During Africa Travel Indaba this year, I heard a lot about Pointers SA, a digital marketing company that is slowly revolutionising the way we see travel. Nontombi Hadebe from the company spoke to Clinton Moodley to shed some light on what they have to offer to travellers.
What is Pointers Southern Africa?
Pointers Southern Africa is a digital marketing company that caters for noncommercial and commercial sectors. We cover points of interests for the local and international tourist using the latest technology to showcase South Africa’s tourism destinations and tourism opportunities.
How did this idea come about?
Pointers Southern Africa is based in Tembisa. We’re using Tembisa as an example of what we can offer and will take our concept model to other townships. There are so many townships that need to be showcased and we are up to the task as a vehicle to revitalise the township.
How will this revolutionise township travel?
The township has always been labelled as a place of violence, a place of crime and that no good could come out of a township. Bad things that happen in the township are top news but no one actually gets to show the side of the township that has an impact when it comes to contributing to township tourism and economy and it’s SMME’s. When this does happen, it’s usually very short lived and people forget about it all very quickly. Township tourism experiences will help revolutionise township travel by showing the world and locals the history and lifestyle of the townships such as restaurants, boutiques, entertainment and guesthouses. The way we showcase townships will create a welcoming feel to the masses that once had preconceived ideas of what a township is and what a township can offer them. Our greatest goal is to join the economic tourism dots in the township and create a full rounded, revolutionised experience in line with international tourism and digital platform standards.
Which areas have you targeted so far?
Tembisa in Johannesburg. There are points of interests that people can get to experience within the township, especially the locals. Restaurant, Kabo Gcina , an art gallery called 4 Room Creative Village and Tembisa Street Food Market are niche establishments in Tembisa that we have profiled on our app and have done digital production for.
How has the response been from travellers?
Since the inception of Pointers Southern Africa our main focus has been to get both local and international travellers to download the app and use it to facilitate their travels from point A to point B. Having that as our core focus, we have not yet formally engaged with our travellers to see their response. However, we have had a numerous local travellers in Tembisa commending us for the work we have done in the township.
What do you hope to achieve this year?
We want to give visitors a township experience even before they get to experience it. We want to achieve an increase in the amount of Pointers Travel App downloads in South Africa so people can experience what we have to offer as a country. Currently, we are sitting on 75 000 downloads in SA and our realistic target is to get to 500 000.
What is your advice to tourists?
We would advise tourists to take a break from the commonly visited sites and start to explore other spots. There are amazing activities on offer in townships just waiting to be visited, from extreme sports, galleries, gastros and social markets – the township has something for everybody.