Tuesday, 07 January 2020 11:26

January 2020 Newsletter

Zulu Dancers at the 2015 AGM of the 1000 Hills CTO Zulu Dancers at the 2015 AGM of the 1000 Hills CTO Shelldon Wells

 

 Welcome to the first newsletter of 2020! The year past was a difficult one for the previous 2018/2019 committee, but the new committee (2019/2020) has already met once and the year ahead is looking promising. Our newsletter introduces the new committee as well as lays out some of the events planned for the upcoming year.

It is my pleasure to start off the new year of 2020 with what will be the first of our monthly newsletters. At the previous AGM held in December 2019, it was made clear that many members felt that there was no feedback from the committee; this will change during my period as Chairperson of the 2019/2020 1000 Hills CTO committee, and I hope it will be a change that continues into the new committee for 2020/2021.

As a tour guide based in the 1000 Hills area, I have long believed that we have a potential here that remains untapped. Many people both in South Africa and from the rest of the world, are looking for more than to just lie about, sun baking on the beautiful beaches of Durban. Research has shown that visitors are now, more than ever, looking to connect on a personal level; that they are looking to experience more - and this is where I believe that the 1000 Hills can firmly place itself as the number 1 destination in Durban.

Unlike many other towns and suburbs around Durban, the 1000 Hills area offers everything from Zulu cultural tours and experiences, wildlife safari drives, markets, water sports, to go-karting, laser tag; the list is quite extensive and for visitors to Durban, there's few better places for tourists to visit and it's where we as a tourism destination can really shine.

However, it is no good having such a fantastic opportunity to wow visitors if those very same visitors know nothing about the area!

This is where the 1000 Hills CTO has it's work cut out for it. In this day and age, no one is going to blow the 1000 Hills horn if we don't do it ourselves. The 1000 Hills CTO committee has already begun planning on how to better market the area to prospective tourists, both local, national and international. But we simply cannot do it all ourselves.

It needs a collective effort from all tourism role players in the 1000 Hills to spread the word on just how amazing the area is and what there is to experience here. If we all spend just a few hours a month pushing that message, whether is be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or even on your own web site blog, then tourists will start to take notice and our hard work will pay off.

The 2019 AGM

For those that were able to attend the 2019 AGM held in December,  a big thank you from me; for those unable to attend, I hope to see you all at the next AGM. The AGM did not go smoothly and was poorly attended it must be said, there were many critics of the previous committee and with good reason. Some of the issues raised by the CTO members was the lack of feedback and communication.

In the past the committee used to organise "networking sessions" where members gathered and the committee then reported back on there progress to date. This is something that has been missing over the previous few years and it's an event I plan to once again have (details to follow in due course). On top of the networking sessions, I will be publishing a blog post / newsletter after every committee meeting to keep our members up to date.

The 2019 / 2020 Committee

At the very same AGM held in December 2019, the old committee was dissolved and the new committee was voted in to represent the CTO. The 2019/2020 CTO committee comprises of the following members;

 

Shelldon Wells Chairperson
Tristan Dickerson Vice-Chairperson
Paul Paine Treasurer
Christine Standeaven Secretary
Jane Candow  
Sakhile Xulu  
Adrian Rowe  
Trevor Clarke  
Vusi Kweyama  

 

Events and Marketing

There are a number of opportunities that appear throughout the year where the 1000 Hills can market itself to a wide audience. Most of these events are attended every year, whilst others or attended only if we have funds and/or volunteers available. Often Durban Tourism will fund an event on our behalf and we get to attend at no cost (except travel and time), an example is Indaba. For the most part the CTO committee will once again be apart of these events as the potential for tourism is certainly worth our attending.

Often during the course of the year, there will be requests for funding of new events in line with the CTO's objectives and goals so the following events listed may very well change as the year moves along.

Below are the events the the CTO has been apart of over the previous years and will most likely be a part of again;

WTM Africa

https://africa.wtm.com/

Indaba Africa

https://www.indaba-southafrica.co.za/

Home and Garden Show

https://www.housegardenshow.co.za/

Amashova

https://www.shova.co.za

Waterfall Marathon  
Outdoor Expo https://www.gauteng.outdoorexpo.co.za/
Comrades https://www.comrades.com/

 

East Coast Radio and Durban Tourism

As an example of some of the marketing undertaken by the 1000 Hills CTO, over the December period Durban Tourism partnered up with East Coast Radio and spent a morning talking about the 1000 Hills area. One of our members (and Vice-Chairperson), Tristan Dickerson spent a great deal of time being interviewed by ERC and sold the 1000 Hills area very eloquently - in fact I had the opportunity to sit down with the ECR team at lunch and many of them remarked about how little they know of the 1000 Hills and how they wanted to return with families in tow.

This is the power of marketing seen first hand!

The 1000 Hills Brochure

The 1000 Hills brochure is published by Durban Tourism as needed. The brochure is paid for by Durban Tourism and is taken to every trade show and activation that Durban is a part of. There is to be another printing run planned for the early part of 2020 and the committee will be going through the current brochure to ensure members details are correct. There will once again be an opportunity for members to purchase advertising space in the brochure - more details to follow in due course.

Membership

The current committee is filled with individuals who are keen to make a difference and improve tourism in the Valley of 1000 Hills area. However, unless members are fully paid up, they simply wont benefit from the marketing, the events or even the advertising that is done over the year. So it's imperative that members ensure that they are paid up in full. If a member is unsure, simply contact Thulani at the 1000 Hills office and he will be able to assist.

Apart from the benefits received from the marketing and advertising  throughout the year, it is in fact a legal requirement.

One of our committee members, Adrian Rowe has volunteered to update our membership database and reach out to out members who may have simply forgotten to re-register. This task is not a simple one and I have to give a big thank you to Adrian to even volunteer to do this!

Many members have asked how being a member benefits them. It's a good question and the answer is fairly simple. Our members are featured on the 1000 Hills website and the brochure for starters, many members will be invited to attend trade shows, our members are part of N3 Gateway and may shortly be able to register with the chamber of Commerce at a reduced cost; all this for just R400 per annual (R500 for new members) - and that's just the tip of the iceberg!

The Year Ahead

As we head into 2020, which we all know from previous experience will whizz by, I hope to meet many of you at our networking events or the next AGM. In fact, any paid up member is welcome to attend one of our committee meetings and would love to meet anyone who cared to stop by and attend (feel free to contact me for the details of the next meeting).

As I mentioned right at the start, the 1000 Hills has massive potential to draw visitors from Durban, but we can only do that if we are all pulling in the same direction. So I would like to encourage all members to share their thoughts on how the 1000 Hills could better promote and market itself.

 

Best wishes to all

Shelldon Wells

Chairperson, 1000 Hills CTO

Shelldon

Hi! My name is Shelldon Wells and I'm a tour operator based in the Valley of 1000 Hills. Not only do I manage Country and Coastal Touring and take guests on tours, but I often write about the Valley of 1000 Hills as well as subjects such as the battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal, fly-fishing and more (I clearly do not own a TV!). It just so happens that for my sins I am also the Chairperson of the 1000 Hills Community Tourism Organisation and serve on a number of tourism related associations.

 

 Follow me on Twitter or Instagram.

https://www.cctouring.co.za
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