All roads lead to Plett 

GRKK Plett Villa's Linda, Johannes & Denver from GRKK and Tessa from Bayview Hotel
Published: April 18th, 2023

The Plett Tourism Association at WTM Africa 2023

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with exceptional destinations from across the continent, the Plett Tourism Association joined products and towns from across the Garden Route & Klein Karoo (GRKK) at the World Travel Market (WTM) Africa at the Cape Town International Conference Centre last week.

Plett Tourism’s Porche September and Janet Middleton represented all of Plett’s Tourism sectors to a global market of tour operators. They were joined by trail-strong representatives from MTO Trails, Bhejane Adventures and Firefly Falls to aid in launching the new Plett Trails app as a product. The GRKK stand also hosted Plett’s Barrington’s, Plett Villas and Bayview Hotel. Linda Packwood, of Plett Villas is a veteran of 30 years of trade shows illustrates how important the partnership between tourism office and product is: “I find myself first promoting Plett and then my own business in all meetings as selling the destination is so important. Most tourists fly into Cape Town and do Cape Town and the game lodges up north and a detour to the Garden Route does add days to their already tight itineraries which is why it is so important for operators from abroad to understand the beauty and diversity we have to offer.”

As in previous years, Plett Tourism was selected as a proud media partner of WTM Africa accessing the show’s near 40 000 online community. Networking events provide additional opportunities to connect and reconnect as Packwood explains: “Janet from Plett Tourism and I attended the Tourism Awards, SKAL function and SATSA function which were all wonderful networking opportunities. It was lovely to see Melissa and other industry partners working hard on sustainable tourism and ILGA promoting sincere LGBTQ travel.”

The team met with interested buyers from around the world, featured in speed marketing workshops and attended presentations from industry experts. Travel and Trade consultant for Plett Tourism, Porche September was pleased with the variety of enquiries as buyers requested additional information about natural and cultural attractions, shopping and eating out, and adventure and luxury activities in and around Plett. “Plett is fortunate in its evolution as a multi-faceted destination that offers visitors far more than a beach experience. While our beaches are award-winning and world-class, Plett has so much more to offer including our adventure activities, winelands, cultural opportunities, kasi culture, hiking and mountain biking along with our signature events, Plett ARTS Festival and the Plett Ocean Festival. We are looking forward to working closely with interested buyers and local products for inclusion on their itineraries.”

Nicola Ash, of Barrington’s – who also assisted Plett Tourism in bringing Plett’s iKasi Life products to the show – expands on that: “We were thrilled with the response to our participation at WTM. International buyers are actively looking for new products to market particularly in Plettenberg Bay which is clearly taking the lead in this part of the Garden Route in terms of the diversity of what’s on offer for independent travellers to experience during a short stay. ”

The Plett Trails collaboration and Plett Trails app were also very well received by tour operators who appreciated the tangible connection between trail guides, trail information and their clients. Frank Carlisle of Bhejane Adventures explains, “We received positive feedback from tour operators who appreciated the initiative that brought together many stakeholders, products and guides to create a product that is ready for market.” Chase Jordaan, of Firefly Falls, recognised the appeal of guided hikes and rides for international tourists: “There is definitely a new trend in adventure travel evident from the meetings that we had. The Plett Trails app appealed to the market with clients wanting to know where they can hike or MTB. And, the fact that clients have direct access to private guides proved a huge plus.”

Douw van der Merwe of MTO Trails finishes off, “It was a very good experience for Plett Tourism to be at the show. I think it would have been better if Plett Tourism had its own unique brand and not just a part of the Garden Route & Klein Karoo. I think Plett on its own is a strong brand that pulls quite a lot of visitors to the region and I think it should be showcased as such. Despite that, I thought it was a nice platform to communicate the app and the additional reasons why people should come and visit Plett. The app is such a great communication tool for all, not just visitors but tour operators so that they can connect and see what is in and around the town and plan their itineraries because of the app’s features. The app also gives contact details for guides, which is fantastic. It opens up the doors for travel and tourism agents to contact these guides and actually start forming partnerships with them. It was important for MTO (and Bhejane and Firefly Falls) to be a part of WTM Africa as a good opportunity to represent what Plett has to offer. The position (ethos) that MTO takes is encouraging people to get out into nature and onto our trails. We are proud to stand fast alongside the Green Flag Trails Association which ensures that all our trails are accredited and maintained to a certain standard. It was really fantastic to be up there and we look forward to joining Plett Tourism again next year at WTM.”

And Packwood adds: “I have come back to Plett renewed with positive energy and a reminder of why I love this crazy industry I have always been in; travel and tourism will always be in my blood.” Plett Tourism will be reporting more on the wins and opportunities from WTM Africa in our next B2B mailer and Plett Conversations meetings. Find out more on www.pletttourism.com.

Plett Villas attended the WTM show in Cape Town 3rd to 6th April. We were on the Garden Route and Klein Karoo stand and Plett Trails, Plett Tourism, Barringtons’ and Bayview Hotel all flew the Plett flag. It was so encouraging to see the interest in the Garden Route and specifically Plettenberg Bay. Agents and operators were impressed that we have stunning natural beauty and the activities that creates, a fantastic wine route, adventure tourism of note, boutique shopping, fine dining and a growing wellness industry which is very important to travellers.