CEO optimistic at Stellenbosch 360's AGM
STELLENBOSCH IS A ‘SMART’ TOWN WITH ‘SMART’ PEOPLE
At Stellenbosch 360’s AGM held on the 1st September at Spier wine estate, CEO Annemarie Ferns expressed her delight at the excellent growth of 17,3% in walk-ins at the Visitor’s Centre the previous year, affirming that this positive tendency continued by 7% during the first six months of 2016 with the high-season period still ahead. From January to June this year, accommodation reservations by the Stellenbosch 360 office also reached an all-time record amount of R 2,2 million, with postcard sales generating a record figure of R 98 000.
Successes and new initiatives
Membership of the organisation increased by 10% to 334. She thanked those members that also contribute a voluntary 1% tourism levy to Stellenbosch Publicity and Marketing (SPM), who as a result could contribute no less than R 600 000 to Stellenbosch 360’s marketing budget.
“What I am experiencing more and more, is that the town of Stellenbosch is a ‘smart’ town and that the people are ‘smart’ people – they don’t wait for things to happen, they take the lead, they inspire and innovate, they get and work together and explore new possibilities and achieve goals”, Annemarie Ferns enthused.
“I think that the extensive e’Bosch Programme and related activities in all our schools and communities, the Jamestown Strawberry Festival, the US Woordfees, the Dine with Locals initiative and the AmaZink Show in Kayamandi are all prime examples of ‘smart’ things happening in our town and surrounds,” she added.
Ms Ferns also highlighted the roles and contributions made by the two professional communications agencies Destinate and Hatch, in opening new global tourism perspectives of and opportunities for Stellenbosch.
“Through our Stellenbosch Experience campaign, in partnership with the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, our members and other partners, Destinate has been able to accrue international media coverage worth R 82 million during the first six months of 2016.”
“Hatch again, during the past financial year, succeeded in building our social media profile and presence exponentially - our followers increased by about 40% on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram globally. On Facebook alone, we now have some 13 000 followers and media and PR coverage of R 30 million was also achieved. I want to thank both these agencies for their outstanding work and dedication.”
Conferencing and events
Ms Ferns also firmly believes in the enormous potential of Stellenbosch as an international conference and events centre. “Stellenbosch and surrounds – over and above all its renowned world-class tourist offerings – have about everything required to position itself as a global conferencing and events centre, and various experts agree and are willing to help us. Just think about our existing top-rated facilities including conferencing and educational facilities, sport training facilities, accommodation and others … and never under-estimate that food, catering and other supplies can be sourced locally and create many new job opportunities.”
She elaborated enthusiastically: “The experts tell me that an investment of R10 million in conferencing and events renders a return of R 1 billion – just think of the 1 000’s of new jobs that can be created in our region! Our plan is to present a Mini Conferencing and Events Indaba by April next year where we will put such an extensive business plan on the table for further discussion.”