Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head – MEISA, South African Tourism Holdings
Why is India an important market for South African Tourism?
The vibrant and diverse nation of India has always been an important focus region for South African Tourism, as it has consistently featured amongst our top eight international source markets. Moreover, the Indian outbound market, which comprises of 25 million tourists at present, is all set to double by 2020 according to the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). South African Tourism has seen astounding growth from India over the last three years, and we expect to garner 103,000 tourists from India in 2019 this year. As of June 2018, total spend by Indian travellers in South Africa had increased by 20% and that there was an upswing in the average length of stay (+7.7%) and total bed nights (+4%). We foresee a continued upward trend in spends, length of stay and also the emergence of unexplored newer regions of South Africa on Indian itineraries for 2019.
What are some of the things Indian travellers can expect to find in South Africa that make it a destination of interest to them?
Distinctive wildlife experiences, adrenaline-pumping adventure activities, delectable food and wine, locally inspired art and culture, high-end shopping experiences and untouched natural beauty are just some of the star attractions which draw a large pool of global and Indian tourists to the Rainbow Nation. We have observed a marked shift from seeing to experiencing for key traveller segments, leading to a rise in immersive holidays. Indian travellers to South Africa want to explore local culture, indulge in art and history of the place, meet new people and try new things. Mirroring this shift, one of our key focus areas for the coming year is to go beyond the immensely popular Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and surrounds and create awareness about new destinations such as Port Elizabeth, Durban, Dullstrom, Robertson, West Coast Drakensberg and the Panorama Route within the consumer and trade spaces. These are picturesque areas where travellers can pack in a lot of action into shorter time-spans. Also, with over 3000 adventure activities and counting, South Africa is undoubtedly the adventure capital of the world. The country has options across world-class climbing, surfing, diving, hiking, horseback safaris, mountain biking, river rafting – and just about any other extreme sport you can name.
How safe is South Africa as a country for the Indian traveller to travel within?
South Africa is as safe as any other international tourist destination.
Are there any special India-centric plans chalked out by South African Tourism?
There have been huge developments in terms of product offering, as well as in the way we operate in the Indian market. The India office now functions as the Hub in the Middle East, South East Asia and India region. We have been conducting an annual roadshow over the last 15 years in a continued effort to increase awareness
and engagement with travel planners in India. This platform has proven important in cementing existing relationships and also to introduce new products and experiences. We have also been working
closely with the Consulate General of South Africa in Mumbai as well as the South African Embassy in Delhi to strategically implement systems and ensure efficient issuance of visas.