This Tourism Week Number 1 – Sunday, 18 August, 2002. Knysna

This Tourism Week. Number 1

Sunday, 18 August, 2002. Knysna.

It seems appropriate to me to start this new project just days before the World Summit in Jo’burg, although I’m not sure why.

Here’s what I plan to do: every week, I’ll be sending you an e-mail (with your permission, of course) to discuss tourism here in the Garden Route and Klein Karoo. Just an informal discussion between friends. Thoughts about running tourism businesses, new products, that sort of thing. I trust it’ll be fun and interesting, and that you’ll help me along the way by sending me your comments, criticism and ideas. Hopefully, together, we can build a database of at least 10 000 readers – ambassadors for this marvelous part of the world.

If you don’t like the idea, please e-mail me – – with the word unsubscribe in the subject line.

If you think I’ve got something worth sharing, please pass me on to your friends and ask them to subscribe by sending me a blank e-mail.

And, of course, I’ll keep the database to myself. This is private and between friends, after all.

Something Impressive That Ought To Be Shared

Funny how often we small business people will argue the toss about things that we haven’t researched thoroughly – particularly when it comes to marketing and advertising. I’m guilty of it too: I guess it’s a human thing.

But this week one of my clients showed me the results of a little research project that she’d conducted. Her method was simple: over a period of three months she asked every one of her guests what made them decide to book for her adventure. Then she placed her data into a table and worked out the returns on her marketing investment.

It would be unethical of me to tell you her results, but I can tell you this: they were astonishing and they changed my ideas a little. They also gave my friend a solid base on which to create her marketing budget and make her marketing decisions.

I’ve worked with hundreds of small businesses in the region and this is the first time that one of them has been able to show me relevant, cold facts. No more theory for this bright button – now she knows what works and what doesn’t work for her. She’s dealing in tangibles. She knows where her money’s been well spent, but, more importantly, she knows where it’s been wasted.

So she’s in the best position she could be. And it hasn’t cost her a cent.

A Gem of a Day

Went along as a team building facilitator for SEAL Adventures (http://www.seal/ – tel. 083 654 8755) last Saturday.

Now this is a company to watch.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with SEAL, it’s run by Chris and Nynette Heynderickx, and most of its activities take place at Knysna’s Featherbed Nature Reserve (http://www.featherbed/ – tel. 044 382 1697). They offer abseiling, hiking, canoeing and quadbiking both to casual visitors and to groups. My job was to lead my team from one activity to the next, and to make their day as much fun, and as constructive, as possible.

Wow, what an experience! Weather-wise, Knysna put on its best bib and bonnet: a typical balmy winter’s day, cloudless and almost wind-free (we have so many of them, and it’s a great pity that people still think of our winters as being wet and rainy). Our experience began with breakfast aboard the luxury cruiser John Benn, and my team’s programme (there were four teams in total) continued with quadbiking, abseiling and problem-solving games at the Reserve as well as canoeing on the Lagoon and cycling on Leisure Isle. Lunch was served under the trees at Featherbed’s Food Forest Restaurant – which, by the way, serves my favourite meal on the Garden Route – and we returned to town aboard the William Smith’s Rivercat Ferry Spirit of Knysna.

A special little thing happened on the way back across the Lagoon. We ran a face-painting competition for our group: the teams were asked to paint themselves to represent their themes (loeries, oystercatchers, seahorses and milkwoods). We found ourselves sharing the boat with a bunch of young school children (grade five or six, I’d say) – South Africans and their Korean guests. Somehow, our seahorse team started painting the Korean kid’s faces with hilarious results. We couldn’t speak any Korean, they couldn’t speak much South African, but everyone spoke Laughter quite fluently.

This is what tourism is all about – and what a privilege to be part of such a wonderful experience. In such a beautiful part of the country.

I highly recommend SEAL – for their half day abseiling excursions, their Awesome Foursome (quadbiking, canoeing, hiking and abseiling in one trip), and, of course, for their team building and conference activities.

Oh, and by the way: Team Milkwood – for whom I was facilitator – scored top marks for the day. Good to know you’re running with a winner – and a modest one – isn’t it?

Who’s This Martin Hatchuel?

Martin Hatchuel – that’s me – is a writer who has specialised in serving the tourism industry.

I have owned my own tourism business (you may remember the Kingfisher Ferry in Wilderness), and was the editor of Cape Tourism Update, the Cape’s tourism business newspaper. I’ve been a registered tourist guide since the mid ‘eighties. Also been a driver-guide, a waiter, a manager, kitchen hand and boat boy (that’s like being a chamber maid. But the floor rocks).

So, you see, I know the tourism industry from the bottom up.

I’m available if you need writing of any kind: business plans, strategic plans, training manuals, marketing plans, brochures, print and e-mail news letters, press releases, souvenir booklets, rooms brochures or web pages. I am able to plan and build itineraries and packages. I am available as a facilitator for team building and for creative workshops and as an experienced public speaker.

“We have probed the earth, excavated it, burned it, ripped things from it, buried things in it…That does not fit my definition of a good tenant. If we were here on a month-to-month basis, we would have been evicted long ago.” – Rose Elizabeth Bird, former California Chief Justice.

… Have a Great Tourism Week!



This Tourism Week is a personal e-letter and informed commentary on issues affecting South Africa’s tourism industry. If you don’t want to read it, please e-mail – but if you think it’s worth sharing, please forward this message to your friends and ask them to subscribe.