Looking into Africa

2017-11-23 06:00

WE on the South Coast have consistently recognised that the key markets for our diverse leisure and lifestyle mix lie in our South African consumers.

It is, however, worthwhile for us to seek new opportunities from Africa itself. After all, the majority of our foreign visitors come from SADC nations, albeit mainly for retail and business purposes.

We also need to recognise that the African market for holiday and leisure is an opportunity to pursue. Africa is gearing up for tourism growth according to issue 4, 2017 of African Decisions.

It is reported that by 2034, air travel passengers on the continent will triple from 107 million in 2015 to 294 million with an average 4.7% growth.

In Ethiopia, their international airport will from 2024 serve 120 million passengers. This will make this hub larger than Heathrow Airport in the UK.

In 2016, African airlines recorded their best growth (7.4%) since 2012, which suggests there is increased mobility for air travel.

As of July 31, there was a year-on-year increase of 16.8% in seat bookings. Johannesburg and Durban airports are considered some of the busiest in Africa and as such, we need to aspire to those inbound visitors to translate their reason to visit as holidaymakers and leisure enthusiasts.

This is one of the reasons why we promote the South Coast at the annual Tourism Indaba, which is morphing into a continental expo as opposed to just a South African event.

Furthermore, our promotions in Johannesburg are showing an increased attendance of ex-pats from other African countries seeking ideal leisure options while they are here.

I believe that in sustaining our long- haul markets in the northern hemisphere remains vital, but going forward, promotion in the SADC countries could well bring new flows of tourist to this great part of South Africa.

A start was the recent tour of our destination by a group of Namibian travel agents, who by all accounts, were impressed with our diverse set of tourism and hospitality options.

They loved their stay in our impressive leisure land as I am sure will the rest of our African guests from outside our borders.

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