Visit Stellenbosch: An integrated approach for inclusive tourism

Stellenbosch Wine Routes (SWR) and Stellenbosch 360 (S360) have agreed on a bold and ambitious plan to bring stakeholders together and grow the tourism and experience economy in Stellenbosch.

The foundation of this plan is the establishment of a new destination marketing organisation, Visit Stellenbosch, that connects all aspects of tourism and creates a compelling and unique place experience for locals and visitors throughout the year in the town of Stellenbosch and in the Stellenbosch Wine Region.

Visit Stellenbosch will unite all tourism stakeholders in Stellenbosch under a joint destination brand and a unified destination vision with a long-term tourism plan. Centralising the operational functions and resources of various tourism role-players, Visit Stellenbosch will enable stakeholders to invest more to improve service excellence, drive tourism innovation and enhance place product experiences.

At the heart of this plan is a determined social development drive that is focussed on job creation and skills development.

“Stellenbosch is globally known as a place where people come to discover, learn, create, start up, launch and bring into being. With Visit Stellenbosch we will make Stellenbosch a living tourism laboratory where we can pilot, test and implement innovative and scalable high-impact solutions to tackle pressing social and economic issues,” says Mike Ratcliffe, Chairman of SWR who championed the development of the plan.

“We have engaged with our colleagues at Franschhoek Wine Valley and look forward to cooperating with them for the benefit of the greater Stellenbosch region,” continues Ratcliffe.

The process of establishing the new DMO is at an advanced stage. An inclusive steering committee – representative of all aspects of the tourism economy in Stellenbosch – has been formed and tasked with the planning and operational rollout of Visit Stellenbosch. This committee will jointly be chaired by Ratcliffe and Jan Scannell, Chairman of S360.

The first planning meeting is scheduled for June 2019 and further communication around the organisation, its leadership, services and membership opportunities is planned for July 2019. In the interim, current services and activities provided by the respective stakeholders, such as the visitor information centre, will continue until further notice.

“The board of S360 believes that Visit Stellenbosch is the ideal launchpad to bolster and expand the work that S360 has done to build an extensive international tourism network for Stellenbosch that is centred around community development,” says Scannell.

The plan for Visit Stellenbosch is also closely aligned with the strategic objectives of the Stellenbosch Municipality, reinforcing the vision to position Stellenbosch as Africa’s innovation hub and South Africa’s top tourism destination for locals and visitors alike.

Executive Mayor of Stellenbosch, Gesie van Deventer, concludes “The strategic alignment of stakeholders under Visit Stellenbosch will unlock tourism potential, enhance our national and international image, and create more opportunities for our communities to thrive”.