Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Cape Town Routes Unlimited – Leading the way to the Regional Tourist Board of the Year, 2008 Global Awards

Nominated by European CEO for the Regional Tourist Board of the Year, 2008 Global Awards, Cape Town Routes Unlimited (CTRU) the destination marketing organisation for Cape Town and the Western Cape, is a logical choice and in fine position to clinch the title.

Emerging from a year which has seen its share of both triumphs and adversities, Calvyn Gilfellan, CEO of CTRU, whilst acknowledging the great importance of securing the Regional Tourist Board of the Year, 2008 Global Awards, continues to proudly lead his team with foresight and determination and has worked resolutely to get to this point.

Gilfellan's personal vision for the organisation is to develop and grow the tourism potential in Cape Town and the Western Cape for the benefit of everyone who calls it home. This, helped along by a unique leadership style based on a deep and innate connection with people and the fundamental pride he has in his country and its citizens, all combines to impassion the way he markets the destination and truly makes him its best ambassador.

In the beginning

CTRU, was created in 2004 and tasked to promote Cape Town and the Western Cape as a premier leisure, events and business tourism destination, and ensure that visitors enjoy their stay.

A task made simpler when the region in question is renowned for its unforgettable natural beauty, considered one of the best year-round value for money holiday destinations in the world, has a mild mediterranean climate, an existing and expanding infrastructure, four world-class universities, conference, exhibition and event facilities capable of accommodating everything from a meeting to a world cup, and is dead on par with other world cities such as London and Sydney.

Branding Cape Town and the Western Cape

CTRU actively markets Cape Town and the Western Cape as a brand which promotes sustainable growth, transformation and pride, and provides strategic direction and marketing support to the province’s tourism industry.

And with five focus areas - leisure tourism, events, conferencing and incentives, visitor services and product development, CTRU has successfully built a brand which has already seen Cape Town become the number one long-haul destination in the world, the top convention destination in Africa and receive the 2008 World Travel Award for being Africa’s leading destination.

Results from an AC Nielsen research survey commissioned by Cape Town Routes Unlimited confirms that South Africans regard the Cape Town and Western Cape brand as the strongest destination brand in South Africa. And while still eclipsed by Kwazulu Natal with domestic visitor numbers, this destination is fast closing the gap.

Unique thematic approach

Always progressive in its thinking CTRU has developed a unique thematic approach with which to market the experiences of Cape Town and the Western Cape. The themes cut across and address both geographic spread and seasonality and captures the character of the province which is defined by seven overarching experiences which describe the quintessential Cape Town and Western Cape way of life.

Very briefly, these seven experiences fall under the headings of: Exploring eco and nature, Being outdoor active, Discovering culture and heritage, Savouring gourmet delights, Revitalising body, mind and spirit, Enjoying the cosmopolitan vibe and Dynamic business networking.

Cape Town as a "hook"

On the topic of innovations which set CTRU apart from its competitors, Gilfellan outlined how the organisation has used the destination’s natural beauty and resources to implement an aggressive marketing strategy across its six regions to further geographic spread.

This key strategic objective is effectively addressed by exploiting all that Cape Town has to offer and using it as a “hook” to leverage exposure for the Western Cape’s lesser known regions which are marketed under the following sub-brands i.e. Cape Town, Cape Garden Route and Klein Karoo, Cape Karoo, Cape Overberg, Cape West Coast, Cape Winelands. In this, CTRU is singular in its approach as this practice has not yet been adopted by other South African provinces.