London – The ailing rand has made it more challenging for smaller tour operators in South Africa to market internationally, according to Collin Thaver of Southern Africa 360 based in Cape Town.
He is one of 33 exhibitors taking part in SA Tourism’s stand at World Travel Market (WTM) in London this week.
Adam Veysey of Giltedge Golf and Safari based in Cape Town is another exhibitor taking part in the SAT exhibition at WTM London. He is grateful for being able to benefit from the Tourism Incentive Programme (TIP) of the Department of Tourism and SA Tourism. The programme assists SMEs to attend some of the large tourism trade shows.
“The cost to attend such trade shows has become prohibitive due to the weaker rand. Taking part in WTM London as part of the SAT exhibition can open doors for our specialised tourism business to benefit from more general and safari tourism too. Without the TIP support we would not have been able to afford to take part,” he told Fin24.
Thaver also benefited from the TIP programme in the past and said it has certainly helped his business.”
For Veysey, SA’s strong point is that it has such a variety of offerings for tourists.
Thaver added that his business has rethought its marketing message, encouraging repeat tourists to explore SA in terms of direct contact with local communities.
“I think we are not selling enough immersive and cultural exchanges for tourists to get in contact with local South Africans,” said Thaver. “This is an increasing need among tourists which we are responding to,” he said.
Veysey added that one of the big tourism trends in the world today is “ back to basics”. Tourists want to experience something that is more traditional. They want to feel part of the culture of the place they are visiting.
Both Thaver and Veysey emphasised that they place a big importance on the safety and security of tourists. Thaver would like to see government providing more assistance to the tourism industry to ensure tourists are safe and secure when they visit the country.
“The sustainable approach is the best,” concluded Thaver.
* Fin24 is a guest of SA Tourism at WTM London.* Sign up to Fin24's top news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO FIN24 NEWSLETTER