SOUTH AFRICA The country has hopped onto the China bandwagon with a campaign designed to further boost the number of Chinese visitors, which reached a new in 2011 with a total of 84,833 arrivals – about 24.3 per cent jump from the previous year.
“China has become one of the most important source markets for us,” said Bradley Brouwer, regional manager for Asia-Pacific, South Africa Tourism (SAT). “We are seeking to build on some excellent with further incentives and promotions. “
Bradley revealed the positive exposure that South Africa received by hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup has helped encourage people from the Mainland to include the country in their travel itinerary.
“It is also interesting that Hong Kong, a market which is very concerned about safety, has begun to change its perception as South Africa after World Cup.”
Cape Town International Jazz Festival
SAT has been conducting its annual trade workshops in the two weeks in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong to introduce new products to its travel partners. With its biggest delegation to date comprising of 36 travel tour operations and suppliers, the SAT contingent will take its show to Osaka in Japan and Seoul in South Korea within the week.
SAT has unveiled its “Inspiring New Ways” campaign that put “more meat in the South Africa itinerary”, according to Brouwer. The itineraries are themed around specific experiences from culture, lifestyle, scenic beauty to a music journey like the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, which can be used as an anchor event for corporate groups visiting the territory.
One of South Africa's Garden Route
“The Garden Route itinerary, meanwhile, allows you to see the country from a different angle. All these experiences takes you beyond the safaris,” Brouwer said.
Business events, especially from Asia-Pacific and China, are yet to fully take off the ground. But inroads are slowly being made and quite a few incentive groups from the Mainland had visited the country in the past 12 months.
Cape Point in South Africa
“Air access has definitely improved with direct three-times-weekly flights from Beijing and a daily service from Hong Kong.”
While Brouwer conceded that airfare comprises a big chunk of the budget spend, perception has shifted from being “perceived expensive” to “affordable”.
“We had Chinese groups who came last year that are planning a return trip,” he said. “One thing that help change their view of the destination is the depth of the South Africa experience. Each element in the programme has extra touches that add value to the experience, which is more than tag price they paid for.”