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SSouth African Tourism (SA Tourism) and the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) have kicked-off the first leg of their Global Roadshow in Zurich, Switzerland in a bid to boost tourist arrivals to South Africa.
The South African delegation – made up of public sector tourism leaders - met with key travel partners in Zurich on Tuesday (27 August) to gain much needed insight into how tourists from Switzerland perceive South Africa and how they determine their choice of destination.
After hearing the concerns of the Swiss travel trade, South African Tourism Acting CEO, Sthembiso Dlamini, believes that packaging the country’s story in a way that would make it sellable to the world should be the country’s top priority. “We have to rethink how we communicate and what we communicate to the world out there. This would also require investment from both the private sector and government.”
She also points out a number of factors that need to be addressed to ensure European tourists flock to South Africa. These are pricing issues, geographic spread, product availability and negative media reports.
Dlamini further says that South Africa’s tourism has to leverage off the repeat business coming from Europe. “These are the people who will assist us with word of mouth, geographic spread and endorse our destination.”
Understanding tourist needs
TBCSA CEO, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, believes the engagement will go a long way to helping both the South African tourism industry and tour operators in Switzerland understand each other’s perspectives. “There are a lot of takeaways in terms of how we are to approach the market. That is the central part of this trip: To understand what the tourists are looking for.”
Marcel Gehring, CEO of Switzerland’s fourth-largest tour operator, Knecht Reisen, says he was pleased at how South Africa’s public and private sectors are working together to solve numerous issues. “There is a lot of work already being done in South Africa and it gives us security that government and private sectors are working together - even more than they have in the past - on the right topics to get South Africa going.”
Gehring says carbon neutrality and sustainability are high on a Swiss tourist’s agenda and South Africa would be wise to promote itself with these issues at the top on its messaging.
Dominic Eckert, Managing Director of Dreamtime, a tour operator in Switzerland, says he had gained new insight into the South African tourism landscape. “I came here looking for new ideas. There is a lot of opportunity to increase numbers to South Africa. There are heaps of things around you, so you have to focus on them.”
TBCSA board member, David Frost, says that the European tourist trade have a lot of confidence in selling South Africa. “They reiterated their support for the destination. The big challenge is to convert the first-timers. The insights we got and the issues they raised means we can sharpen our pencils going back and mobilise resources to actually grow the market.”
Next stop for the roadshow
Following the successful Switzerland engagement, the delegation will visit Austria next, meeting with key travel partners in Vienna.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Altaaf Kazi at South African Tourism
Tel: +27 11 895-3046
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com