19 July 2013

Asian tourist interest in South Africa continues to flourish

South African Tourism’s Asia Workshops, held in China, Japan and South Korea in June 2013, attracted the largest number of participants to date and revealed a growing interest in South Africa as a tourist destination.

Deputy Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa addressing delegates at the trade workshops in Japan. Deputy Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa addresses delegates at the trade workshops in Japan

This attendance shows a strong and growing interest in South Africa among Japanese, Chinese and South Korean tourists and a desire among South African tourism product owners to capture the imagination of these attractive markets. – Bradley Brouwer, South African Tourism regional manager: Asia Pacific

Bradley Brouwer, South African Tourism (SAT) regional manager: Asia Pacific, said the 2013 Asia Workshops saw the best-ever turnout from China, Japan, South Korea and South Africa.

In China, 45 South African product owners, more than 700 Chinese trade partners and 100 Chinese media attended the workshops. In Japan, 20 South African product owners interacted with 230 Japanese trade partners and 32 media. And in South Korea, a growing market for South Africa, 21 South African product owners attended, as well as 153 Korean trade partners.

‘This attendance shows a strong and growing interest in South Africa among Japanese, Chinese and South Korean tourists and a desire among South African tourism product owners to capture the imagination of these attractive markets,’ he said.

South Africa's Deputy Tourism Minister, Tokozile Xasa, attended the workshops in all three Asian countries, and spent time travelling on the bus with the South African delegation, giving them an opportunity to interact with her.

Addressing the workshops in Japan, she told delegates that South Africa is committed to growing the Japanese market to South Africa, and thanked Japan’s trade and media partners for their contribution.

In 2012, 34 415 Japanese tourists visited South Africa, up 30.9% from 2011.

In China, Deputy Minister Xasa highlighted new opportunities for tourism growth in South Africa and China. She commented on the agreement reached between Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Africa President Jacob Zuma at the fifth BRICS summit held in Durban earlier this year. That agreement names 2014 the ‘Year of South Africa’ in China, and 2015 the ‘Year of China’ in South Africa.

‘Through this initiative, we are more than confident that tourism exchanges between the two countries will be further enhanced,’ she said.

From January to December 2012, tourist arrivals from China (Hong Kong included) to South Africa reached 132 334, an increase of 55.9% over 2011. China is now South Africa’s fourth largest source market.

In South Korea, Deputy Minister Xasa announced plans for SAT to have trade representation in that country by 2015, a result of the growing South Korean tourist market to South Africa. In 2012, 18 290 Korean tourists visited South Africa, an 8.3% increase over 2011.

SAT’s Asia initiatives

SAT has been very active in Asia in the past few months. Here are a few of its initiatives and the results of some these:

Japan
South Africa featured in 14 television programmes in Japan from April to June 2013, amounting to more than 7.5 hours of prime-time coverage.

SAT’s ‘Come Closer to South Africa’ online activation – launched at the end of May with popular travel blog site 4Travel – was designed to empower the Japanese trade to develop new, iconic itineraries for South Africa and to provide content-rich information on South Africa to consumers.

Hankyu Travel, together with SAT and Cathay Pacific, has come up with a new eight-day tour with a travel itinerary that features only South Africa.

The ‘Essence of South Africa Food and Wine Fair’, held in Tokyo in May, is the first in a series of South African promotions in Japan to celebrate 20 years of freedom and democracy in South Africa.

China
SAT has launched its Deal Driven Campaign in China, aimed at attracting China’s family market to South Africa. The campaign will see Chinese families going on safari in August, whale watching in September and enjoying a wine experience in October. The aim is to attract 1 000 Chinese travellers to South Africa during this period.

SAT has signed eight joint marketing agreements with key Chinese travel trade partners in 2013.

It also launched a FUNDI competition to educate the Chinese trade to give credible recommendations about South Africa.

Korea
SAT is targeting Korea’s honeymoon market. It is also promoting the SAT FUNDI course to educate its Korean trade partners about tourism opportunities in South Africa.