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18 November 2012

SA Tourism’s WTM stand was abuzz with activity

South African Tourism’s stand at WTM was really busy as it pulled out all the stops to promote the destination to the global travel trade.

UK TV personality Charley Boorman (seated on his bike) at the SA Tourism stand with members of the SA Tourism delegation and other WTM attendees.

The UK remains South Africa’s top tourist market. We will continue to invest in this market and forge relationships with those who help us sell South Africa - Thulani Nzima, South African Tourism CEO

There was great excitement at the South African Tourism (SAT) stand on the first day of World Travel Market when UK TV personality, Charley Boorman, abseiled from the roof of the ExCeL exhibition hall onto the stand, where his famous motorcycle was stationed. Boorman is host of the popular UK TV series, Extreme Frontiers. 

He and seasoned producer and director, Russ Malkin, recently completed a 10 000 km motorcycle adventure around South Africa. Their journey has been made into a 4-part television series called Charley’s South African Adventure. It will air on Channel 5 in the UK in January. 

Boorman was on hand at the SAT stand to tell WTM visitors about his experiences in South Africa. Highlights included cage-diving with great white sharks, crossing the perilous Sani Pass, abseiling off Table Mountain and having a ‘braai’ with locals to celebrate Mandela Day. 

Boorman was also one of the 5 celebrities who were featured on SAT’s innovative interactive displays speaking about their experiences of South Africa and what they love about the country. 

The other celebrities included ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius, celebrity chef Reuben Riffel and South African fashion designer Khensani Manganyi.

The 'Dream Destination' interactive touch table allowed visitors at the SAT stand to plan their dream South African holidays and email their tailor-made itineraries to colleagues, friends and families. 

Visitors to the SAT stand also met and interacted with 38 South African exhibitors. They were on hand to inform the international trade about South Africa’s diverse product offering and forge new business relationships.

South Africa's Minister of Tourism, Martinus Van Schalkwyk, and SAT CEO, Thulani Nzima, addressed the trade at a luncheon hosted by SAT. They highlighted the importance of the UK market for South Africa, the good growth in tourist arrivals from this market in the first half of 2012, and the importance of trade partnerships for future growth.

‘The UK is a very important market for South Africa. Despite the economic climate, tourist arrivals to South Africa from the UK grew by 4,7% in the first 6 months of 2012, compared with the same period in 2011. Total tourist arrivals to our country grew by 10,5% - well above the global average,’  said Van Schalkwyk.

Nzima said the UK remained South Africa’s top tourist market. ‘We will continue to invest in this market and forge relationships with those who help us sell South Africa,’ he said. 

Bashni Muthaya, SAT Regional Director: Europe, said SAT was also encouraged by the growth in tourist arrivals from Europe, where the economic situation remained a challenge.

‘We saw a 9,7% increase in tourist arrivals from Europe (including the UK) during the first 6 months of 2012. This demonstrates the attractiveness of South Africa as a sought-after destination,’ she commented.

She added that SAT had undertaken extensive research earlier this year, which identified what UK consumers are looking for in long-haul holidays. ‘The research tells us that they want to be active, to explore and to meet the locals. When it comes to long-haul travel, scenic beauty and interesting cultural experiences are high on their list of destination desirables. We will be working to market South Africa as an exciting lifestyle destination that is also a leader in responsible tourism,’ she said.

Muthaya added that value for money was very important to the UK consumer who has emerged from the global economic crisis. ‘With South Africa’s diverse product offering, variety of experiences and varied price points, there are great travel options for all travellers seeking memorable, authentic experiences,’ she concluded.