Online tourism conference comes to Cape Town

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Cape Town Tourism is set to co-host the fourth annual eTourism Africa Summit taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on the September 15 & 16, 2011.

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Cape Town Tourism is set to co-host the fourth annual eTourism Africa Summit taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on the September 15 & 16, 2011.

The event is a two-day online tourism conference and travel technology exhibition aimed at developing online tourism with a focus on e-marketing, travel distribution and sales, social networking, and new media.

Mariëtte Du Toit-Helmbold, CEO of Cape Town Tourism, said: “We are looking forward to building on the momentum of last year’s successful eTourism Summit by sharing our learnings with the industry. E-marketing is central in the marketing and communication strategies of Cape Town Tourism and our deliberate and consistent online focus emphasizes quality and interactive content. Cape Town Tourism’s various online platforms were the ideal mediums to engage with our World Cup audience, and it continues to define our relationship with a new era of travelers.”

Cape Town Tourism’s leadership in the e-marketing discipline has been confirmed with a listing as the world’s thirteenth Most Influential Tourist Board and DMO online by Influencers in Travel. Cape Town Tourism is the only African Tourism Board featured on the ranking. The Top Online Travel Influencers ranking is based upon an organization’s Klout Score, which determines online influence and measures multiple variables to determine a user’s True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score. A user’s final Klout Score represents how successful a user is at engaging their audience and the impact of their communication on people. Visit for the full list of online influencers.

In 2009, Cape Town Tourism effectively moved into the .travel online space ( and began expanding onto social media and networking platforms. The recognition received confirms just how valuable the investment of time and resources into e-marketing is for destinations.

The eTourism Summit will feature a packed program of international and local speakers presenting on tourism technologies and solutions to help build and better business online, as well as a day of training seminars on digital marketing, social media, and e-commerce. A number of panel sessions will address critical issues for the development of local, regional, and African tourism online.

A few of the exciting speakers to be seen at this year’s conference include: Jason Shlosberg, an American tourist who created the safari video, “The Battle of Kruger” that went on to become an award-winning internet sensation; the digital team from Visit Britain, recently named the most influential online Tourist Board; leading digital agency, MDS Ideas; Founder and CEO of Travelbod, a new travel social network that connects travelers with local people to provide them with genuine local advice and expertise; as well as top industry players from Google, Trip Advisor, Expedia, and the International Federation of IT in Travel and Tourism.

This is the second year that the event is sponsored by South African Tourism and Cape Town Tourism, and hosted at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

William Price, the global head of e-marketing at South African Tourism said the lineup of international speakers will give the industry a real boost. “One of the most remarkable features of online and social media is the low cost and how it allows small players to reach a global audience. The Battle of Kruger has been seen by over 62 million people on YouTube alone and yet it cost Kruger National Park and South Africa absolutely nothing. The tourism industry needs to understand how to leverage these opportunities. SA Tourism is delighted to be sponsoring the eTourism Africa Summit, and we know that we will all learn and gain new insights from the summit on how we can turn real life experiences into online experiences that can be shared around the world for the benefit of both local tourism businesses and South Africa,” said Price.

Said Du Toit-Helmbold: “Facebook has replaced holiday albums, and Flickr is the new slide show. Research shows that people spend the most time in the planning and memory phase of their holidays, and sharing their experiences now takes place on Facebook and Twitter, which in turn, plays a significant part in recommending new travel options and experiences to travelers and local citizens. The ‘I ♥ Cape Town’ Facebook fan page now has over 228,000 fans, whilst on Twitter CapeTownTourism has 5,885 followers. In addition, Cape Town Tourism [has] dedicated visitor, business, industry, and media websites all accessible through, which also redirects to a mobi site should you log on from a mobile phone; regular and interesting blog posts, a Cape Town Tourism YouTube channel, kiosks, and Flickr are also used to communicate and interact with travelers as the online arena continues to transform.

“Cape Town Tourism is again a proud partner of the eTourism Africa Summit. We are committed to being a leading voice in e-marketing and social media for our tourism industry, and we will continue to play a proactive role in this regard. It is vital that the tourism industry keep up to date with new Internet trends and understand how consumer behavior is changing in the online space.

“The web is now the predominant channel for consumers to search for and buy travel with 95% of the connected generation searching for information online, 55% buying travel online in 2010 and 65% being influenced in their travel decisions by their online community. The summit will be a great opportunity for tourism businesses to hear from global online experts such as Trip Advisor and Expedia, as well as to share social media success stories in tourism – both locally and globally.”

Tourism businesses are encouraged to attend the eTourism Africa Summit. All delegates attending will receive the online tourism textbook “eTourism Frontier’s Guide to Online Tourism – the South African Edition,” sponsored by South African Tourism. Registration is open now on

For additional information on the eTourism Summit, visit or contact [email protected]

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.