According to GTA, over 100 SMMEs will attend beginner and advanced training sessions on how to develop and grow their business online.
Dawn Robertson, the CEO of Gauteng Tourism Authority said that said it was vital that all tourism players continue to increase both their understanding and investment into the online sector.
“We know that more than 50% of our tourism visitors to South Africa book and pay for their travel online, yet many of our small tourism operators are not fully aware of how they can do business online and how they can market online”, said the CEO.
The training is being conducted by E Tourism Frontiers, a company that focuses solely on providing education and training on digital and online media for the tourism sector in emerging markets. The company also holds global online tourism conferences and has held an E Tourism Africa Summit in South Africa for the last five years.
Damian Cook, the CEO of E Tourism Frontiers, said tourism was moving online in a rapid way.
“With continuing growth in online sales despite the global recession and more than 60% of travel for both business and leisure now being booked via the internet and raising well over US $300 billion, the internet cannot be considered a small part of the tourism sector, “says Cook.
He went on to say,:”The tourism industry needs to focus not just on their own
marketing but to encourage their clientele to market for them via social media. 50% of travelers now read a review before booking a hotel or trip for a long haul destination and this is especially relevant for travel to Africa. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are vital tools when researching travel.
However only a small number of South African Tourism companies are really accessing and using these tools to their full potential. The seminars are designed to show them how to do this and it’s great that Gauteng Tourism Authority is supporting the training,” said Cook.
Delegates attending the training, said it would make a huge difference to their business operations.
Thabang Edwin Ketshabile from Rebuilding the West Rand, said the training had been a huge eye opener.
“The biggest insight for us was the information on how the online or tech savvy demographic thinks and could be reached effectively. The session on User generated content was also a big eye opener and made us realize where our focus should be going forward”, said Ketshabile.