Afriski celebrates its 20th anniversary with a rebrand

Afriski celebrates its 20th anniversary with a rebrand

One of only two ski and mountain resorts in Southern Africa, Afriski Mountain Resort celebrates 20 years of mountain adventure in the beautiful country of Lesotho.

Established in 2000, Afriski initially focused on developing a snow destination in Southern Africa, deep in the remote areas of the country. A perfect location in the Maluti Mountains which formed the right shaped ‘bowl’ for the perfect slope situated at 3222 metres above sea level. This did not come without its challenges. We had a temperamental lift system, no electricity, limited lances to make snow that relied on generators and if one needed cell signal your best bet was to venture to the top of Mahlasela Pass. 

 

Bringing us to 2020, Afriski now boasts multiple slopes, world-class snowmaking equipment and facilities, a wide range of summer activities and a destination that welcomes over 15 000 people a year. 

Re-positioning the resort into an all-year-round mountain destination, called for a brand audit and the decision to re-design the Afriski Mountain Resort brand. The re-branding exercise ties in with the businesses’ 20-year anniversary and “aims to shed light on the evolving worldwide trend of expanding the mountain experience way beyond just snow,” explains Director Peter Peyper. 

 

Afriski now boasts a full range of ways to play in the mountains, with activities that include mountain biking, trail running, hiking, fly fishing and enduro biking. Another area growing in popularity is high altitude training and a new activity called the Zipsail. This activity combines a shorter 600m zip line with an abseil of 70m, from a suspension station located on the cable in the air, above the resort.

Afriski is a Southern African treasure, so it was important for us to build on the existing energy and enthusiasm of the brand and repackage it for a market that appreciates responsible, proudly African businesses. We looked to the local Basotho culture for inspiration and the result is a colourful representation of the vibrant people and breathtaking landscape of this impressive Mountain Kingdom. The brand now enjoys a warmer and more inclusive colour palette applied generously together with strong, bold type and vibrant, rhythmic lines that mimic the easy roll of the mountains. This new brand looks and feels just like a holiday. 

SA Tourism launches its brand campaign

SA Tourism launches its brand campaign

It is time for SA to shift its tourism brand focus beyond built and endowed features to include its true magic…its people said Sisa Ntshona, CEO SA Tourism.

In a bold and emotive first step in its global brand journey, SA Tourism will today launch the first phase of its brand campaign work with a ninety second advertisement. SA Tourism has been developing its strategy to achieve the arrivals targets announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa at SONA 2019 through a combination of creating demand for tourist travel to and within South Africa and simultaneously influencing the removal of barriers to travel to South Africa.

“It was important for us to start this brand journey by firstly reminding South Africans of who we are, of creating conversation and of re-invigorating the national psyche. At the same time, we have created this initial work to be true to our essence and identity so as to connect with international and domestic audiences based on what they have been telling us through their experiences of our country and through our insights and analysis, says CEO of SA Tourism, Sisa Ntshona.

SA Tourism is of the firm belief that advertising alone will not solve our challenges or create sufficient travel to South Africa. It will instead, require the mobilization of all South Africans to drive the country’s tourism efforts, inspired by bold and integrated communication that awakens all of us towards action, by travelling our country.

The advertisement, produced with the support of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), will be shown across mainstream TV channels at 18h00 and then during advertisement breaks throughout SONA. It will then be on rotation for the next three months on TV and digital platforms in South Africa. It features images of everyday South Africans, narrated by an emotive script that delves into the diverse, colourful and textured nature of who we are as South Africans and is accompanied by an inspirational, home-composed soundtrack.

 “It is the first in a series of communications in the brand re-awakening journey designed to call South Africa to collective action. It is our way of starting the decade boldly and with a strong focus on inspiring South Africans as an integral part of delivering the tourism brand promise,” concluded Ntshona.

SA Tourism will unveil the second phase of the global brand campaign later this month.

Clarens attracts more and more tourists daily

This quaint little country town in the Free State has become one of SA’s favourite tourist destinations.

The popular Free State town Clarens was named after the Swiss village of Clarens where Paul Kruger spent his last days in voluntary exile. Founded in 1912, Clarens is situated 20km from Golden Gate, 40km from Bethlehem and borders the northern most point of Lesotho.

The town is conveniently located three hours from Johannesburg and Bloemfontein and four hours from Durban.

Known for its spectacular sandstone mountains and wonderful climate, Clarens is an inspiration. When not exploring the beautiful countryside, visitors can enjoy the many fine art galleries, shops and restaurants. Clarens also offers a wide range of outdoor and sporting activities ranging from the Clarens Golf Club to some of the finest trout and fly-fishing in the country.

Other activities include river rafting, abseiling, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, quad biking, clay pigeon shooting, 4×4 trails, tennis, squash and bowls.

What made a tourist town such as Clarens succeed whereas other towns faltered and failed?

The decline of towns is a common phenomenon. Since larger centres have strong economic bases and offer higher order services these cities attract people. What should towns do to intercept migrants on their way to larger centres in search of perceived better opportunities?

Clarens was established in 1912 as a retirement town.

The town retained its retirement character until 1985, when the potential for tourism was realised. Until the mid-1980s, the town had approximately 200 residents and currently the town hosts up to  30,000 residents during Easter weekend, according to some estimates (Marais, 2004). Several historical phases signify the development of Clarens, namely: the phase of Clarens as a retirement village, the phase of capital injection from outside, and the Lesotho Highlands Water Project phase. From 1912 to 1985, during the phase of “Clarens as a retirement village,” agriculture was the main economic activity. The town was generally regarded as a retirement village due to the small number of people residing there and, although Clarens still has an agricultural component, most of the farming activities are now conducted in the larger centre of Bethlehem. The first capital in Clarens attracts more and more tourists daily

The Lesotho Highlands Water Project heralded the next phase in the development of Clarens.

This project required the construction of a tunnel from the Katse Dam in Lesotho to the Ash River just outside of Clarens  (the same river is used for adventure activities such as white-water rafting). Although other neighbouring towns such as Ficksburg also benefited from the construction of this tunnel, Clarens benefited from the decision for it to serve as the headquarters for the teams involved in building the tunnel. This required the construction of housing units in 1990.

Innovative entrepreneurs embarked on promoting Clarens as an unique and favourable getaway destination

After the completion of the project, the international labourers left Clarens, plunging the town into a recession. This was largely because the economic infrastructure was built around the provision of goods and services to international labourers. However, this resulted in innovative entrepreneurs embarking on promoting Clarens as a unique and favourable getaway destination. The outcome of the marketing campaign was restaurants and bed-and-breakfast establishments springing up like mushrooms in Clarens. During this time, artists took advantage of the opportunity to establish themselves in Clarens because it provided a beautiful setting to work in and from. They opened galleries and studios, selling art at prices unheard of in the metropolitan mainstream. In effect, the Clarens setting provided a ready market for selling art and other craft products, and the existing restaurants expanded their menus and additional outdoor activities flourished.ection from outside the Free State province came between 1985 and 1989.

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