The visitor information centre (VIC) play a valuable role in the distribution of tourism-related information in most areas in South Africa that are frequented by tourists. They also provide a contact point for human interaction where trust can be built between the VIC staff and visitor, thereby making the destination a more worthwhile and valued experience. The main role of the VIC is to provide information in the form of knowledge also referred to as value-added information. Today, the VIC, as intermediary, could be left behind as the Internet (of which social media is part) has become a powerful source of information for tourists and marketing tool for hotels and tourist attractions without them having to spend millions of Rands on alternative marketing strategies. This study sought to establish whether VICs still have a role to play in the South African tourist industry with the increasing presence of social media.
A mixed method research methodology was applied, combining both qualitative and quantitative techniques. In-depth interviews were conducted with the staff and managers of selected visitor information centres in Cape Town and Johannesburg, respectively. The interviews were transcribed and the findings are presented in Chapter 5. Questionnaires was distributed, online, to a sample of 200 visitors, using Qualtrics.
Overall, the aim of the study is to furnish information about the value of VICs in the tourism industry, including the role played by demographics in respect of social media usage, in order to help improve the functioning of VICs as a knowledge base that adds value to the process of making South Africa one of the top 20 tourism destinations, globally, by 2020.
Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2016.