SA eyes tiered cities

Han­neli Slab­ber, In­dia Coun­try Head, South African Tourism, talks about how the coun­try is en­sur­ing that it main­tains the steady in­flow of MICE traf­fic

Micetalk - - Interview - Han­neli Slab­ber

What kind of re­quests do you get from MICE groups?

Be­sides meet­ings, South Africa is boom­ing as a con­fer­ence des­ti­na­tion. In terms of MICE from In­dia, in­cen­tive-led travel dom­i­nates, at ap­prox­i­mately 80 per cent. A lot of re­quests come from strat­egy-plan­ning in­cen­tives, where trav­ellers opt for un­usual team-bond­ing set­ups like game drive ve­hi­cles, which not only add a tinge of un­con­ven­tion­al­ity but also en­cour­age dis­cus­sions. In­cen­tive-led trav­ellers are al­ways on the look­out for cul­tur­ally rich, off-the-beaten track ex­pe­ri­ences that can cater to a va­ri­ety of in­di­vid­ual tastes and South Africa is the per­fect op­tion. A ma­jor change has also been ob­served in terms of trav­eller mo­ti­va­tion – com­pa­nies do not pre­fer of­fer­ing a paid hol­i­day any­more, they are more driven to­wards holis­tic pro­grams where they can im­bibe their com­pany's val­ues and ben­e­fits.

How is the traf­fic from In­dia?

In­dian vis­i­tor num­bers to South Africa have surged 21.67 per cent dur­ing 2016 to 95,377 and eighth po­si­tion among our in­ter­na­tional source mar­kets. Cor­po­rate firms such as HDFC, Her­cules, 9X Me­dia, ACC Ce­ment, Si­yaram Silk etc. have or­gan­ised their MICE trips to South Africa. Also, re­peat busi­ness trav­eller growth stands at ap­prox­i­mately 35 per cent.

Where do you get a lot of de­mand from?

Cities like Mum­bai, Delhi and Ahmed­abad are ma­ture mar­kets for us but we are wit­ness­ing good ar­rival fig­ures from cities like Hy­der­abad, Bengaluru, Chen­nai, Pune and Kolkata. In the com­ing times we hope to see an in­crease in MICE busi­ness from mini-met­ros and tier II mar­kets in In­dia as well.

What makes South Africa per­fect for MICE? We be­lieve that we a have a win­ning com­bi­na­tion – a favourable cur­rency ex­change, di­verse cui­sine in­clud­ing veg­e­tar­ian and In­dian op­tions, ex­pe­ri­ences across wildlife, ad­ven­ture as well as at­trac­tions for shop­ping and nightlife along with a va­ri­ety of graded ac­com­mo­da­tion. More­over, there is an in­creas­ing trend of mov­ing away from the tra­di­tional meet­ing scenes, with peo­ple now will­ing to go beyond the board­rooms and choose open spa­ces.

Does SA of­fer any of­fers for big cor­po­rate groups?

For meet­ings and in­cen­tives we of­fer sup­port at var­i­ous lev­els in­clud­ing as­sis­tance with bid pre­sen­ta­tion, sup­port to CVBs, pro­vi­sion of letters of sup­port, pro­vi­sion of des­ti­na­tion col­lat­eral, site in­spec­tion, del­e­gate boost­ing, fa­mil­iari­sa­tion trips, pre and post tours, venue se­lec­tion as­sis­tance and as­sis­tance with visa pro­cess­ing in se­lect of­fices. Most In­dian cor­po­rate face the con­straint of bud­gets, while or­gan­is­ing out­bound MICE trips abroad. We tie up with our In­dian trade part­ners for in­ter­est­ing pack­ages to South Africa such as 7th Sky Tours and Trav­els, Aero­space, Club 7, Cox and Kings, De­wan, Ex­pe­dia, Flamingo, Kulin Ku­mar, Travel Bazar, TUI, Thomas Cook amongst others in the past for such of­fers.

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