In November of 2014 a marketing initiative called West Coast Way was established to market the Cape West Coast and all of the towns and attractions which fall within and alongside this area – stretching from Blaauwberg to the top of St Helena Bay, including Hopefield, Darling and Mamre. The goal was to increase the amount of quality visitors to the area and thereby improve economic growth for the stakeholders and communities.
A little over a year later and results show a marked increase in visitors and interest in the targeted areas – proving this marketing initiative for the Cape West Coast a huge success for tourism development on the West Coast.
Local businesses attest to an improved year
According to Thys and Amalia van Niekerk, owners of the Thali Thali Game Lodge, they have definitely seen an increase in visibility for their business on social media and through the press, and since they started working with West Coast Way have seen a noticeable increase in enquiries and visitor numbers. “One of the greatest advantages has been our increased exposure on social media platforms and West Coast Way have succeeded in showcasing the undiscovered gems we possess here on the West Coast.”
Dianne Le Roux from Darling Tourism says that at a time when many markets are seeing a loss of traffic through their offices, the town of Darling is seeing an increase in visitor numbers and enquiries. Le Roux attributes this to West Coast Way and says that they are clearly driving tourists to explore the West Coast a little further. “I’ve seen a substantial increase in exposure on social media platforms for Darling over the time that we’ve been working with the West Coast Way team. Followers of our twitter account have increased dramatically within months and our face book page has seen a 25% growth.”
CEO of the !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre, Michael Daiber, says that in the course of a year West Coast way have increased not only !Khwa ttu’s, but also the West Coasts online presence significantly, both in google and social networks.
“West Coast Way has exceeded our expectations with the online marketing and social media drive. Their team includes devoted individuals with excellent experience and their positive attitude and extended network has proven invaluable.”
Towns and communities on the Cape West Coast and its immediate surrounds are now increasingly in the spotlight and are enjoying a renewed vigour and drive that has boosted income for the local businesses.
A busy years successes
Since inception, West Coast Way, which was founded by destination marketing specialist Carmen Lerm, owner and CEO of FusionDesign (who, over the years has also championed the marketing of heavy-weight tourist attractions such as City Sightseeing Cape Town, City Sightseeing Johannesburg, Hylton Ross and the Groot Constantia wine estate), has achieved great successes.
“Amongst these is the development of a beautiful guide and supporting brochure with a detailed map, both of which have been made available to the public at top Cape Town tourism destinations such as Cape Town Tourism, the Table Mountain Cable Way info centre, Groot Constantia and leading hotels; the creation of an interactive and informative website; the development of a list of 101 things to do and see on the West Coast and the conception and creation of West Coast Way’s 101+ Points Of Interest app – a fun, informative and free app which is an essential download for those wishing to explore this beautiful part of South Africa,” explains Lerm. “All of this supported and underpinned through an active Twitter presence and the establishment and ongoing active management of a Facebook presence that already has over 14 000 followers. We also have active and strong media relations campaigns running on a regular basis as part of our drive to increase exposure for the Cape West Coast and its stakeholders and communities.”
In addition to this, West Coast Way has also established two exciting circular self-drive sightseeing routes – the Culture and the Foodie Routes, which showcase the very best locations and attractions on the Cape West Coast. These routes are the perfect guide for anyone taking a road trip up the west coast – whether their focus is sightseeing, photo opportunities, history, culture, food, fauna and flora or adventure and activities.
Most recently, West Coast Way also launched West Coast Way Trips & Tours – an exciting new tourism offering in the Western Cape that provides a chauffeured shuttle service which explores the Cape West Coast and surrounds.
“West Coast Way acts as the front door for the Cape West Coast – showcasing its beautiful outdoor wedding and events venues, attractions, unique character, cultural and natural experiences – everything that makes the area unique. And in so doing significantly increasing the number of quality visitors to the area who then get to ‘take the road less travelled’.”
“Tourism creates opportunities for communities, and this is a major focus for West Coast Way,” explains Lerm, who cites the example of the newly developed Heritage Walk in Mamre – which forms part of the Culture Route. “The Heritage Walk was developed in conjunction with the local community of Mamre. We worked hand in hand with them to launch this unique new walking tour which is now entirely managed and run by the community.”
“Culture and creative industries are increasingly being used to promote destinations and enhance their competitiveness and attractiveness, and West Coast Way is committed to showcasing the Cape West Coast’s cultural and heritage attractions.”
“The West Coast has so much to offer and we feel that it is important that potential visitors see the bigger picture. A visit to the West Coast is about the rich authentic experience, the vibrant “real” people, food and colours you will find here, the beautiful unspoilt environment and the myriad of attractions and activities that can be enjoyed,” says Lerm.
Any businesses interested in working with West Coast Way can contact them on 0861 321 777 or email Carmen Lerm on [email protected]. For more information on West Coast Way visit www.westcoastway.co.za. Connect with West Coast Way on Facebook and twitter at WestCoastWaySA.