South African Tourism organises 15th edition of its biggest travel trade initiative in India. With an aim to catalyze efforts to meet the evolving demands of the Indian traveller, the five cities roadshows were conducted in Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Delhi and Ahmedabad starting from February 12 to 19, 2018. India is currently the 8th largest international source market for South African Tourism and still continues to grow.
In order to create a platform for the b2b travel market in India, South African Tourism interacts and educates on diverse products and experiences it offers. 60 delegates from accommodation establishments, destination management companies, airlines and tourism associations participated in the series of roadshows.
“The India market has not just grown considerably since they entered in 2005 but even the 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, stands as a testament of the value proposition we see in the market,” shares Hanneli Slabber, Regional General Manager, Asia/Australasia/Middle East, South African Tourism.
It’s not just the metro cities of South Africa, but also the surrounding smaller towns which double up as a treasure trove of experiences for tourists. 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 and Kruger National Park and create awareness about new destinations such as Oudtshoorn, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Port Elizabeth and the Drakensberg region.
Alpa Jani, Acting Hub-Head, Middle East/India/South East Asia, South Africa Tourism said, “India is one of the most significant markets for South Africa and we are going to continue with our trade initiatives in India. The sequence of roadshows and ‘Learn South Africa’ are the initiatives taken up to educate the tour operators in India. We are also focusing on customising our engagements and product offerings to suit the unique requirements from each of our target regions within India. There has been a great response from the market and our efforts are directed towards harnessing the true potential this market.”
For the period from Jan 2017 to September 2017, MICE contributed 32.8 per cent of total Indian arrivals into SA, leisure holidays made up 26.8 per cent while business travellers made up 16.4 per cent and VFR was at 16 per cent. Evelyn Pepler, Director, Ocean Odyssey says, “We have a very good amount of Indian tourist groups coming from India. Our expectation is to make sure that every Indian tour operator or travel agent is aware of more products that are not necessarily being promoted by usual DMCs. DMCs are also pushing new products for the market.”
2018 is slated to be all about experiences and some key trends witnessed a surge in demand for pushing travel boundaries with adventure is at an all-time high. Sarita, Kielblock, Sales Manager, Leeu Collection mentions, “With Leeu Collection being a fairly new entrant in the India market, we are considering development of the brand here. Our partners in India are very settled and known. At the moment the percentage of tourists from India is very small as it is a new developing market for us. With the Indian ownership of Shri Analjit Singh, we want India to become a strong supportive market for us. There is a beautiful relationship between the two countries and we want to be a part of that.”
Another significant observation was the rise in millennial Indian travellers to South Africa. In 2017, Delhi contributed 22 per cent to the overall Indian arrivals to South Africa while Mumbai was at 37 per cent, Gujarat at 11 per cent, Bengaluue at 8 per cent and West Bengal at 7 per cent. Noludwe Ncokazi, Head of Directorate- Economic Development and Agencies, Buffalo City Metropolitan Muncipality shares, “Overall, we witnessed 3.5 per cent growth from the India market and it represents a significant rise. The best part is we have more groups coming up. We have been promoting Buffalo City in India since four years and the impact is remarkable. It’s growing at a good pace and this year we have met various DMCs that are going to include us in their itineraries. We are well positioned and are positive for more growth.”