Travel Trade Journal
Sun International awaits Indians with upgraded hotels, services and experiential activities
Sun International, in association with the South African Consulate General Mumbai, India, and Airline partner, Air Seychelles, recently organised a ‘Trade Appreciation Evening’ in Mumbai. TTJ met up with Andrea Kuhn, Consul General, Republic of South Africa, Sherene Allaman, VP - Sales and Marketing, Sun International, and Vasudha Sondhi, Managing Director, Outbound Marketing, and they were happy to share their enthusiasm for renewing ties with Indian travel fraternity, on new developments at Sun International and travel to South Africa.
With international tourism reviving after more than a two-year hiatus, Sun International is all set to renew ties and network once again with the Indian travel trade. At the ‘Trade Appreciation Evening’ they invited tour operators, MICE agents, wedding planners, and media to thank them for their continued support in keeping the business flowing to the hotel group. Their trade partners were appreciated for creating and maintaining an aspiration amongst the consumers in India to visit Sun International properties in South Africa.
The event started with a brief on the destination, South Africa. Then showcased were Sun International’s diverse portfolio of assets including world-class premium five-star hotels and resorts, modern and well-located casinos along with their offerings of experiential luxury, enduring quality, and incredible adventure supported by a genuine dedication to personal service.
Elaborating more on the event’s purpose, Sherene Allaman expressed, “We are thankful to our clients in India who have been relentlessly promoting South Africa and motivating tourists to stay at Sun International Hotels. We have seen an extremely positive trend in the last two months where the business is flowing in from all possible travel segments, including leisure, corporate, MICE and social events. There cannot be a better time than this to celebrate our bond with our travel partners in India. And that is why I decided to be here and appreciate their support and thank them personally through our appreciation night.”
The event ended with a lucky draw. The winners won hotel stay vouchers for Maslow Time Square, Maslow Sandton,
The Table Bay, Boardwalk, and the mega prize included free air tickets for a couple by Air Seychelles and a stay voucher for a couple at The Palace of the Lost City. There was also a farewell ceremony for Rakesh Bhandari, Account Director, who had been working with Sun International for many years.
India is now one of the largest international source and focus markets for South Africa Tourism globally. Over the years, Indian tourist footfalls are rapidly growing in South Africa. Now, there are several stop-over flights from India to South Africa, including Emirates, Air Seychelles, Qatar Airways, Etihad, RwandAir, Ethiopian Airlines, and Kenya Airways. However, strategically located directly between both countries, Air Seychelles offers the fastest connection between India and South Africa.
Mentioning more on connectivity, Andrea Kuhn said, “The South African team in India is working hard to reintroduce direct flights between India and SA, especially considering that we will be celebrating 30 years of our bilateral relations in 2023. Though we have many airlines connecting India and South Africa, we are also keen to start direct flights as it is important for both tourists and business travellers alike. Even our visa process is easy and we have a turnaround time of
five working days to issue visas provided the requirements are met.”
Sun International’s iconic Sun City Resort has always been on the bucket list of Indian travellers. The Sun International brand has a proud legacy in the gaming, hospitality, conferencing, and leisure sectors. The Group’s diverse South African property portfolio includes 15 hotels, 2 premier resorts, and 11 well-located casinos, all of which offer modern, fully equipped conferencing and banqueting facilities. It is also the local industry leader in online gaming and betting through the SunBet platform, which offers the latest global technology and the most innovative and exciting online betting experience.
In addition to the iconic Sun City resort, Sun International’s other equally exciting properties include the Wild Coast Sun resort, a slice of beach paradise on the tropical South Coast, the luxurious Table Bay hotel in Cape Town, The Maslow Sandton, and The Maslow Time Square in Gauteng, The beach facing Boardwalk in Gqeberha, The Golden Valley Lodge in Worcester’s beautiful Hex River Valley, The Sibaya Lodge in Durban’s Umhlanga Rocks, and Meropa in Polokwane, an ideal gateway to the Kruger National Park.
Speaking about the India market, Sherene Allaman said, “India is an important market for Sun International, and we are keen to tap all travel segments like leisure, MICE, FIT, group, etc. We have multiple properties ranging from five-star luxury to three-stars. South Africa is also an incredible wedding destination and we have an efficient events team to cater to the segment as well. We are also tapping all markets and all regions in India.”
Besides the exciting hotels and their value-added stays, Sherene says they also look forward to giving memorable experiences for their guests to take back. Their destinations offer experiential luxury, enduring quality and incredible adventure, supported by an authentic dedication to personal service.
In 2021, Sun International launched a direct booking hotel reservation platform, allowing hotel guests to book and secure their reservations through a simple and safe online payment process. The new booking platform also allows users to purchase accommodation vouchers to gift to others and for corporates to use as part of their rewards and incentive programmes.
While discussing the new additions, Sherene said, “Sun International has upgraded its hotels, services, and activities. We are ready to welcome our guests with impeccable hygiene and the highest service standards.” Serene added, “We are proud to mention that we have taken up the mammoth task of upgrading all rooms in our Flagship Hotel. The Palace of the Lost City, including a brand-new Spa and Gym. The Table Bay celebrates 25 years as we continue to deliver the most memorable experiences at the best address in Cape Town. We are delighted to include SIBA Restaurant and a renowned local celebrity chef infusing African and European dishes.”
Outbound Marketing, the India Representative of Sun International Hotels has been strengthening Sun International’s presence in the India market over the years. To enhance its market share in India, it has consistently made the appropriate moves. Outbound Marketing provides India source market solutions to hotel companies and tourism destinations through full-time sales, marketing representation, and projects.
Sharing about the marketing activities, Vasudha Sondhi said, “Even during the peak of COVID-19, we never stopped doing our work for Sun International in South Africa. We were conducting webinars and training with the stakeholders who were already in the business. We did not have clear strategies for 2020 or 2021 and picked up whatever business was coming in. Now in 2022, we have started strategising with many luxury travel agents and are also focussing on MICE groups as we have a huge inventory in all the sun international hotels in South Africa.”
“It’s great that travel to South Africa is picking up. Travellers are looking at experiences, and South Africa has that rare combination of offering experiences at every level backed by great infrastructure and products. We are encouraged with the bouncing back of the business to Sun International Hotels and South Africa,” she added.