Big potential for SA in sport tourism – SME owners

London – Tourists are increasingly travelling to have experiences, and this is where the potential lies for South Africa to benefit from sport tourism, according to Gerhardi Odendaal, CEO of the Old School Group, which specialises in sport and adventure tourism.

Odendaal is one of the SA small businesses taking part in SA Tourism’s exhibition at World Travel Market (WTM) in London. Events hosted by the company include the Cape Town 10s social sport and lifestyle event, and the Walker Bay Extreme hosted in Hermanus.

“We see a lot of people traveling to have sport and experiences. They are looking for nice tournaments in beautiful destinations. Especially for millennials it is not necessarily about travelling to resorts anymore. They have bucket lists of experiences they want to do,” Odendaal told Fin24.

Odendaal said great potential lies in “hooking” an experience on to the traditional historical sites tourists want to see during a trip. In this way tourists can be enticed to stay longer at a destination.

"Trends we are seeing is that people are traveling for experiences – so if you can hook an experience with the historical sites they want to see, it is almost a no brainer – for example, I went to NY marathon.

"SA should really embrace sport tourism as a country and not underestimate how sport and
adventure can bring more tourists,” said Odendaal.

Soul travel

Penny Ndlela of Soul Traveller is another small tourism business taking part in SAT’s exhibition at WTM London.

“We provide authentic and safe soul enriching journeys targeted at South Africans travelling within the country,” she told Fin24.

“We encourage South Africans to meet new people and to start discussions and break down barriers. Unfortunately many South Africans see tourism in the country as something just international tourists come to do here."

Her travel packages are designed in such a way that international travellers can also join in the journey and engage with locals.

* Fin24 is a guest of SA Tourism at WTM London.

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