In a recent podcast conversation with Graeme Watson, Monika Iuel, Chief Marketing Officer of Wesgro discussed her career in the tourism industry and the challenges that the industry has faced in the wake of the pandemic.
Monika has been in the tourism industry since the mid-1990s and has experienced the highs and lows of the industry first-hand. She believes that one of the most influential events for the destination was the FIFA World Cup in 2010, which helped to spread awareness about the destination, debunking safety and security myths and showcasing the destination to households around the world.
However, Monika believes that the industry has not done enough to raise the game of smaller experienced operators and SMEs, who offer the kind of authentic, immersive experiences that consumers are now looking for. Productivity tools such as the “off button” and digital detoxes are becoming increasingly popular travel trends, and the industry needs to find ways to give these small operators and guest houses access to the market.
The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of the industry to the economy, and Monika experienced a sense of Afro-pessimism from the first world, which seemed to consider tourism as a “nonessential” industry. Monika believes that the industry has faced a greater reputation management challenge than expected, and travel bans have had no impact on the pandemic.
With new generations of travellers thinking and consuming the world differently, the industry must work to include smaller operators and SMEs in order to meet consumer demands. Wesgro is working to create lasting memories for families, and has brought four new destinations onto the international airlift network. Monika’s biggest advice to anyone wanting to get into the industry is to travel and experience what the reality of their source market is.
Anyone interested in learning more, they can visit www.wesgro.co.za and get in touch with Monika directly via her email – email@example.com. Additionally, they can subscribe, leave a review, and check out the Patreon page for the Kusa Cast podcast.
Monika and Graeme Watson are hoping to chat again in a year or so, and will keep us updated on the progress of the tourism industry.