South Africa warned its SADC peers that it plans to re-balance its tourism portfolio by moving into the regional and intra Africa markets including Botswana as it plans to increase its tourism contribution to its GDP to half a trillion Pula by 2020.
The Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism, which is an equivalent of the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO), Thandiwe January-McLean, said┬á they get large spend from the region, which is supplemented by the traditional markets that include Europe.
“Africa is a growth frontier,” Director General: National Department of Tourism, Ambassador Kingsley Makhubela, said. “There is a need to rebalance the portfolio and look at intra Africa,” he added.
Unlike Botswana, South Africa saw a successful 2010 as there were high numbers of tourists coming to the country for the FIFA World CupÔÇöalthough most countries in the region did not register large numbers.
As the soccer showpiece is gone, the SADC countries, including SA, are seeing a ‘drop-off’ and most countries in the region will now feel the impact of the global recessionÔÇöwhich requires destinations to revamp marketing strategies.
Most countries are now looking at emerging markets, including the cash awash BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India and China) as a lot of growth is coming from these markets, replacing the traditional ones that were hard hit by economic slowdown.
In the region alone, Angola was the biggest single country that represented a large spend for South Africa, although there were only 38, 000 Angolans coming to SA as compared to Nigeria.
“Nigeria holds the potential,” said January-McLean. “There was a drop this year from Angola and this year our target is Nigeria.”
South Africa, like the rest of its peers in the region, spends large amounts of its half a billion Rands annual budget on promoting the product overseas while as little as less than R47 million is spent promoting the destination in the country and region.
January-McLean said the idea now is to increase domestic and regional ‘work’ by channeling more resources to the endevours.
“We should not overlook the spend we get from the region,” she advised, adding that there is a lot of spend coming from the SADC area.
South Africa is also looking at diversifying its tourism product and move ahead of its competitors by adding more to the traveler’s itinerary.
January-McLean said a tourist to the country should not only know about its wildlife, but should be able to spice up that experience it with its people, culture and heritage.
The move will be a step ahead of Botswana, which still gets large amounts of money from its high value, low volumes approach to tourism and concentrating their marketing on The Okavango Delta. It is expected that Botswana will only get P3 billion from tourism while South Africa makes about R200 billion from the industry.
“We should not sell South Africa a one product destination,” added Kinsley.
┬áInternational tourism arrivals to South Africa grew by 15.1 percent in 2010, with the undoubted tourism highlight being our country’s successful hosting of the World Cup.”
South Africa is at the heart of the second phase of its global marketing and advertising campaign: “20 Experiences in 10 Days”.
The campaign, which launched internationally over the weekend, is set to showcase the destination to one billion people in over 600 million households in the next financial year on television commercials, print media and online.
It features the authentic experiences in South Africa of couples and friends from China, Brazil, Angola and Germany ÔÇô key core and emerging markets.
Minister van Schalkwyk said the recently-announced National Tourism Sector Strategy targets – which aim to increase the number of foreign tourist arrivals to 15 million, the number of domestic trips to 50-million, increase tourism’s contribution to the GDP from an estimated R189.4 billion in 2009 to R499 billion and aim to create 225 000 new tourism jobs by 2020 – was only possible through a collaborative effort by all tourism stakeholders.