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London World Travel Market boosts travel to South Africa

There were 227,323 visits from Britain to South Africa between January and June, an increase of 17% over the same period last year.

Global arrivals increased fractionally to 1,149,253, but Britain is the most important market followed by Germany, France and the Benelux countries. These figures were revealed by Derek Hanekom who, once again, was among only 10 tourism ministers, out of almost 100 attending, to speak at the Global Summit.

In a debate on marketing, he said that South Africa’s slogan A world in one country was proving highly effective. There was some criticism of a fellow-speaker, Walter Mzembi, from Zimbabwe whose small pavilion included 13 exhibitors.

The pavilion of South African Tourism brought together 30 exhibitors, including Tshwane, Johannesburg and Durban (launching its plans for 2022) as well as the Voortrekker monument.  Various hotels and chains sent representatives as did Thompson’s destination management. South African Airways joined the others, but Rovos Rail had an independent booth next to an operator of tours in Ethiopia and Sudan.

Four safari companies and a combined total of 15 wildlife areas exhibited. Nopasika Mxunyewa from Eastern Cape Parks & Tourism Agency said, “This is my first time here, but WTM has everything I need. It is possible to meet buyers, compare products and spot the consumer trends to use the right marketing tools”. 

Dianna Martin of Northern Cape Tourist Authority spoke at a seminar, and Heidi van der Watt, director of ICRT, Southern Africa, was among four experts talking about the impact of governmental touristic policies on local communities.   South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance publicised its recent awards for responsible tourism. Abercrombie & Kent won this year’s Ubuntu Award from South African Tourism.

Also highlighted at WTM was the current Cairo to Cape cycling race whose competitors include Mark Blewett, captain of the SA Cycling Team. The African Travel & Tourism Association had its own stand, but the continent fared badly at a crowded conference on safety.   A speaker from the National Counter-Terrorism Security Office in London said that the world’s most hazardous countries for holidaymakers were Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia. Nigeria did not exhibit this year, but Egypt occupied double South Africa’s area which was not much larger than those of Kenya, Morocco or Tanzania.

Angola and Namibia were absent but the total of 53 African exhibitors did include Malawi, Senegal and Uganda as well as Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique.   Madagascar and Reunion were present too, and so was Swaziland whose representative, Bongani Dlamini, said “This show provides us with a lot of opportunities to meet tour operators, mainly British ones. And we are on the right track for getting more airlines to our new international airport”.

Africa altogether took one-tenth of the space at WTM, as much as that for countries of the Near and Middle East. Criticism of the expenses and location, however, mean that next year’s show at ExCel will be shortened from four to three days. With 50,000 participants and 9,500 exhibitors from 186 lands, it still rivals ITB in Berlin, but Africa’s premier travel fair, Indaba International Expo, was getting registrations for its next show in Durban from 7-9 May.

Source: thesouthafrican


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