SA Tourism to focus on African markets

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
By: 
Kemantha Govender

Durban - South African Tourism's commitment to fully developing the African market is backed by a more than R60 million budget for marketing efforts.

SA Tourism reiterated at the recent Tourism Indaba the growing importance of African markets to drive future tourism growth in South Africa.

Phumi Dhlomo, SA Tourism's Regional Director: Africa, outlined key strategies to ensure the continent's tourism potential remains key on the country's tourism agenda and research findings on this subject.

With the Africa region maintaining strong growth of 10 percent in arrivals to South Africa over the last seven years, the intense focus on Africa's potential has been mandated as a priority in the National Department of Tourism's National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS).

"Our most recent research has given us a key indication of areas that require strategic shifts in mindsets in the approach to attracting African travellers and we look forward to leading industry efforts in ensuring we take full advantage of the huge potential on our doorstep."

Research has also shown that the four key markets are Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya and Nigeria.

According to the report released by SA Tourism, Nigeria remains the leading African market in terms of developmental characteristics; a key aspect when anticipating growth in tourism arrivals. Their large population characterised by high economic growth has demonstrated consistent growth of 7.8 percent in arrivals over the past three years.

Angola, on the other hand, has the smallest population out of the four countries included in the report, but demonstrates a huge tourism potential given the average GDP growth rate of the country and the relatively high ratio of travellers that have visited South Africa previously (39 557 in 2010).

Dhlomo added that the total spend by Angolans visiting South Africa is also a contributing factor to the market's importance, accounting for the highest spend of the four countries in 2009 (in excess of R729 million).

The report also showed that Kenya's high technology usage trends and great potential to act as a hub for the East Africa region, together with a stable increase of volume and growth between 2007 and 2010 necessitate continued efforts in the region, supported extensively by growth strategies that will counteract the relatively small size of the country as a standalone market.

Visitors from the DRC have shown the greatest growth in total spend in South Africa, with an impressive 42 percent increase reported between 2003 and 2009.

"A phased approach is required, using the market insights gained in the report together with a strategic look at the unique consumer demands, media channels and tactical opportunities which exist to fully develop our offering to the African traveller."

As part of the research conducted, much work was completed with regards to identifying high growth consumer groups within each market.

"This direction will allow marketing activities within each region to have maximum effect on consumers, with minimal resource wastage and higher conversion".

"With the projected increase in focus on our Africa air markets, we will continue increasing our efforts in Africa land markets, maximising our efforts to ensure that the South African offering remains entrenched in countries such as Botswana and Mozambique. In turn, our commitment to Africa is further demonstrated in the job creation opportunities made available with the extension of the SA Tourism footprint across Africa," said Dhlomo.

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