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George Tourism Conference Highlights Regional Success and Future Plans

George Tourism Conference Showcases Collaboration and Innovation

On Thursday, May 9th, 2024, the annual George, Wilderness, and Uniondale Tourism Conference convened at the esteemed Fancourt Hotel in George, attracting over 70 local stakeholders eager to engage in discussions about the region’s tourism landscape.

 The conference served as a platform to update attendees on the achievements of George, Wilderness, and Uniondale Tourism in the current financial year, while also providing insights into upcoming plans for the new budget cycle.  Tourism Advisory Committee member, Leroy Ferreira, who is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Fancourt, opened the function with a warm welcome, setting a tone of hospitality and collaboration.

Joan Shaw, manager at George, Wilderness, and Uniondale Tourism, delivered a comprehensive overview of the organisation’s yearly accomplishments and future aspirations. Key destination statistics, airport arrivals, and market insights were presented, offering valuable information on visitor demographics and trends. Sharon House, from George, Wilderness, and Uniondale Tourism, emphasized the importance of engagement and updates for the CRM system, outlining various marketing opportunities available to stakeholders. Strategies for promoting the greater George area as a premier tourism destination were discussed, underscoring the collective effort required for success.  Representatives from the Tourism office shared insights into upcoming plans, including a sneak peak about the ‘George, Naturally’ campaign and marketing strategy objectives, as well as supported events for the 2024/25 financial year and future development plans aimed at sustainable growth.

Paul Hoffman from H2P Project Management provided insights into the George Municipality Economic Development Strategy, encouraging feedback from attendees to ensure alignment with community needs.  Engaging presentations were delivered by fellow tourism stakeholders from the Garden Route and Klein Karoo Avitourism Project, Wide Open Spaces, Francois Ferreira Academy and Apprentice, and the Garden Route National Park, fostering connections and collaboration within the tourism community.

A highlight of the conference was the lively competition offering attendees the chance to win exciting prizes, generously sponsored by local businesses. From accommodation vouchers to adventure experiences and culinary delights, the prize lineup showcased the diverse offerings of the George area.  The amazing prize line up included accommodation vouchers from Buff and Fellow, Pirates Creek, Livingstone Villa, Harvil House, Woodifields Estate, Oubaai Hotel, Golf and Spa, as well as Libertas Guest Farm.  Experience and activity prize vouchers were diverse, with adventure offerings from Side Street Adventures (guided tour for 4 people on an e-bike to the Map of Africa), Guided Wine Walk with Wide Open Spaces, entries to the Karoo to Coast mountain biking event, and a guided hike or trail run by Explore with Cobro.  The George Golf Club offered an 18- hole round of golf for 4 players, Elevate Action Centre gave away multiple jump vouchers, and there were also vouchers for the fun Insomniac Party Bus experience, as well as a cooking class at Francois Ferreira Academy.  The scenic Outenqiua Powervan sponsored 10 tickets for a trip up the mountain, while Ezet’s Tours gave away a Garden Route Tour experience for 2 people.  Kruisaar Padstal sponsored a sit-down roosterkoek meal, the Noshery pizzeria and deli at Redberry Farm offered a wood-fired pizza voucher and Kontrei Padstal gave away two breakfast vouchers.  Rounding it off was a Wine Lover’s Executive Gift Box and 3 Moleskin notebooks by the George Airport, and R500 in vouchers from the Garden Route Mall.

The conference was a resounding success, with attendees praising the organisation and quality of the event.  “Thank you for a superbly organised and very informative and enjoyable conference. We were inspired”, said Rika Sarvant from Seabreeze Cabanas. Mariska Louw from Golf in the Garden Route thanked the team, saying that it was very informative. “I wanted to extend my sincere gratitude for hosting the Tourism Conference at Fancourt. The event proved to be both insightful and necessary for our industry. Also, a good opportunity to network. Thank you for this initiative” added Linda Potgieter from Libertas Guest Farm. “This year’s conference was wonderful,” concluded Anthony Rosenbaum from Wide Open Spaces.

The Tourism office expressed gratitude to sponsors and delegates for their support and participation, reaffirming their commitment to the local tourism industry.  “We had an RSVP list of approximately115 stakeholders but only around 70 people were able to make it, and we understand that the servicing of the influx of rescue personnel to our area took the highest precedent.  It was an incredibly tough week in George, and we are proud of how the local Tourism industry responded to the Victoria Street crisis by sponsoring rooms and breakfast to frontline workers, providing donations to the rescue efforts at company level and the individual responses of residents across the city,” says Joan Shaw.  “We would also like to extend an enormous vote of thanks to Fancourt for sponsoring the venue and catering, to SND Productions for the big discount applied on the audiovisual services and to every delegate who could attend.  It was great to connect with you all in person”, added Shaw.

Relevant stakeholders residing and operating in George Municipality interested in becoming a part of the local tourism community, such as activities and experiences, restaurants, accommodation and events, can complete the Digital Registration application. For any questions or further assistance in this regard, stakeholders are welcome to contact Lindi Harley from George, Wilderness and Uniondale Tourism via email: or telephone: 044 877 0045.