The value of social media during times of crisis was highlighted by a new travel trade community initiative that was launched on a facebook platform during South Africa’s lockdown, called #tourisminmyblood.

The facebook group has received global attention. Within the first 10 days, membership had grown to more than 10 400 travel industry professionals in 99 countries, with more than 100 member posts per day.

The group is open to all people in Tourism. The forum is the brainchild of Greg Smith, Sales & Marketing Director of Johannesburg digital marketing agency Zebra360Online. and Richard de la Rey from Dark Giraffe Marketing. Smith says: ‘The Travel and Tourism industry is in survival mode and we need to stick together and share ideas on how to best deal with this global crisis. The #tourisminmyblood network focuses on sharing positive stories and marketing initiatives through creating a platform for industry colleagues to help and support one another. Information is exchanged about a wide range of topics, from member surveys and technology platform recommendations, to health and safety tips for hotels and lodges post-Corona. We can learn from one another’s experiences in how to cope and build strategies to survive the disastrous impact that the pandemic is having on the travel industry.’

While the world is in chaos and industry has ground to a halt, the travel trade is preparing for post-lockdown and looking at ways to promote travel products and stimulate sales, including boosting domestic travel in the short and medium term. ‘During times like these, the human factor comes to the forefront. Travel is all about people and experiences. This is a time to re-connect with acquaintances, re-establish business connections and explore new opportunities’, Smith says. The #tourisminmyblood platform invites agents and operators to share information on destinations and products within this network, with the view to forging solid working relationships that will be mutually beneficial to all parties in time to come.

‘It may be too early to say, and of course people are bound to have more frugal spending habits post-Covid-19, but there is potential for the rise in free independent travellers (FIT) business. With an influx of irresistible travel deals coming on line, we could even hope for some ‘revenge spending’ on travel. Either way, the travel industry has to be ready’, Smith concluded.

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