Weak rand - a delight or devil?

2015-10-22 06:00

FOR those long-haul visitors who come from currency-strong countries, South Africa has to be a destination that does not dent the pocket. To many observers this provides a marketing plus to entice pound or dollar spenders to our shores and certainly (silly Visa regulations aside) tourists will come and spend.

The downside is that our national marketing arm South African Tourism (SAT) has to spend its overseas marketing budgets in countries with stable currencies. This means that because of exchange rates, the marketing “Bang for Buck” can be whittled away to a possible damp squib, which in turn, could reduce the promotional impact to secure a greater long haul market share.

So in some respects our international market prospects could be in for tough times even though the vast majority of people who do actually come to this country return raving about South Africa.

So how does one counter this? My opinion is, and this is certainly how we will approach things, is to attend selective consumer and trade shows aboard, use general selling agents as productively as possible and more importantly grow our desireability within social communication networks. Furthermore we will creatively attain free overseas publicity in influential publications and on the internet.

Although we do collaborate with SAT and Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, we see merit in sourcing our own key media and market niches overseas in order to hive off some market share specifically for the greater South Coast.

These approaches are not cost-overly consuming and as such, we consider our foreign market sourcing capable of realising results. Our blessing is that we rely mainly on our domestic markets for most of our tourism spend - we will not lose sight of that trend - even if local markets are financially hamstrung.

One thing I have noticed is that our destination is slowly getting more business tourism from both the private and public sector. To a large extent this is down to our price competitiveness. A few nights ago I spoke to a conference delegate from Gauteng and his conference for 800 attendees was for 3three nights - that’s 2 100 bed nights mid-week and out of season - what a plus.

Certainly with our district’s hospitality industry signing up with the South African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI), the penny is dropping that this market segment has to be tapped into - hence our close association with SAACI.

I feel that when the tourism chips appear down, there is ample scope for creative ways and means of fixing the leaks.

Have a great week.

SO IN SOME RESPECTS OUR INTERNATIONAL MARKET PROSPECTS COULD BE IN FOR TOUGH TIMES EVEN THOUGH THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE WHO DO ACTUALLY COME TO THIS COUNTRY RETURN RAVING ABOUT SOUTH AFRICA

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