Getaway/FTTSA ‘dream travel job’: Day 2

Posted by Joy Anne Goodenough on 17 February 2011

Today was spent at the guest house here in Port Elizabeth. I joined in with the first day of a two day workshop run by FTTSA for some of the service providers and establishments I’ll be visiting on my trip. These included representatives from Coffee Bay, Bulungula, and Grahamstown.

The workshop was the final in a series which have been held over the past two years as part of a project funded by the National Development Agency and provided training in risk management and a talk by Paul from Calabash Tours on 10 tips for entrepreneurs in the tourism industry.

Over breakfast Kat and Kabelo from FTTSA (who wisely waited until I’d had my first cup of coffee) sprung a little surprise on me – they wanted to fill an unexpected gap in the day’s proceedings with me explaining what I’m doing and how this trip can benefit each of their establishments through online marketing.

So I found myself trying to explain blogging and social media to the group. This proved a little more challenging than I had anticipated as my question “Does anyone know what Facebook is?” was met with silence. This was an excellent experience for someone (me) who forgets sometimes that the whole world doesn’t spend stupid amounts of time online!

I can’t really tell if what I had to say made sense but I like to think that I was able to convey at least to some degree how important having an online presence is in the tourism industry – especially in the rural, far flung regions where some of those present operate. I also tried to illustrate the power of social media, and how NOT being visible online can be detrimental to any business.

I cornered Robert Mnika from Mehlodeng Adventure Trail – the place where I’ll be doing The Hike at the end of this journey, and asked him if people (me again) who are not super fit struggle on the hike? And if they had a plaque available which they could engrave on my behalf and mount on a rock somewhere up in the mountains to mark the place where I gasp my final breath? He very kindly assured me that I would be fine then hastened to add that he may be very busy when I am there as he is also a share holder in the company and often tied up in other business”¦ He was amazed when I told him this would be my first trip to the Drakensberg and he became touchingly eloquent about “˜his’ mountain and its beauty. It’s lovely to see someone who is so passionate about what they do and where they live and work.

I did however swim some lengths in the pool and slotted in a session on my yoga mat before supper. Just in case they’re all out of “˜last-gasp plaques’. Wonder if I’ll manage to keep that up?

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