Posted: 14 May 2020 Join the #VirtualTravelSA (Virtual Travel South Africa) Community

An invitation to the Tourism Industry in South Africa: join the Virtual Travel South Africa Community

During the global pandemic of Covid-19, tourism as an industry has been flattened. It was an industry that was already struggling due to the worldwide recession. Tourism is a huge income generator - from the supply chain and service providers to travellers. Looking to rebuild the industry, in South Africa, we have ignited #VirtualTravelSA. This exciting campaign is about promoting the tourism industry in our beautiful country. With travel at a stand-still, our platform is about creating virtual experiences of what is on offer in our country and encourage everyone to support and travel locally after the lockdown. We need to show the world what we have on offer so that when borders are opened up and physical travel is possible again, then we will be on the top of the list of countries to explore. If we stop and go into a travel lockdown, nothing will happen.

Game reserves, hotel, restaurants, destinations are in lockdown and when they open, they will need bookings. This is a reality check. The situation during this pandemic requires UNITY and that is what we are about.

#VirtualTravelSA Community is for people with a passion for travel and travel in South Africa. Our created groups are platforms and spaces where we can share our travels and discoveries, beautiful photography and help to create bucket list ideas for adventures after the lockdown.

The #VirtualTravelSA project is a collaboration between passionate industry professionals.

The idea was conceptualised by Patrycja Oosthuizen (founder of #TravelChatSA and owner of Travel Opulent Box Media and Communications – a company which is focused on themarketing and social media management in the hospitality industry - www.travelopulentbox.com) and Riaan Jordaan, Brendon Ciaravino, Daniel Lucas of Riaan Jordaan Marketing & Photography - which provides social media management services andphotography for the tourism industry. https://riaanjordaan.co.za/ and https://riaanexplores.com/).

We are grateful to individuals, communities and tourism entities who have come on board and who are helping with the initial planning, managing of groups, content and sharing ideas.

To mention some of those in the start-up phase:

We are growing daily and more and more industry people are coming on board. You are invited too!

Multiple groups on Facebook have been created for people and businesses in tourism to joinand share travel content.

The idea of the groups are two-fold:

1) For individuals to join and to create a "bucket list” for their next travel after the lockdown.Everyone is on social media at the moment so these groups are there for us to share positive news and to showcase areas and regions

2) Tourism businesses to share NO-PROMOTIONAL content - the idea is that you are in tourism to join FIRST on behalf of your business page and then as yourself. Let your business be the one to share the content. That way people in the group will see for example “XYZGuesthouse” or “XYZ activity” sharing beautiful travel images instead of you as a person. The marketing value lies in the fact that it’s your business name that is top of mind and sharing positive news. Your BRAND is being put forward. You do not have to create unique content forthe group. Do the post on your page and share it with the group if it fits the description.

Please note - the posts have to be authorized by admins in order to keep the feeds clean and on-topic so please be patient if the post is not immediately authorized.

We have rules

The two main rules for posting:

NO COVID posts: We believe that there is enough information now and we do not want toexpose ourselves to the risk of sharing false news

DIAL BACK ON PROMOTION: Please, we ask, NO OVERLY PROMOTIONAL posts. It is about promotion with added value. For example, do NOT include in your post that there is a 50% discount for property post lockdown. That will be pointless and the people following the groups do not want to be bombarded with specials when they cannot travel. We are creating awareness about our country but it is essential that we are cognisant of the current situation that we are in –in a global lockdown. We obviously cannot be encouraging people to travel now. Borders are closed. Lockdowns are in place. The groups are there for your business to SUBTLY put up your hand. Please word your posts accordingly: Something like “the view from XYZ guesthouse this morning - add us to your future travel list", or "Flashback to February when we did the zipline -what is on your bucket list for later this year” etc etc....

The groups that are currently open and active are the following:

Main Group #VirtualTravelSA - https://www.facebook.com/groups/357995081768874/

Garden Route: https://www.facebook.com/groups/VirtualTravelGardenRoute/

Klein Karoo:https://www.facebook.com/groups/VirtualTravelKleinKaroo/

Cape Winelands:https://www.facebook.com/groups/146793986766229/

Cape West Coast:https://www.facebook.com/groups/220241659077460/

Cape Town:https://www.facebook.com/groups/236154024424281/

South Africa:https://www.facebook.com/groups/357995081768874/

Overberg:https://www.facebook.com/groups/1122269711453975/

Northern Cape: https://www.facebook.com/groups/149834629784224

You are welcome to join any or all of them. Please invite your friends/communities. It's a joined effort and we are looking forward to having you on board too.

To join the groups as your page (join as your page FIRST then as yourself - not the other way around)

We have already seen a great response to our groups from the Tourism Industry, Tourism Boards and travellers from around the world. We are directly linked to the #TravelChatSA Community on Twitter and are started with Weekly Chats focused on each destination. Join us each Wednesday at 7pm on Twitter by simply following #TravelChatSA hashtag. Connect with Patrycja - @travelopulent and Riaan -@RiaanJordaanZa on Twitter for further details regarding weekly chats.

If you would like to join the #VirtualTravelSA campaign and highlight your destination as well a sjoin in managing Facebook Group for your area please get in touch with us. We will help with set up and introduce you to the community.

If you have any questions please contact us. Patrycja - info@travelopulentbox.com /WhatsApp 0790942848 Riaan - info@riaanjordaan.co.za / WhatsApp: 0827274560