Ask anyone outside the region what the Garden Route is all about and they will tell you it is a place of beaches, lakes, rivers, mountains and forests. Ask them about the business that happens in the region and they will give you a blank stare.
This is the single biggest obstacle the region face in growing the local economy. Overcoming this must be the first step in any economic development initiative planning on attracting more business to the region, even tourism business.
In recent industry workshops run by the George Municipality it became clear that all the key industries in the region (Tourism, Manufacturing, ICT, Agriculture / Agri Processing) want to do better collective marketing and is dependent on business coming in from outside the region.
I propose that we create a single marketing message that goes out with all communication, for example
- marketing material
- rates bills
- email signatures
Something like “The Garden Route is open for business“ should do the trick.
This statement can easily be backed up by real data on the regional economy, which includes diverse industries such as airplane manufacture, electronics R&D and development, medical research and serious agri processing.
A clear and concise web page with the relevant background can be used to get the message across. Simple, do-able, quick to action and with massive impact.