Africa: Focusing on India, China & Nigeria will lead to growth in MICE Travel- SAT
Tourism is an important business for South Africa and it is a major contributor to the economy of the country.
With the 5’5 goal laid by the South African Tourism (SAT) i.e. to target ‘five million more travellers in the next five years’, South Africa made a remarkable statement by receiving 10 million visitors in 2017. “The 5’5 target literally means increasing our base load is majorly split into two major categories: 4 million international and 1 million domestic travellers.
It is important for the domestic travellers to timely visit their own country because it helps them to recognise the ground realities and issues of the destination, and it also prepares them to be better hosts,” said Sthembiso Dlamini, Acting CEO & COO, South Africa at Africa Travel Indaba 2019.
Redefining Brand Strategy
Throwing light on the future of tourism in South Africa, Dlamini said it is important to define the USPs of a destination that are fundamentally different. “We plan to relook at our brand and our global communications and tailor-make the strategies. We have formulated a new marketing model investment framework. This new outlook towards the tourism business gave us an access to identify the potential markets. India emerged as an important market for us,” she said while addressing the media.
Other than the US, UK, Germany that are the traditional revenue generating markets for South Africa, India, China and Nigeria are the potential emerging markets that need to be targeted. She said “Our analysis revealed that focusing on these markets will lead to growth in the MICE segment imposing on the visa process to be efficient.”
To address these huge markets, Dlamini believes that planning out a systematic distribution channel that includes partners both with traditional and non-traditional travel trade practices is a must to enhance business opportunities. “Partnerships have become very important to us gradually. We can’t play alone as a country. We plan to bring in provinces and partner with the travel and tourism players.”
She added that creating a similar circuit for our local travel trade players in South Africa is even more important. “We realise even though the Tourism Ministry has projected the growth for tourism, the South African travel trade might not believe in the potential South Africa has. Educating the local players about the facts of travel and trade, updating them with consumer insights, market insights, concerns around language, hospitality, culture, spirituality are the other macro level issues that need to be considered to sustain in the tourism business as a whole, Dlamini exclaimed.
Ease of Access
Apart from this, SAT focuses on enhancing destination marketing. Knowing the consumers, their origins, their expectations, and their profile by using statistical data and machine learning are the other initiatives undertaken by Tourism Ministry of South Africa. Destinations like Cape Town, Garden Route & Kruger National Park hitherto have attracted huge mass of tourists to South Africa. “A destination like Cape Town surely attracts first timers. We plan to shift the focus of the travellers to the new-products, new experiences and target on achieving repeat business.”
Talking about the flight connectivity and visa restrictions Dlamini said, “Communication needs to be integrated and seamless. We have a dynamic Tourism Ministry. Connectivity is a major concern especially for India and our government is already strategising it. Apart from airlift, we are foreseeing an experience as a total value chain for the consumer. Baggage allowances and waiving off the visa restrictions and fees are what we are looking at.”
“We are coordinating with the Dept. of Home Affairs for access and visa processing, Dept. of Transport for airlift, undertaking safety and security monitoring programmes to educate people in travel business of South Africa to help them face the uncertainties that the tourists might have to witness,” she informed.
South Africa is generally known as a destination once in a lifetime but as a matter of fact it has a lot more to showcase globally. She said that one can witness wildlife, scenic beauty, beaches, township tourism, rural tourism, adventure, golf, wine and much more. “Our focus is clear, our targets are set and hence we plan to play smartly,” concluded Dlamini.