For many of us, it is only when friends and family come to visit and we are obliged to play the role of ‘tour guide’ that we realise how little we actually know about the Overstrand and the Overberg. In a mad panic sometimes, we comb through the internet or speak to friends to get ideas. Even worse, we only take our guests to the places we have already been to instead of exploring new venues, restaurants and attractions.
Being a tourist in your town is an opportunity that should not be wasted.
In many parts of the world, towns, cities and even countries make it a point to target their local residents by offering special prices on attractions, partly to encourage a visit but also because, in some cases, the regular prices are just too expensive for average salaries.
Some towns even go further. In the American city of Lansing, Michigan, “Be a Tourist in Your Own Town” is an annual event which allows residents into all the participating attractions for free on the day. Each year, an estimated 15 000 residents and visitors, about 10% of the population, come out to enjoy the festivities.
Not only are strategies like this good for business and building goodwill but, more importantly, local residents are always the best brand ambassadors for the towns or cities that they live in, especially when they speak from personal experience. Just think of the number of times you have followed the recommendation of a local to eat at a particular restaurant or shop at a store. Or how often, as tourists ourselves, we seek out ‘hidden gems’ by speaking to locals in the region we are visiting.
The Overstrand and Overberg have so much to offer. As locals, we have a great opportunity to be tourists in our own towns. When we do so, the spin-offs for the local economy and tourism development are immense. Let’s make it happen.