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Global recognition for Cape Town Tourism’s social media presence with Travel + Leisure Social Media in Travel + Tourism (Smitty) Award

Global recognition for Cape Town Tourism’s social media presence with Travel + Leisure Social Media in Travel + Tourism (Smitty) Award ( Cape Town Tourism has been announced as a winner in this year’s annual Travel + Leisure SMITTY Awards [ ] (Social Media in Travel + Tourism Awards) in the category Best Overall Use of Social Media, CVB, Global. The announcement was made in New York today.

The Travel + Leisure SMITTY Awards recognize innovative use of social media in the travel industry.

The 2012 winner for the category “Best Overall Use of Social Media, CVB, Global” was VisitSweden. In 2011, VisitSweden handed over control of their Twitter feed href="mailto:(@sweden">(@sweden) to regular citizens for one week at a time, in a bid to feature the local voices and flavors of Sweden.

Digital marketing and social media have been an integral part of Cape Town Tourism’s marketing programs. Cape Town Tourism’s eMarketing strategy focuses on using citizens and fans of Cape Town from around the world as the marketers of Cape Town. Some of the tourism organization’s digital and social media milestones include:

- The creation of a virtual fan park for Cape Town on Facebook. The I ♥ Cape Town [ ] Facebook fan page stands at more than 280,000 fans and was recently recognized as one of the top brand Facebook pages in the country.

- Regular tweets and blogs have earned Cape Town Tourism a place as one of the top 25 most influential tourist boards and DMOs online (rated by ).

- The launch of the new Cape Town Toolkit [ ] that includes diverse itineraries, high-quality images, and information about Cape Town that allows registered users in the travel, tourism, and marketing trade to access promotional material and resources at the touch of a button.

- An integrated marketing campaign with National Geographic saw Cape Town and Durban feature across National Geographic platforms for a period of fourteen months between April 2012 and June 2013. The campaign had a strong online focus and included a one-hour documentary about the 2 cities, a series of TV vignettes focused on the unique sounds of each city, an array of international National Geographic magazine features, editorial on National Geographic’s website, as well as a social media and digital campaign championed by National Geographic’s digital nomad, Andrew Evans.

- Cape Town Tourism was one of the pioneering DMOs to work with travel bloggers in a formal way. In August 2012, Cape Town Tourism hosted 4 top international travel bloggers as Cape Town iAmbassadors. The campaign was called #LoveCapeTown, and over the hosting period, it recounted their experiences of the destination across various digital and social media platforms. Cape Town locals were called on for crowd-sourcing ideas, and, as the marketers of Cape Town; their engagement resulted in over 36 million Twitter impressions in 3 weeks (via Tweetreach).

- In 2012, Cape Town Tourism used Facebook as a tool for uncovering Cape Town and it’s abundance of attractions via an interactive travel game app called My Cape Town Holiday [ ]. The app was launched as a competition that saw Facebook profiles being sent on holiday to Cape Town between October and December 2012, with the offer of the real thing for three lucky winners – announced in February 2013.

Rich Beattie, Executive Digital Editor of Travel + Leisure, says: “We launched the SMITTYS last year simply to recognize innovation in social media, but the competition has also raised the creativity bar for travel companies. The increased level of originality really showed in this year’s entries - we saw new ideas on every social media platform. And the addition of travel bloggers has injected the awards with even more energy.”

Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, CEO of Cape Town Tourism, said: “As Cape Town shifts its brand position to appeal to the new urban traveler, technology and digital marketing is set to play an even more significant role. The relationship between travel and technology is closer than ever. More destinations are turning to social media to promote their services and reach customers in a more intimate, interactive, and instant way. We know that today’s traveler is researching on social media. If they want to know something, they just put it out to the global community, so it’s a space Cape Town Tourism considers vital to play in, staying close to the conversation as a trusted member of the community. The widespread adoption of our hashtag #lovecapetown has been symbolic of the remarkable shift that communication and marketing has undergone in a very short period. I am very proud of the SMITTY award and the team that conceptualized the campaigns that it recognizes.”

You can tweet your messages to this year’s winners using the hashtag #TLSMITTY.

For more information on Travel + Leisure SMITTY Award winners for 2013, visit .

MEDIA CONTACT: Cape Town Tourism, PR and Communication Manager, Skye Grove, +27 21 487 6800, email ,

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