Nelson Mandela Bay makes headway at tourism Indaba 2016

MAY 12, 2016

Nelson Mandela Bay received an overwhelming response at Indaba 2016 where the highlight of the show for Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism (NMBT) being the launch of the Bottlenose Dolphin Capital to international trade and media.

"Indaba was very exciting for us this year. We met with a large number of International Operators especially the Dutch, German and Belgium representatives who showed great interest in our Bottlenose Dolphin Capital concept and are eager to package it as part of their tour offerings," said Mandlakazi Skefile, Chief Executive Officer of NMBT. 

Central to NMBT's Indaba 2016 strategy was collaborative efforts where they together with the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) jointly promoted the Eastern Cape as a destination and then honing onto the various experiences which are centered on the Adventure Province concept. 

"Dwindling marketing budgets and previously fragmented marketing patterns have forced tourism authorities to think creatively and collaborate efforts towards pulling both local and international visitors to their destinations. Now more than ever, the need to unitedly showcase our uniquely Eastern Cape product offering has become a priority for the province. This is the rationale which will see NMBT sharing our Indaba stand with the ECTPA going forward," said Skefile. 

This strategy has also seen NMBT reassessing and enhancing relationships with destinations along the Garden Route and their products to further establish Nelson Mandela Bay as one of the preferred access points and to counteract the fact that some of the operators do not incorporate the city when developing the Garden Route tours. Other discussions that took place included renewing efforts to work closely with South African Tourism country office including Germany, India and the U.K. 

Meetings held with ECPTA, BCM, ECDC together with a representative from EThekwini Maritime cluster lead to discussions and decisions to be implemented for developing a cruise liner strategy for Nelson Mandela Bay and the Province. Adding a further draw card for Nelson Mandela Bay will be the initiative planned in collaboration with Fair Trade Tourism who has discussed the options to launch a pilot project in the destination.  Once implemented this could lead to nelson Mandela Bay being the first city in South Africa to be accredited as a Fair Trade Destination granting nelson Mandela Bay Tourism greater marketing messages.

NMBT met with the country representatives of Germany, India and UK to market Nelson Mandela Bay in addition to meeting with Hanneli Slabber who is the SAT country manager in India to discuss a joint marketing adventure. Through this JMA a specific marketing campaign targeted at this niche trade market was discussed and will be implemented before 2016 targeting 2017 arrivals. Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism through these engagements was able to host an Indian Tour Operator in the city after Indaba.

NMBT had discussions with online tour operators to show how the destination can be visible on their platforms. Representatives from NMBT had discussions with OTA’s on how to profile the destination online in order to gain greater exposure. Marketing and exposing a destinations attributes and unique attractions are of great importance and through negotiations at Indaba NMBT has collaborated with SAT to further enhance and grow the media hosting strategy.

Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism reaffirmed and signed the contract with SanParks as a reservations office which is a great highlight and privilege on the NMBT calendar.  Plans for future marketing collaborations between Addo elephant National Park and NMBT were also discussed as the collaboration grows form strength to strength each year.

Indaba is the premier African travel show which exhibited 18 countries on the continent this year. During these past few days, NMBT not only forged new business partnerships with product buyers but also renewed existing relationships. 

"After this past weekend, it will be up to all of us to receive the new wave of visitors we will have unleashed onto the city and the province. According to the United World Tourism Organisation, international tourist arrivals are estimated to grow by 4% this year and we are looking forward to receiving our share of tourists", concluded Skefile.”

PHOTO:  MEC, Sakhumzi Somyo; ECPTA CEO, Mr Vuyani Dayimani; CEO NMBT, Ms. Mandlakazi Skefile and HOD DEDEAT, Mr Bongani Gxilishe at Indaba 2016.