Participants in last week’s Garden Route Mega Fam, hosted by the Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) and Wesgro, have hailed the initiative as groundbreaking and a resounding success.
Some 45 buyers joined this first Garden Route Mega Fam, which saw participants split into five groups to experience five different itineraries, showcasing activities, attractions and accommodation in George, Knysna, Mossel Bay Oudtshoorn and Plettenberg Bay.
From whale watching to kayaking, wine tasting to horse-back safaris, the 45 attendees had an opportunity to experience the best the Garden Route has to offer, says SATSA Garden Route Chapter Chair Peter Dros.
A round-robin workshop kicked off the proceedings with 35 Garden Route tourism suppliers, from boutique hotels and tour operators to lodges and tourist attractions, in attendance to share the Garden Route’s many treasures. This was followed by three days of sampling first-hand what the Garden Route has to offer travellers.
This was her first visit to the Garden Route, says Kamilla Saban from African Wild Cat Charters, and now that she’s visited she realises there is so much to do and see she’ll recommend staying longer at each stop. “I enjoyed the educational side with the highlight of my trip being a visit to the Olive Farm where I learnt so much about the processes of farming.”
Fellow participant Prashant Ramlakan from African Pride is an adrenalin junkie, so he was in the perfect group to cater to his interests. “I knew the Garden Route was special, but didn’t realise how special until now. Think of anything and it can be done on the Garden Route.”
Dragonfly’s Jacolene van der Merwe said her highlight of the trip was the zipline experience, but she also gained destination knowledge that will help her with her client’s experiences in future. “I’ll ensure accommodation is booked in more central areas, so tourists can get to as many things as possible.”
The idea of a Mega Fam first arose a year ago, explains Dros. “We have SATSA to thank for initiating the Mega Fam and could not have imagined what a fantastic opportunity it became for local suppliers to connect with local buyers of tourism product and experiences.”
Dros thanked Wesgro for their support of this first initiative. “We would like to thank Wesgro for their efforts to help realise this event and their commitment to hosting another. We are also very grateful to all the suppliers who supported the Mega Fam, without whom we would not have been able to run such a successful event.”
This first Mega Fam serves as the basis for future such events, not only in the Garden Route but across South Africa, says Hannelie du Toit, SATSA Chief Operating Officer.
“SATSA represents a broad footprint of the inbound tourism sector and a successful collaboration like the one we have just seen between Wesgro and SATSA paves the way for future Mega Fams organised by other SATSA chapters and destination marketing organisations.”
To view all the photos from the trip, visit our Facebook Page.