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23 February 2012

Media Statement by the Office of Mr Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Tourism

The Minister of Tourism, Mr Marthinus van Schalkwyk, ended his three-day visit to Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, today.

Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk

We actively need to work at improving seasonality by exposing and promoting South Africa’s all-year, easy-to-do and value-for-money experiences. - Minister of Tourism, Mr Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

The Minister of Tourism, Mr Marthinus van Schalkwyk, ended his three-day visit to Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, today. The purpose of the visit was to promote South Africa as the ideal leisure and business tourism destination.

The Australian source market remains crucial for South Africa. By October 2011, more than 84 000 Australians had visited South Africa, spending an average of R11 800 per trip and staying for approximately 15 nights. Addressing the tourism trade and media in Sydney, the Minister cited the current continued growth period in the Australian economy as an opportune time for South Africa to take full advantage of the burgeoning outbound travel market in the region. “Australia ranks 6th in terms of South African Tourism's top 20 long haul source markets. Between 2005 and 2010, South Africa has steadily grown annual tourist arrivals from Austalia by 39%, reaching more than 107 000 in 2010. We are aiming to achieve and exceed the target of 120 000 Australian tourist arrivals in the next two years.”

In addressing the issue of combating seasonality in the Australian source market, Minister Van Schalkwyk said: “We actively need to work at improving seasonality by exposing and promoting South Africa’s all-year, easy-to-do and value-for-money experiences.” South Africa is an appealing destination to the Australian market, because Australian tourists are known to look for unique, memorable destinations with amazing wildlife, incredible beaches and coastlines, urban centres and warm, friendly people.

According to the Minister, the relationship between the South African and Australian travel trade is “mutually beneficial”, backed by a number of initiatives managed on the ground by South African Tourism’s Australia office. Such initiatives include trade familiarisation trips, joint marketing campaigns, workshops, roadshows and the FUNDI training programme, which are all achieving great success. South African Tourism opened its Sydney office in 2003.

Another drawcard for the Australian traveller is South Africa’s growing importance as a business tourism destination, particularly given the positive awareness achieved after South Africa’s successful hosting of a string of high-profile mega-events, including last year’s IOC congress and COP17. “No doubt, South Africa has the proven capacity and the infrastructure to successfully host major international business events and meetings, and, with the implementation of the National Convention Bureau, we now also have the strategic platform for collaboration to claim a bigger slice of the global business tourism market." Minister van Schalkwyk attended the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) during his visit to Australia. AIME is the premier meetings and incentives event in the Asia-Pacific region. AIME was an ideal platform to promote South Africa as a highly accessible and value-for-money destination, and to highlight the recent developments and the accolades received since the hosting of giants such as the FIFA World Cup and COP17 in the build-up towards Meetings Africa. Meetings Africa is South African Tourism’s marketing platform that exposes local and international buyers to the range of services and products in Southern Africa’s MICE (meetings, incentives, conference and exhibitions) industry. It will be hosted at the Sandton Convention Centre on 28 February 2012.

The primary focus areas for 2012 by South African Tourism Australia will be to continue highlighting the unique product and unforgettable adventures and experiences offered by South Africa, driving the accessibility of the ‘South Africa as the preferred destination’ message, and building strong partnerships with trade partners in wholesale and airlines. More than 33 flights between major cities in both countries are available each week, with direct routes via South African Airways, code-sharing with Qantas. With Australians spending more money on travel as their economy grows and the Australian dollar appreciates, South Africa is certainly well positioned to continue growing arrivals from a fast-maturing Australian travel market.

Ends

For more information:

Ministry of Tourism

Melene Rossouw

E-mail: mrossouw@tourism.gov.za

Tel: 021 465 7240/082 753 7107

Natasha Rockman

E-mail: nrockman@tourism.gov.za

Tel: 021 465 7240/076 429 2264

South African Tourism

Jermaine Craig

E-mail: Jermaine@southafrica.net

Tel: 083 201 0121

National Department of Tourism

Trevor Bloem

E-mail: TBloem@tourism.gov.za

Tel: 012 444 6000