The South African Tourism (SAT) has witnessed 59,000 Indian travellers from January to September last year. This year, the tourism board of South Africa is looking forward to close the year with 1 lakh Indian tourist arrivals (excluding business travellers), stated Hanneli Slabber, Country Manager, SAT on the sidelines of their 13th annual roadshow at Kolkata, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai showcasing 50 exhibitors.
The 4-city roadshow received an overwhelming response from the travel trade.
SAT would also be launching a grand marketing campaign around the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 by the end of January 2016. On the B2C front, SAT would be unveiling a marketplace on their website titled ‘Chalo South Africa’ on March 1, 2016.
This will enable travel agents from India to upload their packages on SAT’s website.
Speaking on the supposed downfall in tourist number from India last year, Slabber added, “We had huge surge in Indian travellers to South Africa last year but due to the shortage of manpower, not much visas could be issued. This has in fact resulted in 15-20% drop in tourists from India last year.”
She further informed that the intake of people in immigration took time as it needed approvals from the Indian Government as well. But now, the capacity is full and ready to take on the visa rush before the peak season from April to July. Now the visa processing time is 5 working days excluding the day of submission.
Slabber plans to get the South African suppliers to India to train the tour operators and travel agents on the destination but SAT is yet to decide on their training plans for this year. India boasts of the highest number of trained tour operators for the destination. Currently, India ranks as the 6th priority source market for SAT. The average length of stay has been 12.9 days till date.
Apart from the cities already having visa centres, Slabber aims to trace the potential cities that are driving significant traffic to South Africa. SAT’s expansion model for visa centres would depend on the same, she added. VFS Global has 9 South African visa centres pan India, including 2 at Delhi and Mumbai and the rest 7 pick and drop centres at Kolkata, Jaipur, Gurgaon, Ahmedabad, Pune, Goa and Bengaluru.
Mputle Dikobe, Trade Market Intelligence Specialist, Gauteng Tourism
The province of Gauteng mostly notices Indian tourists visiting friends and relatives and exploring the shopping and safari adventure. India is a growing market for us. We plan to promote Gauteng mainly through social media platforms.
Nabintu Petsana, Unit Head, Joburg Tourism
India is an established market for the destination of Johannesburg and records good number of MICE and leisure Indian travellers. Still, we aim to augment the marketing and promotional efforts and reap the benefits of longstanding trade relations.
Thulani Zungu, Manager, Regional Marketing, Asia & Americas, Durban Tourism
The figures are indeed growing from India and the response from the travel trade is also overwhelming. India is a priority emerging market for Durban. We have witnessed a number of groups from India preferring adventure, culture and heritage travel segments and staying for 2-3 nights.