The Seychelles Tourism Board is among 12 regional tourism boards that have taken part in a three-day workshop focusing on digital marketing in tourism.
The ‘TripAdvisor Data Africa 2018’ workshop, hosted for the first time in Seychelles, was held at the Eden Bleu hotel from 19 to 21 March 2018.
Over the three days, participants were updated on key digital trends influencing travel in the tourism industry.
Damian Cook, Founder and Managing Director of E-Tourism Frontiers, a global programme that develops online tourism in emerging markets facilitated the workshop.
Mr Cook said digital marketing is the future for tourism, while highlighting that tourism marketing has shifted from the traditional models, such as advertising campaigns, to digital marketing contents produced by the visitors themselves, through social media posts of their vacation.
Mr Cook said tourism boards now have a role to manage the marketing of the destination, by finding ways to access content produced by visitors.
During his presentation, he showcased various real-life happenings to illustrate how countries have crafted creative online messages out of situations that impact them, that have helped to entice more visitors to choose the destinations for their holidays.
One other thing that came out of the workshop is that it is not only the tourism boards, but that the tourism trade, from hotels to travel agencies, also have to start thinking about moving away from using the traditional means of marketing and move more into digital marketing.
In her opening remarks, STB’s Chief Executive, Sherin Francis, described the DATA Africa workshop as a great opportunity for African countries to understand the dynamics of the digital impact on the existing market and emerging trends resulting from it. She urged all participants to make the most of the experiences gained from the E-Tourism Frontiers and the TripAdvisor teams.
The Seychelles Tourism Board ventured into the digital marketing world around three to four years ago. Today the organisation is very much visible on all the social media platforms and is always ensuring that it has the latest technology. When it comes to user-generated contents, aside of working with influencers and bloggers, STB has ventured out into getting tourists themselves to generate marketing materials through a video competition.
The Director of STB’s Digital Marketing section, Vahid Jacob, said while Seychelles has been able to catch up with most African and some European countries when it comes to online marketing in tourism, he is hoping his team will come out of the workshop with even more knowledge, expertise and new ideas gathered from colleagues from the regional tourism boards.
While in Seychelles, the workshop participants have also had the opportunity to experience the destination first-hand by engaging in activities such as a creole cooking class and other recreational activities such a zip-lining that are available for our tourists visiting the islands.