South Africa: Storytelling for Responsible Tourism

Not many Destination marketing and branding campaigns manage to be as inspiring and moving as this marketing campaign promoting inclusive tourism in South Africa. Jeremy Smith on the WTM Responsible Tourism blog takes a closer look at how South Africa is using inspirational storytelling in its destination marketing to sell responsible tourism.

Jeremy writes: “Good destination marketing is hard. So much has to be left out when you distill the essence of a place and its people into a pithy phrase, that there is a tendency to play it safe. No wonder the majority of tourism destination slogans favour superlatives that do little other than boast about their country being the most beautiful place in the world.”

Not so South Africa. “With its new ‘Reconsider South Africa’ video, South Africa Tourism takes a different approach, shifting the focus from ‘aren’t I beautiful?’ to rather ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, and engaging with the fact many people have preconceptions about the Rainbow Nation.”

Please watch the video before reading on:

Destination Marketing for Inclusive Tourism

Jeremy further writes: “The real twist on the ‘reconsider’ theme, however, comes at the end of the film ..with the reveal about the male lead. This is the advert’s most innovative piece of framing, and in terms of marketing inclusive tourism, this is charting new territory.”

“On one level it is simply common sense – the market for accessible tourism is growing larger all the time. However, it also works on another level – one intrinsically connected to the advert’s story as a whole. It tells all potential tourists that it is time to ‘see’ the country differently. This talks to those who are resistant to come as well as those who have been before. It tells people who think they have ‘done’ South Africa that there is more to be seen. It implicitly promotes the less visited above the iconic and well trodden.”

Read the whole article here. Feature image by Marcus Hansson via flickr

Thoughts

Apart from having successfully triggered an urgent desire to visit South Africa, the video strikes me as a good example of responsible place branding and destination marketing, just as Jeremy elaborates in his article.

With so many destination marketing campaigns and place brands trying to sell us more of the same, perceptions of brand credibility and authenticity, but also the legitimacy of these marketing and branding initiatives are deemed to become more and more important.

After all, tourism can and should be much more than just selling a “product”, or service to “consumers.” Good to hear South Africa marketing is embracing a more nuanced, sustainable path to promoting its many attractions abroad.


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