South African Tourism trade delegation arrives in India to define targets and strategy for 2018

South African Tourism begins 2018 with the 15th edition of its biggest travel trade initiative in India. South African Tourism’s Roadshow will travel to five Indian cities; Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Delhi and Ahmedabad starting from 12th to 19th February 2018. The participation and scale is a reflection of the strong consumer demand witnessed from India which, is currently the 8th largest international source market for South African Tourism. This roadshow will capitalise on the growing demand and align efforts to meet the evolving demands of the Indian traveller.

This unique interactive platform has been developed with an aim to offer trade partners in the Indian market an opportunity to interact and educate on diverse product offerings and experiences from South Africa. In addition to experiences, accommodation establishments, destination management companies, airlines, tourism associations will form part of the trade partners in the roadshow. Not only does it provide the perfect opportunity to showcase this exciting destination it also helps tap into the local market intelligence residing with the trade fraternity. These B2B engagement act as catalysts for booking conversions which stimulate visitor growth hence, contribute to achieving the targets charted out for 2018. Nearly 450 travel agents from Delhi met up with 60 South African suppliers to better align efforts and address the ever evolving demands of the Indian traveller.

South Africa is the perfect destination for the well-travelled Indian with its variety of distinctive attractions, unforgettable experiences, world-class facilities and excellent infrastructure. It attracts both luxury as well as budget travelers. 2018 is slated to be all about experiences and some key trends witnessed are the surge in demand for pushing travel boundaries with adventure is at an all-time high; rise in self-drive holidays amongst couples and young families; being eco-aware and in tune with nature and experiences they can take back as memories. Interestingly, the love for comfort food while travelling persists and travel decisions are significantly influenced by peer word-of-mouth.

Keeping some of these consumer trends in mind, one of the key focus areas is to go beyond the immensely popular Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg & surrounds and Kruger National Park and create awareness about new destinations such Oudtshoorn, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Port Elizabeth and the Drakensberg region. These are picturesque areas where travelers can pack in a lot of action into shorter time-spans.

“The Indian market has not just grown considerably since our entry in 2005, demands of Indian travellers are in a constant and rapid state of evolution even today. This makes cross sharing of insights, trends and

observations between our Indian and South African partners extremely crucial. We have had South African products being tailored to suit these specific needs as a testament of the value proposition we see in the market,” stated Ms. Hanneli Slabber, Regional General Manager, Asia/Australasia/Middle East, South African Tourism.

2017 proved to be a successful year for South African Tourism who managed to keep its performance consistent to that of 2016. This is encouraging in light of the overall challenges faced by the Indian tourism industry which was recovering from the effects of demonetization and GST. In addition to visitor arrival numbers, in-destination spends remained stable while length of stay by Indians saw a positive spike.

For the period of Jan 2017 to September 2017, MICE contributed 32.8% of total Indian arrivals into SA, leisure holidays made up 26.8% while business travellers made up 16.4% and VFR was at 16%. Another significant observation was the rise in millennial Indian travellers to South Africa. In the first quarter for 2017, nearly 35% of the Indian visitor base comprised of 35 year olds while, for the second quarter of the year, this pie grew to 46%. In 2017, Delhi contributed 22% to the overall Indian arrivals to South Africa while Mumbai was at 37%, Gujarat at 11%, Bangalore at 8% and West Bengal at 7%.

Commenting on the Roadshow in India, Alpa Jani, Acting Hub-Head, Middle East/India/South East Asia, South Africa Tourism said, “We have always recorded an outstanding response from the Indian travel trade and are eagerly looking forward to seeing the positive impact this Roadshow will have towards driving Indian traveller traffic to South Africa in 2018. India is undoubtedly a significant market for us and all trade and consumer efforts are directed towards harnessing the true potential this market has to offer. We are also focusing on customizing our engagements and product offerings to suit the unique requirements from each of our target regions within India.”

Over 70 international airlines now fly into South Africa. Efforts are on to increase seat capacity on relevant flight routes ex-India. Presently, Mumbai and Delhi are connected to South African cities by Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, Air Seychelles, Turkish Airlines and Jet Airways which fly via their respective hubs and domestic India connections. Travelers have a variety of airlines, connections and consequently, multiple fare options to choose from. The Rand (ZAR)-Rupee exchange rate has been relatively favorable for the India market. Since the South Africa product quote comes in ZAR and not US dollars, Indian travelers are able to buy more experiences and activities for less money thus, making South Africa a value-for-money destination.

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