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Tips on how the trade can work with Tourism Boards effectively

The tourism boards or authorities of various countries and regions can really augment the travel trade’s offering to clients, whether from a corporate, leisure or MICE perspective.

The main aim of the tourism board / authority is to increase the number of visitors to a destination and one of their key functions, amongst other things, is to partner with the travel trade to make this happen.

Representing and having represented tourism boards / authorities in South Africa for a number of years, such as Tourism Australia, Namibia Tourism and more recently, Swaziland Tourism Authority and the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing; Lloyd Orr Communications has a wealth of knowledge on what works in this market, and on the most productive ways in which the trade can engage to the mutual benefit of the travel company and the destination.

1. Make sure you are on the tourism board’s mailing list. This will ensure you receive up-to-date informative e-newsletters, receive invitation to seminars and workshops, be on the list for any relevant incentives and that you don’t miss out on the opportunity to participate in fam trips and educationals.

2. Get to know the account managers and personnel at the tourism board. Building relationships is what this industry is about and it is good to have a contact in-the-know.

3. There are often marketing funds available to assist travel companies to promote a destination. Ensure you prepare concise and detailed proposals that clearly show expected ROI and intended benefit to the destination -you can never submit too much detail.

4. If you are preparing a pitch for a group, MICE, or even for your leisure clients, make use of the available collateral that the tourism board has available to assist you to promote the destination. Most tourist offices have maps and generic brochures tailored to specific targeted segments.

5. Find out if the destination has any online training programmes that you can participate in, to enhance your knowledge and demonstrate your commitment to learning more. For example VisitBritain has a BritAgent (www.britagent.com) programme, which can be completed in a few very educational modules and completed graduates are placed on a priority list for trade events, fam trips and the like. Online training programmes are a great way to enhance expertise to your clients.

6. Partner with the tourism board / authority at consumer shows. It is an excellent way to promote the destination whilst sharing costs.

7. Go to as many workshops and seminars as possible. The tourism boards / authorities invest much time, effort and money in these workshops in order to help you, the travel trade. You never know you might learn loads, make some great contacts and even win a great prize!