Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, former CEO of Cape Town Tourism and owner of Destinate, an international marketing agency, in this interview discusses travel trends and how destination marketing organizations and practitioners respond to them by focusing on storytelling and influencer marketing. She also reflects on Brand South Africa and how the image of the country’s cities and urban destinations in particular has benefited from hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
- How the tourism landscape has changed over the last years;
- Influencer marketing, storytelling and other trends in destination marketing;
- How to succeed in destination marketing, and which pitfalls to avoid;
- How Destinate measure the success of its destination marketing campaigns;
- Brand South Africa: what it stands for and how it is evolving.
Mariette, having been the CEO of Cape Town Tourism for almost 10 years and an independent adviser since then, do you remember what first attracted your interest in the marketing and branding of places, such as cities and destinations?
Place marketing is complex, multi-dimensional and ever-changing, because places such as cities and countries are complex and constantly evolving by nature. This is what attracted me in the first place and what I love most about working in destination marketing – not one project or place is the same as another.
I love cities. Cities are dynamic places and urban tourism dominates the landscape. Over 30% of all global visitor revenue is expended in the top 150 visited cities and, taking tourism as a whole, over 70% of tourism spend occurs in urban areas. For most people to escape means to explore different and new cultures and for them cities are the epicenters of modern, living culture.
The development that has gone into South Africa’s cities and how it was leveraged for tourism, fast tracked in the run up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, distinguish us from many other developing countries.
It was not until the 2010 FIFA World Cup that South Africa’s urban centres received the necessary exposure needed to position South Africa as a multi-dimensional destination able to attract a larger percentage of the world’s fastest growing sector, namely urban travellers.
It was an honour to be part of the team that shaped a whole new way of doing destination marketing, embracing digital marketing and working with citizens and travellers to tell the stories about a wonderfully complex city like Cape Town.
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