I have just read an article about the importance of investing in Internet marketing for tourism initiatives in East Africa. I felt that it could also be relevant to the West African region, and in particular to those Responsible Tourism projects that are struggling to get coverage.
The e-tourism Africa website provides resources and advice to African based tourism projects to maximise their potential through internet marketing. They help tourism suppliers based in the eastern Africa countries to understand and put into motion the online opportunities they have organised Seminars and workshops. These focus on online tourism management and marketing.
Recent polls from EyeforTravel, a leading research company on internet, focused travel, suggest that 7 out of 10 travellers use the internet as their primary source of travel information. This reinforces the need to pay more attention to the “digital” tools available on the “information highway”.
Mr Damian Cook, the CEO of E Tourism Africa explains, “Online sales have been one of the few sectors to experience growth despite the global recession. Travel is now the number one selling commodity online and is generating over US $110 billion annually in sales. However, very little African tourism is sold online and finding and booking African destinations on the web can be a challenge. It is hoped that with more education and awareness, the tourism sector in the region will harness and implement online marketing tools”
With the ever increasing emphasis on WEB 2.0 (open source) and social networks such as twitter and facebook offering low-cost tools to market tourism projects more widely, it is essential these are taken advantage of. As well as being low-cost, they are also carbon neutral. The importance of tackling climate change and the reduction of carbon emissions, plus the changing trends of the world tourism market towards a more ethical approach to consumption, mean that these tools tick all the boxes.
Responsible Tourism ground tour operators in the destinations usually have a limited budget, and therefore Internet marketing seems like the way forward in a world where the World Wide Web is expanding exponentially every few months. Tourism businesses based in emerging regions of the world, offering Responsible Tourism destinations such as western Africa, can gain a wider access to the potential tourism market much more quickly and easily than previously possible.
I have asked e-tourism Africa whether seminars and workshops will be available to West African tourism suppliers, and await their reply. I will let you know their answer as soon as possible.
West Africa Discovery offers a means to market Responsible Tourism projects based in West Africa to the UK market. We use tools and marketing strategies which reflect the current trend of tourists using the internet as a way of gathering more information on destinations and holidays and a move towards more ethical consumerism found in the current tourism marketplace.