Why many South Africans are not tourists

2016-07-07 06:00

WE on the South Coast are, because of our excellent beach, activity and rural offerings, very much a popular destination for the domestic South African market, but in terms of nationally the tourism sector is in many respects just scratching the surface. The market potentials for our consumers, who generally do not travel, are significant.

Interestingly the SA Tourism Review 2015 conducted a survey as to why South Africans are not proactive tourists and the outcome of the study is quite informative.

Some 41% indicated that the main reason they do not travel is because quite simply they could not afford it. We on the South Coast are recognised as a value-for-money destination so in many respects we need to convince the SA public who may be financially border-line that they can in fact afford trips here and should visit.

About 21% of respondents indicated they had no reason for taking a trip - our challenge during our promotional campaigns is to give them a reason to come, by virtue of our product and experience diversity, coupled with events that suit specific market niches and interests.

Time constraints were cited by 19% of respondents, which is a pity because recreation through travel is a healthy way of de-stressing and everybody needs a little time out. Funnily enough nine percent said they dislike travel, full stop. That is a tragedy in that being home-bound can limit one’s perspective on life and tourism is a wonderful conduit for learning and seeing new and interesting things.

My sister was once upon a time a reluctant traveller and at the age of 37 took her first trip abroad. Needless to say she got the bug and now 67, regularly scurries around SA and is often off to Europe to not only work there, but sample all sorts of diverse places at the same time.

Sadly seven percent indicated their state of unemployment precluded them from taking holidays - imagine how vibrant our tourism economy would be if more South Africans were employed and had disposable income to tour our beautiful country, and in particular, this wonderful part of this province.

Domestic tourism is the lifeblood of our own tourism economy so we will continue to sell this destination to key market segments and niches and try to win over those many thousands, who to date, are not active tourists - the potential is very evident.

They say change is as good as a holiday - maybe a holiday here is the change many South Africans need to charge the batteries and vitalise the soul.

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