Sunshine Coast Tourism hailed as one of best run in province
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.