A research presentation released today by South African Tourism at this year’s INDABA 2011 trade show in Durban, South Africa, reiterated the growing importance of African markets to drive future tourism growth, and outlined key strategies to ensure the continent’s tourism potential remains key on the country’s tourism agenda.
SA Tourism’s Regional Director, Africa, Phumi Dhlomo, gave a compelling rundown of the strategy, resources and budgets which will ensure South African Tourism does not simply pay lip-service to African prospects, but backs it up with achievable targets and resources which will see measurable results in tourist arrivals to South Africa from the African continent.
With the Africa region maintaining strong growth of 10 percent in arrivals to South Africa over the last seven years, the intense focus on Africa’s potential has been mandated as a priority in the National Department of Tourism’s National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS).
“South African Tourism’s commitment into fully developing the African market is backed by a more than R60 million investment in marketing efforts on the continent,” said Dhlomo. “Our most recent research has given us a key indication of areas that require strategic shifts in mindsets in the approach to attracting African travelers and we look forward to leading industry efforts in ensuring we take full advantage of the huge potential on our doorstep.”
The tourism ministry’s research presentation encompassed an overview of the organization’s growth strategy across four key markets, namely Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya and Nigeria. Key aspects of the presentation show the attractiveness of each market in terms of volume, spend and market potential, including insight into consumer travel behaviors. The ability of each market to act as launch pads to develop regional hubs is also further explored, with Kenya and Nigeria proving significant potential to centralized tourism functions within East and West Africa respectively.
Nigeria remains the leading African market in terms of developmental characteristics. Its large population, characterized by high economic growth has demonstrated consistent growth of 7.8 percent in arrivals over the past three years.
“Each country within our focus over the next few years has its own unique nuances and opportunities,” continued Dhlomo. “Perhaps the most significant conclusion we have reached with our report is that Africa still represents a holistic untapped potential, and that our current arrivals figures stand to grow exponentially as the African travel market emerges from purely purpose-based travel into a true leisure-drive tourism market.
“Going forward, a phased approach is required, using the market insights gained in the report together with a strategic look at the unique consumer demands, media channels and tactical opportunities which exist to fully develop our offering to the African traveler.”
As part of the research conducted, much work was completed with regards to identifying high growth consumer groups within each market. This direction will allow marketing activities within each region to have maximum effect on consumers, with minimal resource wastage and higher conversion. In addition, the report outlines consumer groups to maintain or defend, as well as messages, channels and product offerings required per market to deliver on growth potential.
SA Tourism has already shown their commitment to growing the African markets through extensive groundwork over the last few years with the opening of an Angolan office as well as a permanent placement of a trade relations manager in Angola in April this year. A fully fledged Nigerian office planned within over the next few years.
“With the projected increase in focus on our Africa air markets, we will continue increasing our efforts in Africa land markets, maximizing our efforts to ensure that the South African offering remains entrenched in countries such as Botswana and Mozambique. Holistically, the value that Africa brings to the South African economy goes far beyond tourism and has major benefits for other sectors such as manufacturing, trade and investment and therefore we need to look at inclusive strategies across the region. In turn, our commitment to Africa is further demonstrated in the job creation opportunities made available with the extension of the South African Tourism footprint across Africa. We are proud to be a part of Africa’s continued growth and we look forward to driving mutually beneficial successes going forward,” concluded Dhlomo.