SA to gain in tourism future

2015-09-29 06:00

The World Tourism Organisation forecasts that by 2030 the majority (57%) of international travel will be to developing countries such as South Africa.

This is very good news for South Africa, given the key role attractions play in driving economic growth and creating jobs, Sabine Lehmann, managing director of Table Mountain, said in an address at a World Tourism Day event.

The event took place in the run-up to World Tourism Day on Sunday and was inspired by the 1Billion Jobs, 1Billion Opportunities campaign, which highlights that the 1 billion tourists travelling the world each year create a billion opportunities for progress and poverty eradication, especially for developing countries.

Bucket lists“Attractions are a key motivation for tourists to visit. Everybody wants to share a selfie to show that they have ‘been there and done that’. Bucket lists are the new goal sets,” said Lehmann.

“In turn, these attractions, being part of the service economy, play a key role in creating full-time and seasonal employment.”

Lehmann, drawing on insights gained at this year’s Attractions Africa Conference, said the big question was what would be perceived as an attraction worth visiting in ten years’ time.

“The greatest amount of uncertainty lies on the demand side – what will motivate customers to come to our attractions in the future?” she said.

“A recent study in the Netherlands found that over the next ten years attraction managers need to focus on quality, authenticity, sustainability and interaction – both on site and online.”

Lehmann, in welcoming the news that global tourists will increasingly head for destinations in emerging economies, warned that it was still important to attract local tourists.

“We have seen how local visitors to the cableway have increased steadily as we introduced a number of specials throughout the year, ensuring South Africans too can visit – accounting for 45% of our visitor numbers annually,” she said.

“For attractions to be authentic they need to include and speak to the local domestic market.”

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