It is time to get back into nature to reignite the tourism industry.
That was the message among small business leaders at a networking session held at the Kragga Kamma Game Park on Friday.
Keynote speaker Shaun van Eck, former chair of Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism and now project manager of Discover Mandela Bay, said it was important to focus on creating value and making memorable experiences for revellers to ensure they kept coming back.
He said businesses wasted most of their marketing budgets because research had revealed the part of the brain that made 95% of decisions was the emotional side.
“That part of the brain does not understand language, it understands photos, videos and storytelling.
“The typical tourism brochure has photos with no people and then a PowerPoint print of what they offer.
“We want to use visuals that engage — that is the look of today.
“We need to relook at our marketing, to keep up with international trends, create experiences people can share on social media — more than a brochure.
“People trust their friends on where to travel to, from the photos they see on social media,” Van Eck said.
iBhayi small business chamber chair Pieter Kitshoff said their vision was to create sustainable businesses and tourism was a big a part of Nelson Mandela Bay.
Port Elizabeth Metro Bed and Breakfast Association (Pembba) chair Shena Wilmot said networking was vital for any business as it helped connect with people and make connections that would be beneficial for all.
Sandile Phillip, regional director of FNB, which sponsored the networking session, said supporting businesses was vital to reignite the economy.
“Providing a platform for businesses to collaborate is key in creating jobs and reigniting the economy,” he said.
The networking session was followed by a game drive around the park and the cheetahs were also fed.