorn) on Thursday, 25 August to participate in the first-ever Travel Shapers Network event.
This event was a proud brain-child of Big Tree Marketing owner Lindsey Gibaud (Cape Town), Cango Wildlife Ranch and Oudtshoorn & De Rust Tourism, and we are confident that it is the first of many to come! As a guest of the evening, Johan Keller (Co-owner of Highgate Ostrich Farm) noted: “It was a beautiful event with high standards and good taste”.
It was an honour to be graced with the presence of our new Mayor: Colan Sylvester and Deputy Executive Mayor: Noluthando Mwati, along with other key role players within the travel and tourism industry. We had 17 Tour Operators from Cape Town, representatives of numerous Tourism Offices, local business owners and number of leaders in the tourism industry including attractions, accommodations and service providers that traveled far and wide to attend.
Tammy Moult, Asst Director of Tourism at Cango Wildlife Ranch said, “We had a phenomenal turnout… far above our expectations. One thing that was highly apparent through the number of attendees, was the hunger for industry members to meet and network from all corners of our region. We had guests from Albertinia right through to Tsitsikamma and inland. I often attend WTM’s and Indaba’s and cannot help but take cognizance of the large representation from the Garden Route and Klein Karoo area. The only flaw is that it is so dissected. What a pleasure it was to have a gathering like this. As a region we might not be able to compare or equate our marketing budgets with other tourism offices in South Africa, but I do believe that through unity, passion, our pioneering products and flawless area… that nobody can quite equate to what we have to offer. It was truly wonderful to have so many dedicated and hard-working tourism representatives under one roof to meet and greet, and needless to say, we were proud to be the hosts of this gathering.”
It is one of the first free events in tourism, held to this scale that was hosted by a private facility, and open to the whole of the Garden Route and Klein Karoo in celebration of the tourism sector.
Social Media was the hot topic of the evening and with “How To Build A Bomb by making web content pop” as the key theme, guest speaker of the evening – Johann Smith of Digital Shelf, Cape Town – encouraged the audience to think along these lines while suggesting new market potentials and new ways to look at the traditional social media business model.
Not only was this platform created for networking, we also opened the floor to a number of local products who were able to showcase their gourmet skills with a variety of tasty treats and drinks for almost every pallet preference. After the evening opened with a local choir and gumboot dancers, the speeches and formalities were quickly done to allow for the most important part of the evening, snacking and chatting!
The event is a great opportunity for local business to also showcase what they can offer. ”At the end of the day, the success of the event came down to the people. I would like to thank every single attendee for their presence on the evening and their passion and hard work, not only for their products, but for our region as a whole. And last but not least, a big thank you to all the incredible sponsors and contributors for helping us to make the event possible. Again… the more we join hands, the more we achieve… and the more we achieve, the more we are able to shape travel.”