China has been South Africa’s most important trading partner since 2009, so it’s not surprising that increasing numbers of corporate groups from the Mainland are flying to this resource-rich African nation for work and play.
In recent years, South African Tourism (SAT) has been very active in targeting China-based companies to hold their meetings, conferences and incentives in the country, playing up its exotic and natural appeal. A total of 84,833 Chinese visitors arrived in the country in 2011, a 24.3 per cent jump from the previous year.
“China has become one of the most important source markets for South Africa,” says Bradley Brouwer, regional manager, Asia-Pacific, SAT. “We’re seeking to build on some excellent tourist arrival figures with further incentives and promotions. Good results mean further investment on top of that already allocated to this important market.”
SAT is now slowly seeing the fruits of its unceasing efforts to bring more China-based groups to the country. One of the key achievements for the organisation in 2012 was a week-long trip it helped organise for a Chinese FMCG company, which brought a group of 300 people to South Africa for its “Global Distributor Tourism Seminar” from March 28 to April 3.
To facilitate the trip, SAT minimised the documentation required for delegates to apply for a visa. At the destination, it ensured that assistance was within easy reach at any point of the journey.
“The group was very satisfied with their accommodation and they really enjoyed the entertainment,” recalls the SAT China spokesperson, adding that the group were suitably impressed with the hotels for the variety of their conference facilities and venues with high-tech features.
The main business activity – a one-day seminar – was held in Johannesburg, in one of the hotels at the Montecasino leisure and entertainment precinct. For the gala dinner at Montecasino, local performances were staged and the company also flew in Chinese pop singer Zhong Guo Feng to perform a few songs. South African cuisine was also the star of the night, giving delegates a taste of the country’s signature dishes.
The trip was mostly an incentive, focusing on awarding the company’s high-level distributors. It also served as a networking trip aimed at improving communication between the distributors and the company’s senior managers.
On the road
After the one-day seminar, the group spent two more days in Johannesburg to explore the city. They were able to experience different facets of the city, getting a glimpse of the old and new, traditional and modern.
The rest of the incentive programme took the group to several other destinations within the country. Of course, the programme would not have been complete without a safari to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, which gave delegates the opportunity to see many wildlife species in their natural habitat. There was also time for a sightseeing visit of the famed Table Mountain, a Cape Peninsula tour, a Pretoria urban visit and a trip to Sun City for high-end shopping.
All this travelling was accomplished aboard exclusively chartered VIP cars. According to SAT China, transportation was one of the biggest challenges during the trip. “The number of the group was nearly 300 people, which amplified the difficulty of keeping them together. They had to be divided into small groups when being transported from one venue to another.” However, with careful planning and implementation, the result was a truly rewarding and broad-ranging tour that highlighted the full extent of South Africa’s attractions.
CONTACT South African Tourism
TEL +86 10 8523 6884