Place Branding Expert Mariette du Toit-Helmbod

Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold


'tourism marketeer', destineer

Mariette graduated in Political Science and Government at the Stellenbosch University in South Africa. She is an international destination and tourism marketing leader, a writer and public speaker on responsible tourism, destination marketing, brand innovation and digital strategy, with special experience in how places can win benefits from hosting major events. She works with brands and destinations within and beyond South Africa always seeking to unlock their full potential, pursuing her passion for innovative, people-centred marketing and tourism by unpacking global consumer trends and new markets.

Said about Mariette: “Mariette has produced ground breaking and internationally recognised work in city tourism marketing. Through her leadership and vision she has delivered significant projects in complex markets. She has a unique and innovative understanding of what makes and keeps visitors interested and excited, as well as translating this into digital strategies.”

Mariette brought the fragmented tourism industry in Cape Town under one roof as CEO of Cape Town Tourism, with the establishment of a unified tourism body. Cape Town Tourism was recognised by the UNWTO for its “world best practice tourism organisational model and innovative initiatives in destination marketing” in 2012, was listed as one of the world’s Top 20 and Africa’s Most Influential Tourist Boards and DMO’s Online, got the Travel and Leisure SMITTY Award for Best Overall Use of Social Media globally, and a Cannes Lions Gold Award for its Facebook campaign.
The Visitor Strategy Mariette developed for Cape Town Tourism in 2004 was recognized by the UNWTO as a ‘world best’ bench-mark and was used as the foundation for the national tourism visitor strategy implemented in the run up to the FIFA World Cup in 2010. The brand shifted from “beauty” alone to Cape Town being positioned and celebrated as a place of “inspiration” by multiple sectors, and has laid a valuable foundation in the destination marketing of Cape Town.
Stellenbosch Experience is a first of its kind wine tourism marketing campaign, designed and developed by Mariette to bring the wine and tourism sectors together to showcase Stellenbosch as Africa’s wine and gourmet capital, worth much more than just a day trip or a wine tasting tour from Cape Town. An exciting element of the marketing initiative is Stellenblog, an international blogger campaign where world top travel and lifestyle bloggers gather in Stellenbosch to uncover its stories and secrets to share with the world.
Mariette was commissioned to develop a digital campaign for Reunion Island with the aim to increase the island’s market share of South Africans visiting the island, promoting its rich and multi-dimensional tourism offering. The campaign included trade media and online influencer events and trips, as well as a new interactive, state of the art blog for Reunion providing a platform for its stories to be shared with the world, and a complete new communications plan designed to speak specifically to the South African market.