TOURISM LAU­RELS

Sun­shine Coast Tourism hailed as one of best run in province

Talk of the Town - - Front Page -

Sun­shine Coast Tourism (SCT) was re­cently iden­ti­fied by the depart­ment of tourism in part­ner­ship with the SA Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Agency as one of the best case stud­ies on the run­ning of a tourism or­gan­i­sa­tion.

SCT was sub­se­quently asked to do a pre­sen­ta­tion at a lo­cal gov­ern­ment tourism peer learn­ing ses­sion at Mpekweni, at­tended by del­e­gates from all over the East­ern Cape.

Thrilled with the hon­our, SCT man­ager Sandy Birch said: “The main fo­cus of the pre­sen­ta­tion was the for­ma­tion of SCT in 2011, fol­low­ing the pre­vi­ous haphazard tourism or­gan­i­sa­tion mar­ket­ing in­di­vid­ual towns in iso­la­tion rather than the des­ti­na­tion as a whole, and with a poor re­la­tion­ship with the lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity and tourism struc­tures.

“A sim­i­lar ex­am­ple of this can cur­rently be found in Knysna, where the lo­cal tourism of­fice has shut down.” The SCT case study out­lined the work­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor and ac­count­abil­ity with work­ing agree­ments in place – a ser­vice level agree­ment with Nd­lambe Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, a me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with Sarah Baart­man Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity and work­ing re­la­tion­ships with the East­ern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, depart­ment of tourism and depart­ment of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, en­vi­ron­men­tal af­fairs and tourism.

“Most im­por­tantly, the Sun­shine Coast brand and route are im­por­tant fac­tors, as we are the link be­tween two iconic routes – the Gar­den Route and Wild Coast,” Birch said.

“Pri­vate tourism prod­ucts and the des­ti­na­tion have ben­e­fited as a re­sult of this re­la­tion­ship through ag­gres­sive mar­ket­ing cam­paigns un­der­taken by SCT both on the dig­i­tal plat­form and through trade and con­sumer shows in con­junc­tion with tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing.”

The link be­tween lo­cal eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment (LED) and des­ti­na­tion mar­ket­ing was also high­lighted.

“We work closely with all de­part­ments, with the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, with the LED depart­ment be­ing our main link as the two go hand in hand.”

The need to link events to tourism was also high­lighted – in SCT’s case they are the li­ai­son be­tween event or­gan­is­ers, SAPS, lo­cal emer­gency ser­vices and the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“As such we hold the town diary for events, and are best able to ad­vise or­gan­is­ers on the best dates for their events,” Birch said.

Also of im­por­tance is tourism’s link with the pri­vate sec­tor.

“Tourism prod­ucts sub­scribe to SCT and we are linked to the Cham­ber of Busi­ness in Ken­ton and Port Al­fred Busi­ness Fo­rum,” Birch ex­plained.

“Our board is com­mit­ted and made up of 15 in­di­vid­u­als from each of the ar­eas within Nd­lambe, and in turn they hold var­i­ous port­fo­lios cov­er­ing the ma­jor sec­tors of the econ­omy.”

SCT mar­kets the Sun­shine Coast brand, and Birch was re­cently ap­pointed to an East­ern Cape Tourism Fo­rum with the port­fo­lio of route de­vel­op­ment, cov­er­ing Tsit­sikamma to Ham­burg. The aim of this port­fo­lio is to pro­mote the whole area un­der the Sun­shine Coast brand, thus grow­ing the East­ern Cape des­ti­na­tion as a whole.

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