Beulah and Roland Mauz of African Dive Adventures met with South Coast Tourism’s CEO Mr Justin Mackrory, to join them at the Das Boot Skou held in Dusseldorf, Germany from 17-25 January. And this proved to be no ordinary consumer show, writes Nikki Tilley.
The reason behind African Dive Adventures involvement in Das Boot Skou is that the German market has proven, year on year, to be the strongest long haul country visiting South Africa for the purpose of diving, and primarily with sharks. It is well known that both Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast are recognized as two of the top ten shark dive sites in the world.
Always looking outwards, both nationally and internationally, towards attracting business from various niche markets, and especially focusing first and foremost on those markets that the South Coast is well known for, such as oceanic activities, it seemed a perfect match and reason for South Coast Tourism to attend this show. Added reinforcement that this would be money well spent was the fact that African Dive Adventures was exhibiting for the 5th year in succession.
Das Boot is certainly the most impressive and constructive expo I have ever attended. I have come back home to South Coast Tourism armed with highly valuable knowledge and a far deeper understanding of the German market. In addition to this we have some very solid leads and business commitments – we are already hosting a documentary company which broadcasts on over 42 channels online and have many others in the pipeline which include product shoots, travel documentaries, magazine and online exposure and a combination of some rather creative ideas put together to market our destination at very low cost. It is certainly very interesting to see what the German (and European markets) are seeking and how there is a constant shift in experiences that they are looking for.
According to many experts, South Africa is now the flavour of the month and is expected to see an increased number of visitors over the next three years. Aligned to this is also the optimism from other exhibitors to export their goods to South Africa. This naturally opens up many economic business opportunities for South Africans involved in the outdoor and oceanic lines of business.
And further exciting meetings took place which are hopefully going to see some very unique legacy projects take place on the South Coast, given its 365 days a year climate and its diverse landscape.
So with all of this positive feedback from the European market, now more than ever is the time to make use of the exchange rate and market South Africa. Both South Coast Tourism and African Dive Adventures spent a considerable amount of time marketing South Africa as a whole and advised travellers of possible itineraries, which also included areas outside of the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast region. It’s a win-win for everyone and more South African presence at a show like this will most certainly have an increased impact on interested travellers.
And that’s not all – given the success of this show, South Coast Tourism is now looking at attending the Euro Bike Exhibition in August this year, which will be held in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Over 46,300 trade visitors from 111 countries attend, along with 21,100 bike fans and over 1800 journalists from 46 countries.
So having tested the German (and European) waters, it’s certainly time to look beyond the horizon of the `local bread and butter market’ and sail the open seas.
For more information contact South Coast Tourism Events and Marketing specialist Nikki Tilley on +27 (0)39 682 7944 or email [email protected]