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We came across this press release from Swaziland Tourism Authority today that we thought had fooled for a second, until we realized it was real. It wasn’t a joke, and it wasn’t a parody either, just pure earnestness and eagerness, most of which got lost in translation.
Being the smallest country in Africa, it has to project and that’s what it is doing in this release touting the “success” of its tourism site. It co-opts a bunch of current tourism marketing terms like, um, “google”, “community tourism” and “voluntourism”, among others, to weave through its achievements with the site.
Swaziland Tourism site leading the way
UNITED KINGDOM – June 18th, 2013 – At the end of last year an amazing 634 million websites were recorded as being live – one of which, and certainly the most important as far as Swaziland is concerned, was this one.
In 2010 www.thekingdomofswaziland.com was registered on behalf of the Swaziland Tourism Authority. It’s destiny; to become THE source of information for tourists and trade looking to travel to and sell this magnificent country. Two years on, the site provides thousands of visitors with information on Swaziland every month, and provides a wealth of information on the country. With almost 450 unique pages and content from how to get there, to information on over 70 accommodation providers, it’s also recognised by google as being a first class resource.
Our online lives for many are undoubtedly centred around google, whether we like it or not, so one of the main aims of the site was to make sure it was ranked high up on its listings. This enables anyone looking for Swaziland to get to the site quickly and easily. Creating a site that ticks all the right boxes from google’s point of view is no overnight task, and it requires a combination of precise coding, quality construction, and interesting and well produced content. This site is now only third to the likes of the BBC and Wikipedia when searching for ‘Swaziland’; true testament of the site’s quality and value.
A key element to building any great site is its on-going maintenance. It’s important that a website remains fresh and is constantly evolving. In order to ensure this, the last 6 months has seen a large number of changes, additions, and improvements to the site.
Extension to the ‘Travel Directory’
A priority of the site is to ensure that important information such as accommodation options and facilities are easily accessed – this is why we have a directory of accommodation. Some people traveling to Swaziland however may choose to camp, or to have a longer stay at a country club. With this is in mind two new pages have been created, dedicated to providing just this information. The new Camping / Caravan sites page provides information on where to camp, the rules about camping and also highlights how a night under the stars can really put you in touch with where you are. The new Country Clubs page does a similar thing, and is fast becoming an extensive directory of facilities available.
One of the key attractions that really enriches Swaziland as a destination is the amazing community and cultural experiences available. Swaziland is proud of its heritage, and whilst this element needs to be preserved and considered, tourists to the country do want to experience this. The new Community Tourism page lists everything from Sibebe Rock to the Ngwempisi Hiking trails, anything that we believe makes a great community tourism visit.
Voluntourism is the new word associated with a growing industry, aimed at those wanting to have more than a safari or relaxing pool side break. This is a serious, and expanding market and we needed to ensure the Swaziland website catered this emerging tourist. The new Volunteering Opportunities page does just this and provides a comprehensive list of information for those wanting to volunteer. Full information on the projects available as well as the relevant contact information can be found on this new facility.
And finally, we’ve created a dedicated area of the site for visitors to the country to tell us about their experience. Personal reviews and recommendations play a huge part in people’s decisions to travel, so we wanted to provide an opportunity for this to happen on the Swaziland site. This development has come in two parts. Firstly, our ‘Review Swaziland’ page includes an interactive form allowing visitors to quickly and easily tell us what they thought. The second part is ourblog. This area of the site will be used to publish the thoughts and experiences of travellers to Swaziland, giving them opportunity to openly publicise their love of one of Africa’s most undiscovered gems.