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ASTA's 2009 Destination Expo Offers Educational OpportunitiesFebruary 17, 2009 By: George Dooley
For those looking to set themselves apart from the competition during these tough economic times, ASTA's International Destination Expo (IDE) to be held in Sun City, South Africa, March 8-11 is the place to be. Thanks to numerous seminars covering all aspects of selling South Africa and the chance to become a FUNDI (South Africa) specialist, travel agents will return home with the necessary tools to expand their client base immediately.
"These days everyone needs that extra edge," said ASTA President and Chair Chris Russo. "Competition is tough so any chance to distinguish yourself as an expert in an area that is still relatively new to U.S. travelers is a plus. South Africa is an up-and-coming destination for Americans and so now is the time to familiarize yourself with this country and be ahead of the curve."
All attendees will have the opportunity to take the FUNDI Destination Specialist course. This course, courtesy of South African Tourism, is designed to furnish agents with a thorough understanding of South Africa and provinces and provides attendees with suggested itineraries. This course compliments other seminars which focus on niche travel in the region. Among the offerings are:
Namibia: Experience it Yourself. Courtesy of Namibia Tourism Board. Presented by Johanna Shangala. Attendees of this seminar will gain in-depth information to assist in promoting Namibia upon their return home. Presentations incorporate an overview of the destination and various products of Namibia's tourism.
Discover Botswana: Safaris and More. Courtesy of Botswana Tourism Office. Presented by Obenne Mbaakanyi and Leslee Hall. This interactive session will teach travel agents all about Botswana and introduce them to the range of wilderness adventures and cultural opportunities Botswana has to offer.
Spa Tourism. Presented by Marnel Edwards, spa tourism is the one of the fastest growing niche markets in both the United States and Southern Africa. This seminar outlines the niche's unique selling points as well as the potential for combined packages such as golf, bush, beach and city breaks and will cover the spa and medical tourism niches, including such areas as how to deal with various suppliers and put together packages that will appeal to all types of travelers.
The South African Winelands Uncorked. Presented by Michael Oliver, this seminar provides a brief history of South African wine, including: the wine regions of South Africa. Participants will become familiar with the various brandies produced in the Cape and wineland cuisines, along with cooking classes, specialist producers and farmer's markets.
How to Find, Reach and Sell Your Product to the Home-Based Agents. Presented by Scott Koepf, home-based, independent and entrepreneurial travel agents are the biggest trend in leisure travel sales. This seminar will teach suppliers how to market to and find success with these agents.
The New Era of Faith Tourism: How to Capitalize on the Robust $18 Billion Marketplace. Courtesy of World Religious Travel Association. Presented by Kevin Wright, faith-based groups are turning in greater numbers to southern Africa. Wright will provide actionable product, sales and marketing strategies, so agents can start building a thriving and profitable faith-based travel program to Africa.
Generating Generational Sales to Southern Africa. Presented by Steve Gillick, this interactive seminar identifies the different generations of travelers who may consider southern Africa as a holiday destination. Upon conclusion of the seminar, attendees will be able to match the variety of attractions in southern Africa with the characteristics, needs and trends of each generation. Travel agents will receive tips on how to promote destinations they may not have visited as well as market themselves as a southern Africa authority.
Vacations of a Lifetime: Africa's Most Astounding (and Profitable) Travel Packages. Courtesy of South African Airways and South African Airways Vacations. Presented by Lucille Sive, this session focuses primarily on South African Airways Vacations and its private-label packages. Agents will learn how to promote and sell the countries in southern Africa that are offered by South African Airways Vacations–South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls) and Namibia.
Selling Destination Africa. Courtesy of Africa Travel Association. Travel agents will benefit from the knowledge presented by this panel of experts, who will discuss the current trends and strategies in travel to Africa. This seminar provides valuable facts on how Africa offers something for everyone–even the most discerning clients. Among the issues addressed will be: tourism growth markets, seasonal trends, responsible tourism, transportation and more.