"Destineering" with Mariette du Toit-Helmbold
My journey as Chief Destineer of Destinate started three months ago after almost a decade as the CEO of Cape Town Tourism. Here are a few highlights and insights gained.
The first three months as "Chief Destineer" have been eventful.
One of the biggest highlights has been giving myself the time and space to write again, to create and to be inspired by the industry, its people and the places that have been such an intimate part of my life. Here are a few other highlights with links to some blog posts I have written.
Pop into Destinate's blog regularly for news, interesting new discoveries and insights on travel and tourism.
In September I travelled to the other side of the world to speak on "Innovation in Destination Marketing" at the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Global Summit on City Tourism in Moscow. Moscow is "More than just another city" as I discovered and it reminded me of the power of tourism as a cultural bridge and a vehicle for peace.
Cities are considered to be the new super-brands of the 21st century and I have explored the importance of cities being used as the destination marketing hooks for countries and regions. With more than half of the world’s population living in cities and the number expected to reach almost five billion by 2030, the scope for city tourism is growing rapidly. Here are the top insights gained from the UNWTO Global City Tourism Summit.
One of my favourite guest blogs of the past two months was by Rashiq Fataar, MD of Future Cape Town. "I am the urban tourist" is a great read, sharing insights on the urban tourist as he explores and finds the pulse of London in its streets and communities. Skye Grove also explored why liveable cities are more desirable destinations to visit.
World Tourism Day, celebrated on the 27th of September, was a good time to reflect on the business of tourism. Tourism is a sector that really matters. It matters because it’s direct contribution to gross domestic product in South Africa had increased to R84billion in 2011 already. It matters because it is a viable employment sector for many people with varied skill levels. It matters because it is a vehicle for positive change and upliftment of communities. It matters because it unites and connects people.
Some people say that it is time to focus our energy on our “business or economic brand”, that tourism receives too much attention. I say tourism is business and we should focus even more of our collective energy on growing this sector responsibly, because it really matter.
The Summit focused on the Value of the Traveller and underlined the importance of finding a balance between liveability and visitability. I shared what I thought were some of the key insights into the new traveller, with great input from Dion Chang, trend analyst, founder of Flux Trends and curious traveller who says "hotels and places still charging for Wi-Fi are as outdated as an old dial-up modem".
I love good wine and good food. Having recently relocated to Somerset West, in the midst of some of the country's best wine estates and restaurants, I have felt it my duty to familiarise myself with my surrounds and share some of my wine-and-food adventures with you.
I am convinced that the Cape Winelands offers some of the world's best wine tourism experiences - the fine wine is perfectly complimented by award-winning dining experiences and a warm, generous hospitality that seems to come naturally to the people of this special part of the world.
I am proud to work with the Stellenbosch American Express ® Wine Routes, South Africa's oldest wine route and currently in the running for best wine region in the world, to promote the wine tourism offering of this region to the world.
In fact, the team will be at the Dijon International and Gastronomic Fair in France to participate in Vinidivio from Thursday 31 October to Monday, 4 November 2013. Read more about the Fair here.
During my tenure as CEO of Cape Town Tourism I always enjoyed our interactions with the travel writers on consignment by Lonely Planet to uncover new and interesting things in Cape Town. They were always keen to go deeper, to venture away from the well-known and glamourous side of the city and to get lost in the layers of Cape Town. This is what sets the Lonely Planet “best in travel” list and accolades apart and that is why, in my opinion, this accolade matters.
2014 will be a big year for Cape Town and for South Africa. The country celebrates 20 years of democracy and Cape Town will wear her crown as World Design Capital for 2014.
2014 and Cape Town’s title as World Design Capital, is an opportunity to build upon the awareness created for South Africa's urban offering as a whole during the World Cup in 2010. The World Cup, hosted in cities in 2010, gave the world a glimpse of the country’s vibrant urban environment and the liveability of its cities.
For many this was a fresh perspective of the country they thought was only about great scenic beauty and the Big Five.
It is time to position Cape Town as a city that has far more to offer than just her awe-inspiring natural beauty.
I have a great passion for tourism and innovative, people-centred destination marketing and love working with destinations and tourism brands across the country to help unlock opportunities to grow the positive contribution from tourism.
I would love to work with more tourism businesses and destinations to reach your full potential. If you want to know more about what Destinate does and how we can make a difference to your destination or brand, visit www.destinate.co.za or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will be travelling to Reunion Island later this week to speak at a conference on the 'economy of tourism', so look out for the next blog post on my adventures there.
Here's to staying inspired, making a difference and "destineering".