Jekyll & Hide’s Take on Travel Trends

Founded in 2003, Jekyll & Hide is a bespoke leather fashion brand based in the seaside town of Cape Town, South Africa. With a dedication to timeless leather craft and design, the Jekyll & Hide team travels far and wide across South America, Asia, Africa and Europe to source the finest leather the world has to offer.

Travelling Mystery Guest recently had the opportunity to chat to Bernard Bultemeier, the founder of Jekyll and Hide, about his opinion on travel trends and what to look forward to from them.

New products have to keep up with the modern techno lifestyle. According to Bernard, laptop bags are the most popular modern techno product.

“As people’s lifestyle changes (working from coffee shops, on-the-go, etc.) the use of functional business and laptop bags has become a big part of our business.”

Jekyll & Hide’s laptop bags are very functional and are created for the modern business person. They have built in padded laptop pockets, RFID protected cell phone- and wallet sleeves and multiple compartments for diaries and iPads. Jekyll & Hide adapts their laptop bags to the size of laptop screens so that one can shop a product that suits your computer perfectly.

According to Bernard, dual-purpose products like the laptop backpack, or the cross-body bag which can carry a tablet will eventually replace conventional handbags. “As our lifestyles change (we commute to work on bikes or on public transport) the need for practical and well-designed products is key. With the increase in cell phone use, people now don’t have a free hand to carry a bag because they’re constantly on the phone. With multipurpose backpacks, you can carry all the essentials while still cycling and using the phone at the same time. Backpacks are also better for your posture (if worn properly). People are becoming conscious of the way they walk and move. Standing desks, yoga and Pilates are all big trends so the more we can do to help with this lifestyle, the better.” 

Leather bag colours change as the seasons and trends do, however, Jekyll & Hide try to keep a traditional feel to their products. They focus on items and colours that are lasting and as coloured leathers are very easy to fake and it’s a lot harder to produce a real-leather looking piece in natural colours, Jekyll and Hide’s traditional colours are a clue of the quality and authenticity of the brand.

Jekyll & Hide’s Oxford travel bags are probably their most iconic and recognisable products. The Oxford range is also their best seller with its classic look that never seems to go out of style.   

At first, we thought that the brand was named after the 1886 detective novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. We now found out that the brand actually has nothing to do with the novel. “Some people remember the name, Jekyll and Hide, but can’t pinpoint where from, so there’s often an existing connection with new customers but they don’t really know why. The word hide comes from the leather hides we use and Jekyll just had a nice ring to it and was nice and different from all the Italian style names that launched into the market at the time.”

Jekyll & Hide tries to bring a bit of colour and design into the lining of their bags instead of the actual outer design. Funky colours and patterns are seen when one opens a bag or purse which is always a welcoming surprise. They aren’t necessarily bringing in local South African designs (as it’s a global brand) but they do bring in trending patterns like the Aztec look of the Ndbele range. Jekyll & Hide tries not to box the products into a tourist category, though, so they just use very subtle pops of local or trending elements. 

Jekyll & Hide is now also expanding into other fabrics. They’re creating a canvas backpack for example that still has a lot of leather elements in, but they’re starting to mix materials. They also have a travel bag with poly carbon elements.

“We try and create products that are light and make life easier, which means being open to other developments and materials. We’ll always bring through the luxury leather elements of the brand, but we’re no longer focused on 100% leather items.”

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Where to go on your next trip

I was recently asked where I want to travel to next. This question was difficult as, when it comes to travelling, any destination is an opportunity for discovery, inspiration, learning, adventure, relaxation or all of these combined!

As travel time is limited, the decision on where to go shouldn’t be taken lightly. Travelling Mystery Guest has compiled a list of criteria to help narrow down your options.

Consider your budget

Knowing how much you have to spend will help you decide where to go on your next trip. Considering what you want to spend your money on is just as important.  Some prefer to travel for longer rather than spending money on expensive meals and accommodation. Others will splurge on luxury accommodation and top restaurants even if it means a shorter stay. Only you can decide what is worth spending your hard earned money on.

Ask yourself why

Why do you want to travel? Do you want to learn something new or relax and get a tan? Do you want an adventure? Have fun with friends or travel solo? Have a break from work or reconnect with a loved one? Knowing why you want to travel makes the decision of which destination to go to much easier.

How far do you want to go?

Travelling doesn’t have to include long flights. South Africa is such a diverse country and if you do a bit of research, you’ll see that you most likely haven’t explored half of it. Decide whether you want to travel domestically, visit our neighbouring countries or go for something completely different abroad.

Decide on your preferred environment

City, beach or countryside? Cold or hot weather? Not everyone is enthusiastic about snowy, cold weather and are drawn to warmer climates. Think of the weather, landscape and style of the destination you want to visit to narrow down your travel choices.

Different or familiar culture?

It’s important to consider whether you want to visit a country that has a similar culture to yours or experience something different from what you are used to. Being in a country with an unfamiliar culture can be lonesome and stressful but it can also be incredibly exciting and inspirational. Do thorough research on the culture of the destinations you are considering before making a decision.

So much to do…

Time is precious when travelling, so plan your travel activities wisely. If you want explore the outdoors, think of travelling to a destination that is known for great hiking routes. If a great culinary experience is what you are after, look for destinations that have a reputation for excellent cuisine. If you are interested in art, consider travelling to cities with the world’s major art galleries. Decide on activities and organize your trip around them.

Wherever you go, make the most of the experience. Remember – you’ll only regret the things you didn’t do so have an open mind and broaden your travel wishes.

 

Written by: Katrien Nel

Chef David Higgs writes his first cook book

When a chef needs to recover from a stomach operation, the recovery time could either be daunting or rewarding. In Chef David Higgs‘ case, it was definitely rewarding, as that is when it all started. He started to write little stories, took photos and tried to come up with the perfect concept for his book, called Mile 8, which will be available from October.

He has cooked for the likes of Antonio Banderas, Charlize Theron, Chef Ferran Adria, Drew Barrymore, Elton John, Justin Beiber, Lady Gaga, MTN Team Qhubeka during the Tour de France and Nelson Mandela. And now he wrote a book!

I’ve been wanting to write a book for a number of years. About six years ago I ended up in Namibia after a stomach op and it was probably the longest period of time I’ve had to chill and relax. I started writing little stories, taking photos and trying to come up with a concept. I’ve never wanted it to be ‘just another cook book’ – I knew I wanted it to be something unique, beautiful and special to me – first and foremost. When My Kitchen Rules SA first approached me, I got into contact with Tessa Graham – she looked after Jamie Oliver for many years. It was at this time, with Tessa and my business partner, Gary, that I decided to do MKRSA, and I also started talking to Tessa about doing the book.

Why the name, Mile 8?

“For me, Mile 8 is a special marker as it is where I caught my first fish and my food journey began. Originating from the Swakopmund Post Office and running north for 108 miles, Namibia’s coast is dotted with mile markers.”

According to Higgs, the book is a very frank account of essentially his story – beginning in the small, coastal town of Walvis Bay, through the cowboy kitchens of Cape Town in the 90’s, to the heart of South Africa’s lush winelands, and culminating at Marble. 

Elsa Young was the photographer for the book. “… I met Elsa when I moved to Johannesburg from Cape Town. It’s very rare to find a photographer who sees food in the same way as you do. We have the same understanding of what we want the food to look like in an image. She’s terribly talented and she’s a good, honest friend.” 

With fishing being the initial start to Higgs’ cooking career, it’s only natural that he still enjoys it. “Fishing will always be part of my life for a number of reasons. First, it’s the most relaxing thing you can do, especially when you’re not surrounded by people. Generally, up the Namibian West Coast all the miles from Swakopmund there’s just peace and quiet, and the sound of the sea. It’s quite special and pretty much the area where I like to fish. My favourite fishing spot is Paaltjies, heading towards Sandwich Harbour – it reminds me of fishing with my father, although its catch and release now.

Higgs also enjoys cycling to unwind. “I ride mountain bikes and it’s close to my heart.” In fact, “In my dreams I would like to be a professional cyclist (haha).”

Higgs’ favourite dish to make? 

“I love slow cooking dishes like casseroles and stews, and I love cooking on fire. As I say in the book: ‘The first fish out of the water, goes onto the fire.’ It’s still the best way to eat – uncomplicated and with a little salt, pepper and lemon juice. It goes perfectly with an ice-cold beer.

From his book, he would recommend the snoek with the sweet potato and apricot jam, the fish stew and the curry tomato soup.

If he could cook for anyone, it would have been his father. “Sadly, I was never able to cook for him while he was still alive.”

I always wonder where chefs’ preferred culinary destinations are. Higgs says: “I’m a big fan of New York, and I always have been. There is a lot on offer and a lot to see in a small space – you don’t have to travel far and wide to taste different types of cuisine. It’s got a great international offering, even if you are limited for time.”

It’s been quite an emotional experience, and it’s reminded me of so many stories from my childhood, and things I had forgotten about. But it’s lovely to be able to share this with people and tell stories as they are. It’s also great to be able to give everyone a real peak into the ‘behind the scenes’ of a professional kitchen. Some people will relate, and some won’t – but I like it, and so I hope people enjoy it. – Chef David Higgs on writing Mile 8.

Higgs says that Mile 8 is really accessible to everybody. “The important thing about cooking is that you need to experiment, and you need to push yourself. You don’t have to do everything the recipe says – you don’t have to put a lemon gel, you can rather just put a squeeze of lemon. I’m really just trying to show the combination of flavours. I wanted to have something for everyone – chefs, home cooks and even for people that collect beautiful coffee table books – to tell people about Namibia, South Africa, and show them what we’re about.”

New Year’s Eve

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New Year Traditions around the world

Since we are approaching the end of 2017, Travelling Mystery Guest decided to take a look at the traditions people have for New Year’s Eve around the world. For those of you who are frequent travellers, you might have the privilege to encounter some of these traditions. As for us here in South Africa, we will embrace our own traditions this year!

  1. Denmark

 

The people of Denmark save all their unused plates and dishes for New Year’s Eve where they then shatter these plates against floors or doors together with friends and family. This tradition ought to release all your frustrations built up through the year!

  1. Spain

Grapes

This beautiful country believes that their luck revolves around grapes. People would try to fit 12 grapes in their mouth and when this is achieved, it is believed that you will have good luck in the New Year. This seems like an easy way to improve your luck in 2018!

  1. Peru

Peru

Peru actually has a festival where they fight with one another to settle any differences that they had. The Takanakuy Festival is held to ensure that everyone starts the New Year on a clean slate. This is certainly an interesting and unique way to forgive and forget.

  1. USA

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One of the most famous ways of celebrating the New Year is the Ball Drop in Times Square, New York. This tradition started in 1907 and every year a specially designed ball is dropped in front of thousands of spectators to symbolise the New Year.

  1. South Africa

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New Year’s Eve in South Africa is celebrated with friends and family, popping champagne when the clock strikes 00:00 and wishing everyone a happy new year! Most people will probably have a braai and prepare a festive meal and some will even have fireworks (where it’s allowed). When looking at what other countries think about New Year’s in South Africa, it seems we are quite popular for some of the biggest parties, especially in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

We hope you have some exciting plans for this upcoming New Year’s Eve, whether it’s at home or somewhere exotic. South Africa will always be special, with beautiful beaches and growing urban cities. There are a lot of opportunities to make this New Year’s Eve a great one! Cheers to the New Year!

The #IDoTourism Movement

How can we do tourism? How can you do tourism? And why should we?

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To build a greater nation and to show off South-Africa’s potential globally. South Africa Tourism has started a movement to show the importance of every single South African in our tourism industry. The ability of this industry to create jobs and the effect that tourism has on the entire country has been greatly underestimated.

We have a beautiful country and South African people are amazing. By standing together, we can improve our entire economy by supporting this movement. On the 5th of October, Margie Whitehouse from South Africa Tourism highlighted the importance of this movement at the Tshwane Tourism Association’s meeting, which was hosted at 012 Central. Travelling Mystery Guest supports this movement.

Are you going to do tourism? Remember to use #IDoTourism if you share it online.

Watch their inspirational video to learn more about the #IDoTourism movement:

 

 

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Written by: Alicia Redelinghuys

COLLABORATION, SKILLS DEVELOPMENT, UNIQUE EXPERIENCES – KEY TO CAPE WINELANDS TOURISM GROWTH

11. Lunch enjoyed at Spier by the speakers and delegates (HR) The recent edition of The Business of Wine & Food Tourism Conference saw those operating in the Cape’s wine, food and hospitality industries gather at Spier in Stellenbosch to glean insights from local and international specialists, and engage in informative discussions focused on growing revenue and loyalty for tourism in the Cape Winelands.

 

1. Margi Biggs, convenor of The Business of Wine & Food Tourism Conference 2017 (HR).jpg

Margi Biggs

Now in its second year, the annual conference is convened by seasoned travel and tourism specialist, Margi Biggs.  She believes that travel and tourism can potentially contribute significantly more than it currently does to South Africa’s national GDP.  The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has calculated that last year, the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the South African economy was worth R127,9bn, accounting for 3% of the country’s GDP.  The indirect contribution was approximately 9%, according to South African Tourism.

 

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Rico Basson

Rico Basson, executive director of Vinpro, the non-profit organisation that represents around 3 500 South African wine producers and cellars, used the example of the Wine Industry Strategic Exercise (WISE) initiative, launched in 2015, to illustrate how collaboration is paramount to unlocking value and stimulating growth.  WISE was developed by the South African wine and brandy industry to help it reach a desirable future state by 2025. Its robust and adaptable approach is geared towards driving profitability, global competitiveness and sustainability. It is a collaborative effort driven by Vinpro, SALBA (South African Liquor Brandowners Association), SAWIS (South African Wine Industry Information and Systems), WOSA (Wines of South Africa) and Winetech (Wine Industry Network of Expertise and Technology). 

Basson mentioned key targets for the industry towards 2025, such as building a greater presence in strategic markets, specifically in the US and Africa; growing Cape wine tourism to increase visitor numbers by 25%; and increasing Cape wine tourism’s annual direct contribution to South Africa’s national GDP from R6 billion to R16 billion. He also highlighted the use of technology and research in continuing to create a sustainable future for the overall industry.

19. Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro (HR)

Tim Harris

Tim Harris, head of Wesgro, the Western Cape’s trade and investment promotion agency, foresees continued growth potential in tourism for the region. He referenced the Fourth Industrial Revolution, its disruptive effect on all economies, and especially the necessity for Africa to adapt in terms of digital skills development, changing business models and public-private partnerships to advance its ‘Africa rising’ narrative.

 

 

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Linda D’Holt-Hacker

“The Cape Winelands offers a high quality slow product in a world where time is seen as increasingly rare and valuable. The Business of Wine & Food Tourism Conference provides an incredible opportunity to celebrate this,” Harris said.    

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Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo

Representing South African Tourism, Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo explained how the entity is rallying South Africans and the economic sector to fully support tourism growth with the launch of the ‘We Do Tourism’ movement, on 29 September 2017. “Every citizen of South Africa plays a role in local tourism. We are in a crisis if we don’t support tourism. It creates jobs, enriches lives and brings people together.”

 

 

 

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Jerry Mabena

Jerry Mabena, CEO of Thebe Services that owns the Thebe Tourism Group surmised that South African Afropolitans could boost the annual South African economy by more than R2 billion and grow tourism. That is if they are given appealing reasons to travel to the Cape Winelands.  He described Afropolitans as cosmopolitan Africans; global in their outlook, straddling the divide between African and Western cultures, and having the disposable income for travel. Yet they are not really targeted by the local travel and tourism industry.

Mabena suggested that wineries rethink and refocus their marketing efforts, and create events around wine drinking, activated in spaces that Afropolitans can relate to. “Make wine drinking accessible – take away the snob value and mystery but leave some ‘upmarket’ attributes.  Encourage Afropolitans to meet the owners and/or winemakers at cellars – make them feel like they are guests, not just random customers.

“Big events such as the annual Soweto Wine Festival have and continue to play a major part in bringing wine and wine-related experiences into the consideration sets of Afropolitans. Create more of these and combine wine with whisky, cognac and other spirit experiences. Experiences create stories. Polo and wine festivals seem to attract Afropolitans – expand those.”

 

10. Dr Robin Back (HR)

Dr. Robin Back

Dr Robin Back, a South African-born, US-based academic who conducts wine tourism research in both South Africa and the US, shared the findings of his recent research study that looked specifically at the effect of a winery visit on brand loyalty and purchasing behaviour. He explained that the results indicated that winery tourism does in fact have a positive long-term effect on brand loyalty and purchasing behaviour, but that the strongest effect of positive winery visitation appears to be on brand loyalty, which is shown not to diminish over time. He also mentioned the significant role of frequent and continuous communication with those who have visited, to further strengthen the bond between the brand and the consumer. Back added that wine tourism should be incorporated into overall winery marketing plans.

4. Delegates listening to Don Shindle (HR)

Conference delegates learned about the art of impeccable service from Don Shindle, an expert in customer service from Napa, California’s renowned wine tourism epicentre. He explained the importance of expertly and thoroughly trained staff, empowered to act with confidence, in achieving top service standards.  “Everything communicates, so engage your workers and enable them to perform.  Be agile in practices to create loyalty beyond reason, and delivery your brand promise. Teamwork means I am you, and you are me.”

3. Don Shindle general manager of The Westin Verasa Napa (HR)

Don Shindle

Shindle’s thinking was echoed by Linda d’Holt-Hacker of South Africa’s The Touch Company, that assists large and small organisations in developing and fine-tuning outstanding customer journeys and brand experiences. Showcasing a model she calls ‘The Hosting Paradigm’ as a tool for effective decision-making, she also outlined how crucial it is for employees to understand very clearly why they do what they do – in other words, to have a sense of real purpose aligned with the brand they represent. In addition, she shared insights on how to align guest experiences with a brand’s core values, and highlighted the need for a shift in how service staff are perceived and think about themselves. 

 

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Kevin Arnold

Waterford Estate’s Kevin Arnold outlined best practice for winery tasting centres. He believes that wine brands are built in the tasting room and that unique, innovative and personal tasting experiences are paramount to creating memorable value. “At Waterford, we’ve found that we sell more wine and build greater loyalty when offering guests not only a tasting, but an experience such as a vineyard safari where they get to taste our wines outside, in the vineyards. Personalised experiences help us form real connections with our guests. Wine brings them through the door, experience brings them back.” Arnold views visitors as guests, not customers.  He also believes in in-depth training and development of staff, mentorship, building confidence and ensuring that employee aspirations fit with those of the brand.

 

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Kelly Jackson

General manager of Contiki in South Africa, Kelly Jackson, presented ways in which virtual reality could be very effectively used as a strategic marketing tool to bring a product or service to life. She however cautioned against using virtual reality as a gimmick, and suggested that brands use it only if it fits with the experience they aim to promote.

 

 

7. Andrea Robinson, master sommelier for Delta Air Lines (HR)

Andrea Robinson

Meanwhile, world-renowned US lifestyle TV personality, Andrea Robinson, one of only 23 female Master Sommeliers in the world, covered the process of choosing wines for Delta Air Lines and showed how the airline uses its marketing and media properties such as its in-flight magazine and on-board entertainment system to highlight specific wines and wine routes.  She also elaborated on other marketing activities including sponsorships and partnerships, themed wine region promotions in strategically located hubs, and the up-skilling of flight attendants in terms of wine knowledge and service.

 

9. Panel discussion headed by Dr Jaisheila Rajput, Jessica Shepherd, Luke Grant & Joe Stead (HR)

Dr Jaisheila Rajput, founder and CEO of Tomorrow Matters Now (TOMA-Now), an independent consultancy focused on developing the green economy with special emphasis on value chain management and growth, together with Joe Stead of the Spur Corporation and Luke Grant and Jessica Shepherd of The Table at De Meye in Stellenbosch, winner of the Eat Out Sustainability Award in 2016, presented a panel discussion focused on the role hotels, wineries, restaurants and consumers can play in promoting a sustainable future, particularly addressing the issue of food waste management.

 Rajput said that the sustainability movement had already started in South Africa, with clear examples provided by Stead, Grant and Shepherd. Stead mentioned that although waste management is a complex issue, the Spur Corporation has had major successes, from Spur restaurants recycling cooking oil to produce biodiesel, to John Dory outlets eliminating all plastic packaging in a bid to tackle the issue of ocean pollution.   

 

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Wendy Masters

Reputation management and strategic communication specialist Wendy Masters of The Phoenix Partnership, based in Cape Town, educated delegates on the key phases of crisis communication: prepare, respond and recover. She believes that reputation is about delivery, not promise, and described how pro-active approaches to crisis situations could actually strengthen brand reputation, citing the example of The Vineyard Hotel in Newlands, Cape Town.  “When the water shortage crisis in the Western Cape became evident, immediate action was taken to remove plugs from bath tubs and install low-flow shower heads in all guest bathrooms. These efforts clearly demonstrated the hotel’s commitment to sustainability, recognised and applauded by guests and other stakeholders such as local government,” Masters said.  

 

About last night – GP Lifestyle Tourism Street Party

Last night, the tourism trade came out to play at the very first GP Life Tourism Street Party to celebrate life in Gauteng, turning the city centre into an outdoor celebration.

#GPLifestyle

A block of eight “streets” in the regenerated 1 Fox Street warehouse was filled with music, entertainment, stalls, food, drink and dancing as the tourism trade partied through the day and into the night. This exciting event is designed to remind Gauteng-peeps that we have as much life and vibrancy to be proud of as London, New York, Sydney and Cape Town.

Gauteng Tourism Authority Chief Executive Officer, Siphiwe Ngwenya welcomed the initiative and expressed confidence that it will be worthwhile. He said:

“The tourism trade is an important stakeholder in the We do/I do Tourism campaign that South African Tourism is championing and that we are part of. The campaign aims to grow tourist numbers by 5 million over the next five years and a bulk of that will have to come from Gauteng as the most visited province in South Africa. We are targeting a contribution of 1 million, which will only be achievable if the trade sector comes to the party. Therefore, we hope to grow this event into a premier showcase of the city of gold, Johannesburg, and destination Gauteng as a whole.”

The event brought the travel trade together to celebrate Gauteng as a destination and highlighted what it has to offer. The venue – 1 Fox Precinct  – spans a series of historic warehouses that date back to the city’s gold mining roots, now converted into a funky shopping and dining destination.

Different streets in the warehouse had different themes and interests, with 60 exhibitors spanning guesthouses, hotels, activities and adventure specialists and transport companies. Others that took part in the celebration, included the Cradle Tourism Company, Sandton Tourism, Soweto Tourism, Dinokeng, Vilakazi Street and global brands with a presence in Johannesburg.

Organised by Leisure Connexion and the Gauteng Tourism Authority, the event’s guests included Mix FM DJ Kerry-Anne Allerston, who hosted the music event, and performances by The Kiffness and Chiano Sky, as well as popular footballers, actors and musicians. Participants were encouraged to come dressed for the inaugural theme of “My City of Gold”.

“Johannesburg is an amazing city and worthy of competing against other world cities such as New York, Paris and London in the tourism field. Yet, there is a lack of belief in what the city and its wonderful people have to offer,” says Adelbert Retief, founder and MD of Leisure Connexion. He says:

“In other cities, the industry operates almost like a family in promoting their city even though they are in competition with each other. Now it’s time for our local tourism industry to come together and share stories, experience the offerings and grow the love for Jozi.”

Tour operators, agents and destination management companies arrived from 5pm to interact with the exhibitors and discuss business. At 9pm, the party started at the Good Luck Bar.

The GP Life Tourism Street Party will become an annual event for the industry to look forward to, where hotels, activities, restaurants and tour operators can showcase their products.