Neighbours seek better value
SOUTH Africa’s tourism sector should offer cheaper shopping and holiday opportunities and market its night life to neighbouring countries.
The local industry has recently been struggling to attract tourists from Namibia, Mozambique and Botswana, and a study conducted by SA Tourism shows that consumers from the three countries are “price sensitive” and are looking for cheaper holiday experiences.
This comes after recent figures indicated that holiday travels from the three countries over the past year have declined.
The research also comes after SA Tourism announced that Africa remained its “bread and butter” in terms of tourist attraction compared to those travelling from long-haul destinations, with 70% of all international arrivals coming from the continent.
SA Tourism strategic research manager Bashni Muthaya said the research was done to assess what citizens from the three countries wanted when travelling to South Africa.
“The three countries were identified as markets in our portfolio in which we need more growth [in tourist arrivals].
“Research in these three countries identified that there is growth potential. We have had 70% in growth from Africa and we need to be defending the African market,” she said.
Statistics SA figures showed that, while there was a 34% increase in arrivals from Nigeria between 2010 and 2011, there was a 5.3% drop in arrivals from Botswana, while both Mozambique and Namibia recorded growth below 3%.
Bashni said the consumer research indicated that tourists from Mozambique preferred coming to South Africa to do their shopping.
Tourists from Botswana wanted holiday packages that would allow them to experience SA’S vibrant nightlife, like music concerts, usually held in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.
The research also found that travellers from Namibia wanted accessible “value for money” destinations and that, like Botswana citizens, they wanted to experience South Africa’s nightlife.
Africa’s regional director at SA Tourism, Phumi Dhlomo, said they decided to conduct the consumer research after seeing a fall in numbers from the three countries.
“We are currently working on implementing a communications strategy for these markets that will allow us to increase the frequency with which these tourists travel to South Africa.
“We want to show [them] the other experiences available in South Africa outside what they have always done when visiting.
“While there is a lot of work to be done in the coming two years, we are confident that we will be able to quantifiably grow tourist volume, spend and length of stay,” he said.