South African Tourism has signed an agreement with Google Earth that gives visitors to the site an online tour of the country before visiting in person. South Africa is only the third country to be granted a country-wide layer and the recent acquisition strengthens the country’s presence in the virtual world and adds further clout to the destination’s already formidable online marketing activities.
The website www.earth.southafrica.net encourages users to take a flying tour of South Africa online and allows them to discover the unique attractions that each province has to offer. The layer enables web surfers to locate places of interest and zoom in to identify tourist services, interesting activities and places to stay. The Google Earth layer also sports an itinerary planner, customisable trade resources, and detailed information on each location which trade partners can import onto their own websites.
Lebohang Mokhesi, UK Country Manager for South African Tourism, said: “The tourism industry is becoming increasingly digital, and research shows us that more and more travellers are making their buying decisions based on internet research. We are confident the travel trade, tour operators and individual travellers will find South Africa’s presence on Google Earth to be beneficial when they package holidays to South Africa.”
Having a virtual presence on Google Earth places South Africa on the world’s most viewed map. With more than 350 million users, Google Earth’s satellite imagery covers more than 30 percent of the world’s land surface and 50 percent of the world’s population.
Mokhesi added: “We are determined to maximise the digital environment in both our marketing and online booking and purchasing options, and the Google Earth layer enables us to exploit the power of the internet.”
Through this creative and user-friendly idea, South African Tourism is demonstrating its commitment to providing cutting edge support to both the local and global travel industry as well as the travellers all over the world who are considering a visit to South Africa.