South African Tourism (SAT) has set a target of five million inbound visitors by 2021 and SAT is targeting over 100,000 Indian arrivals in 2018.
The destination welcomed 9.2 million tourists from across the globe between January and November 2017, of which 89,882 were Indians and 33 per cent of these were attending meetings and events. Speaking at trade show Meetings Africa in Johannesburg last week, CEO of South African Tourism Sisa Ntshona said his country’s tourism growth has been a long way behind international averages in 2017 but expects the Mandela anniversary (it is 100 years since his birth this year) will deliver a tourism dividend.
SAT organised a five-city road show in India in February for South African DMCs, activities, hoteliers and local tourism bodies, interacting with Indian outbound travel stakeholders in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Ahmedabad.
Hanneli Slabber, regional general manager, Asia/Australasia/Middle East, SAT, highlighted the importance of India for South Africa. Slabber said that India ranks as eighth largest source market for South Africa and every year the numbers are increasing. “The Indian market has not just grown considerably since our entry here in 2005, 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.”
Alpa Jani, acting hub-head for South African Tourism based in Mumbai, said: “We see great interest among India travellers and they are exploring activities and excursions in the smaller and not so popular towns which is an encouraging sight for us. We are also focussing on customising our engagements and product offerings to suit the unique requirements from each of our target regions within India.”
In 2017, SAT conducted training sessions for the travel trade in 17 cities in India and expects to carry out similar programmes in 2018.