Exclusive Interview with Adrian Gardiner of The Shamwari Game-Reserve

25th Sep 2001

Mr. Adrian Gardiner, owner and founder of The Shamwari Game-Reserve, Shares His Views Regarding E-Commerce.
Adrian Gardiner, chairman of the (award winning) Shamwari Game Reserve and winner of several awards himself is regarded as a conservationist and businessman. He owns and has built the known safari that is The Shamwari Game Reserve from wasteland. Gardiner`s ambition ten years ago was to re-introduce indigenous wildlife to an area from which it had been wiped out nearly 2 centuries ago.

The Shamwari Game Reserve incorporates a cultural centre as well as an education centre that is visited by 300 school children per month. Gardiner`s dream has been the driving force of this astonishing transformation of agricultural land to conservation status.

The magnificence of this Reserve has been recognised world wide, winning several prestigious awards. Among them, World Traval Awards, (4 years running) for Leading Conservation Company and Worlds Leading Safari and Game Reserve.  Gardiner was honoured by the DRV in 1996 with its international Conservation and Tourism award for his contribution to improving the environment. Shamwari was nominated as the second most important conservation project in the Southern Hemisphere by British Airways- Tourism for Tomorrow Act. Shamwari also recently won the Audi Terra Nova Award. It is the first time that this award has been given to a business related conservation.

The Shamwari Game Reserve also co-operates with the Born-Free foundation based in London and together, they perform the heroic task of rescuing big cats from unsuitable confinement.

The charming Mr Gardiner who states that the tremendously successful Game Reserve has `far exceeded his expectations.` He was kind enough to agree to share his valued opinions concerning e-commerce and its benefits in the tourism industry.


p>Since 1999, Gardiner has invested much time and finance into his web sites. See www.shamwari.com These web pages are both detailed and user friendly. As a keen internet user, Gardiner can boast of having really taken advantage of the unique service it can offer businesses.

Shamwari.com. was designed by Fortune Cookie and local South African company, Beehive Communications. The online services offered to clients include bookings, newsletters and a tour operator link, enabling 24-7 access to users across the globe.

Gardiner felt that being online had immensely benefited the reserve because of the increase in public awareness that it has created. He also found that it enabled the company to communicate more effectively with customers. He pointed out that guests who had stayed at the Reserve leave their e-mail addresses on departure and Shamwari keep them up to date this way.
In terms of global representation, the system is being distributed globally. It is currently transcribed in German and English. There are, however, plans for expansion in the near future. The web site gets more traffic from Europe and North America.
With 1000 regular visitors to shamwari.com, Gardiner revealed that the most popular pages are Accommodation, Animals and News Articles. On visiting these pages, it is clear why these elegant sections are the most frequently visited. The `accommodation` section offers users a virtual tour of the luxurious suites and rooms that are available to best suit their needs. By clicking on `on the wild` section, the user gains access to virtual binoculars and can use them to search the virtual landscape for animals.
In response to a question concerning ratio of customers booking online compared with those using travel agents or tour operators, Gardiner reported that it is difficult to say because while some internet browsers may book straight away others won`t. The bookings made through the travel agents are in slight decrease each month.

Gardiner sees the internet as a very important marketing tool that is both unique and highly effective. In terms of cost saving, one example he could instantly provide was the level of requests that there are from clients for brochures/ leaflets. They can just go online for any required information instead! He added quickly that this does not take away their desire to see, touch and feel the brochures and leaflets represent.

Shamwari are always planning and expanding their internet capabilities. Gardiner does not question the value of its service, or the profit that he sees compared to his investment. He views the internet as an essential component of modern business transaction.

For further information about the Shamwari Game Reserve contact details:

Shamwari Game Reserve,

PO Box 113,

Port Elizabeth,

South Africa.

Tel: +27 42 203 -1111

Fax: +27 42 235-1224
E-mail: [email protected]

Website: www.shamwari.com



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