During the global pandemic of Covid-19, tourism as an industry has been flattened. It was an industry that was already struggling due to the worldwide recession. Tourism is a huge income generator – from the supply chain and service providers to travellers. Looking to rebuild the industry, in South Africa, we have ignited #VirtualTravelSA.
This exciting campaign is about promoting the tourism industry in our beautiful country. With travel at a stand-still, our platform is about creating virtual experiences of what is on offer in our country and encourage everyone to support and travel locally after the lockdown. We need to show the world what we have on offer so that when borders are opened up and physical travel is possible again, we will be on the top of the list of countries to explore. If we stop and do nothing, nothing will happen.
Game reserves, hotel, restaurants, destinations are in lockdown and when they open, they will need bookings. This is a reality check. The situation during this pandemic requires UNITY and that is what we are about.
#VirtualTravelSA Community is for people with a passion for travel and travel in South Africa. Our created groups are platforms and spaces where we can share our travels and discoveries, beautiful photography and help to create bucket list ideas for adventures after the lockdown.
The #VirtualTravelSA project is a collaboration between passionate industry professionals.
The idea was conceptualised by Patrycja Oosthuizen (founder of #TravelChatSA and owner of Travel Opulent Box Media and Communications – a company which is focused on the marketing and social media management in the hospitality industry – (www.travelopulentbox.com) and Riaan Jordaan, Brendon Ciaravino and Daniel Lucas of Riaan Jordaan Marketing & Photography – which provides social media management services and photography for the tourism industry. (https://riaanjordaan.co.za/ and https://riaanexplores.com/).
Nobody can travel at the moment – the groups offer a platform that is 1) a source of positive information, 2) a source where you can “dream and create your ideal bucket list for later”, 3) its the perfect opportunity for small one-man businesses to create awareness of their product that do not have huge budgets to “get the word out there” and 4) all indications are that future travellers will be looking for breakaways to less crowded spaces, places and experiences once we can travel again – at the moment where do you find that information? We hope to fulfil that need for future travellers. The smaller, off the beaten track experiences/businesses, are exactly those that are not featured in publications or they do not have the budget for various marketing channels – this is just one way where they can “put up their hands” and be noticed. – says Riaan Jordaan
We are grateful to individuals, communities and tourism entities who have come on board and who are helping with the initial planning, managing of groups, content and sharing ideas.
To mention some of those in the start-up phase:
Corleen – Oudtshoorn Tourism – https://www.oudtshoorn.com/
Aneli – Mossel Bay Tourism – https://www.visitmosselbay.co.za/
Rose – https://gotravelbug.co.za/ – Social media and travel influencer for the Garden Route – Adventure orientated
Antonia – http://www.theveganrainbow.com/ – A German influencer living in Ct that specializes in vegan travel
Allison – https://www.capetowndiva.com/ – Allison covers luxury travel as well as freelance for a large number of publications
Max – https://maxweb.co/ – designs our websites and specializes in tourism-related businesses websites
Stephanie – https://stephaniemarthinus.com/ – social media influencer. She focuses on small towns in South Africa.
Marlize Stander – https://marlizestander.co.za / – social media management for the hospitality industry, photographer and Life Coach.
The Cape Robyn – http://thecaperobyn.co.za/ – Robyn Cohen’s website includes a vibrant destinations tab with quirky and humorous stories in South Africa, food and destinations.
We are growing daily and more and more industry people are coming on board. You are invited too!
Multiple groups on Facebook have been created for people and businesses in tourism to join and share travel content.
The idea of the groups are two-fold:
1) For individuals to join and to create a “bucket list” for their next travel after the lockdown. Everyone is on social media at the moment so these groups are there for us to share positive news and to showcase areas and regions.
2) Tourism businesses to share NON-PROMOTIONAL content -the idea is that you are in tourism to join FIRST on behalf of your business page and then as yourself. Let your business be the one to share the content. That way people in the group will see for example “XYZ Guesthouse” or “XYZ activity” sharing beautiful travel images instead of you as a person. The marketing value lies in the fact that it’s your business name that is top of mind and sharing positive news. Your BRAND is being put forward. You do not have to create unique content for the group. Do the post on your page and share it with the group if it fits the description.
Please note – the posts have to be authorized by admins in order to keep the feeds clean and on-topic so please be patient if the post is not immediately authorized.
We have rules
The two main rules for posting:
NO COVID posts: We believe that there is enough information now and we do not want to expose ourselves to the risk of sharing false news
DIAL BACK ON PROMOTION: Please, we ask, NO OVERLY PROMOTIONAL posts. It is about promotion with added value. For example, do NOT include in your post that there is a 50% discount for property post lockdown. That will be pointless and the people following the groups do not want to be bombarded with specials when they cannot travel. We are creating awareness about our country but it is essential that we are cognisant of the current situation that we are in – in a global lockdown. We obviously cannot be encouraging people to travel now. Borders are closed. Lockdowns are in place. The groups are there for your business to SUBTLY put up your hand. Please word your posts accordingly: Something like “the view from XYZ guesthouse this morning – add us to your future travel list”, or “Flashback to February when we did the zipline – what is on your bucket list for later this year” etc etc….
The groups that are currently open and active are the following:
Main Group #VirtualTravelSA:
Cape West Coast:
By creating the groups we are also creating a captive audience – People that love travelling looking and interacting with posts from the business that offer exactly that. – adds Riaan Jordaan
You are welcome to join any or all of them. Please invite your friends/communities. It’s a joined effort and we are looking forward to having you onboard too.