~The roadshow concluded with 1,871 Indian buyers, 99 SA suppliers and 9,343 meetings~
~Direct flights and e-visas for the Indian market are top priorities for the tourism board~
~India retains pre-pandemic spot as one of the top 3 international focus markets ~
Inspired by border openings and increased confidence in travel, South African Tourism held their maiden virtual roadshow in India to capitalize on the strong consumer and corporate traveller demand in the country. The ‘VirtuallyYoursSouthAfrica’ roadshow is expected to boost tourism economies in both nations, especially as the South African national tourism board focuses on bullishly driving strategic recovery measures in India.
According to the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan put together by the tourism board earlier this year, key focus areas remain re-igniting demand, protecting & rejuvenating supply and strengthening capacity. The recently concluded roadshow in India is the first of many efforts to reignite international travel demand, in order to meet a global target of 2.6 million visitors in FY21-22.
99 South African suppliers were part of the trade delegation who exhibited their products and services in India from 20th to 22nd October 2021. They reiterated the tourism board’s emphasis on diversifying geographies and expanding product range for the India market. Of the 99 suppliers, over 41 were exhibiting in India for the first time and 12 were women-owned enterprises.
With a heavy emphasis on empowering small businesses and boosting the local economy, this roadshow also saw the inclusion of 31 SMMEs – more than double the number that participated in the 2020 roadshow. In addition to SMMEs, representatives from accommodation establishments, destination management companies, experiences, 7 South African Provinces, VFS and airlines showcased their product and services to 1,871 Indian buyers.
“India is a high potential source market for us, at South African Tourism. In fact, the market has been recognized as one of our key international focus markets, along with China and Nigeria. While India has traditionally been a multigenerational, family source market, we see huge opportunity to leverage the destination amongst millennials as well. They are looking for an adventure and with 3000+ adventure activities, South Africa is known to provide one at every turn! We hope to welcome more and more Indian travellers to have safe, sustainable and memorable holidays, as well as a taste of our warm hospitality and local culture,” said Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head – MEISEA, South African Tourism.
Commenting on the Roadshow, she said, “I am thrilled at the response we received at our maiden virtual roadshow – I believe that the partnerships forged here will be instrumental in setting the tone as we direct efforts towards travel recovery in India. I am grateful to all those who participated from the trade fraternities in India and South Africa – you are our pillar of support and motivate us to drive excellence.”
In line with their evolved recovery plan, South African Tourism India has identified certain key focus areas for the forthcoming year. These include aggressively promoting their new regions, building on the destination’s position as the adventure capital of the world, providing increased value for money itineraries and catering to niche traveller segments like runners, bikers, sports enthusiasts etc. The tourism board is also hoping to welcome a large number of Indian cricket fans into the destination during India’s Test tour of South Africa in December 2021.
Sharing further plans, Ms. Sthembiso Dlamini, Acting CEO & COO at South African Tourism stated, “We understand that easy accessibility is a key consideration when planning travel. With that in mind, we want to assure Indian travellers, corporates and our trade partners that we are actively pursuing opportunities to initiate direct flights from India to South Africa. We also intend to make good on our promise to roll-out e-visas for the India market very soon.”
Given the increase in Indian traveller demand, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Ethiopian Airlines have regular flights scheduled from India to South Africa, with layovers at Dubai, Doha and Addis Ababa respectively. Additionally, Air Seychelles is also scheduled to resume flights from India to South Africa.
South Africa is currently open to all international tourists, including Indians. Travellers intending to visit the country will be required to produce a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, not older than 72 hours from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa.