Will fans visit beyond host cities?


This is probably one of the most frequent questions CapeInfo has received over the past few months. So will they?

Well if I was a fan visiting South Africa for the first time, after being fleeced by an airline for my ticket, I would certainly try to see as much of the country as possible. And if I had visited South Africa before, I would certainly be more adventurous about my location. But the first thing I would do is avoid establishments that tie me into a long stay.

If I wanted to spend most time in the Western Cape, I would seriously consider basing myself in Hermanus (two hours from the city centre) or Stellenbosch (40 minutes).

If I wanted to watch matches in Polokwane, I would most definitely base myself in Haenertsburg/Magoebaskloof (about 40 minutes away) for its buzz and beauty.

How many fans will venture further afield? Well if our guess about the Profile of Fans is correct, we think many will want to but how much they see depends on the effectiveness of regional marketing initiatives. And that’s where South Africa is falling down. The problem is exacerbated because so many foreign tour operators have become so disenchanted by World Cup rip-offs that they’re not really trying and many have stopped selling. Are side trips into the Bushveld or the Karoo being sold as part of the deal? I’d really encourage travellers to visit Prince Albert to experience the Karoo, for example, or visit the Waterberg for a bushveld experience.

One of the few regional initiatives we’re aware of is Cape Town Routes Unlimited’s Beyond the 90 Minutes campaign — which aimed to get fans out into the region — and that’s been an unmitigated disaster… so far. A good idea, badly implemented, and as we said when the V&A Waterfront started and people came through the door daily with their “good ideas”, “Good ideas are meaningless if they don’t achieve the bottom line.”

In the month after the Final Draw, Beyond the 90 Minutes’ Alexa traffic rank* dropped over one million places. In the past month its quarterly traffic rank has dropped by a staggering 1,108,445 places. Month-on-month, it’s traffic rank is down by a mind-boggling 12,704,123 places, which indicates it has gone into freefall and has almost no traffic.

CTRU’s CEO, Calvyn Gilfellan, says they took CapeInfo’s criticism to heart (CapeInfo News Nov09) and the standalone site is currently being incorporated into their main site. Well that’s a start, but their own site is no great shakes. He also says they will be linking to other websites. Well, they will be judged by their success after World Cup.

But it’s unfair to single out CTRU because almost every regional and local tourism authority throughout South Africa — with the exception of Cape Town Tourism — is falling short. Just one example — we regularly get emails from towns in the Western Cape’s Route 62 asking what information we need. We respond — eagerly — because we really want it and will publish it, and that’s where it ends. Nothing happens.

So if you are a tourism business and you’re worried about marketing your area, please go and kick some butt.

* Sure, Alexa is not accurate beyond the top 100,000 websites but it is one of the few publicly-accessible indicators of a website’s success. And surely CTRU’s websites should be in the top 100,000?


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