With 65 products on showcase at its annual roadshow this year, South African Tourism is all set to achieve double-digit growth from India with its new campaign, claims Hanneli Slabber, Country Manager — India, South African Tourism.
South Africa recorded 27 per cent growth, with 81,429 arrivals from India by the end of third quarter, reveals Slabber. She insisted that the 4-city roadshow, which had 65 product sand 120 delegates, had just the right ingredients for Indian agents and travellers. “We are getting a lot more than we expected from the Indian market. We want to sustain this growth and also attract return travellers. The products we have on offer are specially designed for the Indian market based on the inputs given by our trade partners. Earlier in Bengaluru and Chennai, we used to have 70-75 buyers, but this year we had over 200 buyers in both the cities for the roadshow. In Delhi and Mumbai, the numbers have more than doubled from what it was last year. We like the fact that we are sold by small operators because they have got a very clear idea of what their clients want,” she said. Slabber claimed that they have got 60,000 products in South Africa. “This time we have brought smaller destinations as well as small operators, while guaranteeing about the money and quality on offer, as we have done all checks regarding the balances on transactions, accommodation, experiences, MICE venues and ground handlers.”
However, there are still many challenges. Slabber elaborates, “We have no direct airlift, which could make a huge difference to us. Other than that, we have a capacity issue in South Africa. We have only 53 million people with less than a thousand hotels. However, now with the quality guaranteed, and our star rating in place, we have spread the tourist traffic to B&Bs, guest houses, allowing people to have more options. “November to February is peak season with our summer vacation, and winters in Europe and North America, which are markets which book well in advance, and quite unlike India where booking happens less than a month in advance. Hence, we have worked on our capacity issue by dispersing people into smaller towns, still offering 200 activities. Fortunately for us, most of our business from India comes in our monsoon season, which is from end-April to mid-July, and it works or both in terms of price as well as capacity,” she revealed. Their new campaign ‘Wow in every moment’ means that they can offer a different experience everywhere in South Africa, without the travellers wasting time in transit, Slabber says. “In fact, people now innovate in terms of packaging as well, by accommodating more activities and compromising on the level of accommodation,” she added.