Summary

Headlines like "Drought-hit Cape Town dreads 'Day Zero' when taps will run dry" (Reuters,26 January 2018) are a real issue when your role is to encourage tourists to visit the most popular destination in the country. In a misguided attempt to encourage reduced water consumption in Cape Town during the January drought in the Western Cape, the local government had created the term"#DayZero", referring to a day when the city would potentially cut the regular flow of water – an attempt to force local residents to dramatically cut their water usage as the situation became critical. The dramatic messaging led to panicked tourists, cancelled travel reservations and a drastic fall in international bookings.

Our strategic counsel and messaging reassured tourists, government departments and South AfricanTourism partners that the country was still open for business and simultaneously shifted the narrative to South Africa being a leader in water resilience and responsible tourism practices.