South Africa, the southernmost tip of the African continent, is all geared up to welcome more than 1,04,000 tourists from India this year with specialised product offerings to suit people from the sub-continent. “We have been witnessing consistent growth in tourists inflow from India. Looking at the growth trend we are expecting to host 1,04,000 Indian tourists in 2017,” South Africa Tourism in India Country Manager Hanneli Slabber told PTI here. Indian visitor numbers to South Africa had surged by 21.7 per cent to 95,377 during 2016.
“We look forward to an exciting year. We are focused in increased our engagement with travel agents and customer outreach through outdoor media, television, digital and print. January’s arrival figures are out and we welcomed about 6,300 Indian travellers and we look forward to very high numbers during the summer holiday season running from now until Mid-June,” she added.
In terms of geographic markets in India, South African tourism is planning to engage potential travellers in tier II markets through the agent-specific ‘Learn South Africa’ programme, which will train travel agents in 17 Indian cities during July 2017, she said.
“We are planning to train and customise specialised product offerings for travellers in these places with city-specific joint promotions with travel agents in all 17 cities. We have also published tourism related informations and product offerings in six Indian vernacular languages,” she added.
Demographically too, South African Tourism is also keen on targeting younger globe-trotters given that India has a sizable proportion of young population aged between 18-35, Slabber said.
Traditionally, young couples followed by families from the majority of the tourists from India withing the 45 years, she said. “Going forward, we are focused on the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events (MICE) segment and also on young solo travellers from India,” she pointed out.
With over 3,129 product offerings, and more being added, South Africa has something or other for everyone, Slabber said. Further she said, Indians are great spenders and rank among the top five in the category. “We find Indians love spending on experiences, food and shopping especially local handicrafts. In 2016, we saw the overall spends from India crossing 1.2 billion ZAR (South African currency) by the end of the third quarter,” she added.
India, Slabber said, is an important market for South Africa and is ranked in the eighth position among its international source markets. “Our top source markets are the UK and US followed by Europe. India has great potential and if the growth remains consistent the country may jump the ranking in a few years time from the current eighth position,” she added.