Melanie Esterhuyse was initially employed as the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of De Doorns Cellar in 2000 when the winery joined hands with local DMO, Hex Valley Tourism Association. As the tourist association could not employ someone permanently at the time, Melanie volunteered to step up and assist them and developed a passion for this rapidly growing industry.
Over the past 25 years, Hex Valley Tourism’s purpose has changed from only serving as an information desk to taking on the role of a true philanthropist and representing the community in a more diverse way. By managing sustainable programs that will successfully and responsibly contribute towards the growth of the local industry and economy, Melanie and the Hex Valley Tourism Association hope to leave a legacy of endurance and steadfastness.
On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Melanie Esterhuyse about how this podcast has sustained her creativity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. She shares how the Hex Valley Tourism Association stepped up to the unexpected challenge and used it as an opportunity to move the organization forward into the future. We also discussed the evolution of the Hex Valley Tourism Association and how it has helped her region grow tourism to a meaningful economic contributor over the last 25 years through creative co-opetition.
The Hex Valley Tourism Association in South Africa is identifying ways that they can position themselves as unique and different from other similar destinations. PRO of the association, Melanie discusses how they worked on a creative marketing strategy that saw them partner with travel influencers to help their brand reach niche audiences and markets. Melanie also shares how her team created the amazing video content for their social media channels.
Managing expectations is critical in a partnership, but how do you set the groundwork for a successful partnership? Melanie explains why clear communication and giving back to the community supporting them is critical to achieving long-term buy-in. We discuss how the tourism association tapped into the community’s collective knowledge to promote their destination and how Melanie is leveraging the popularity of similar wine country destinations to build on recognition and broaden the experience for visitors and offer them even more.
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