Indian tourists are opting for volunteering activities during their holidays in South Africa

                                                                                           Hanneli Slabber, Country Manager, South African Tourism India

How important is India as a source market for South Africa? Where does it stand?

The importance of India as a source market for South Africa cannot be emphasized enough as India is an emerging travel market with massive growth potential. India’s economic growth is also expected to continue over the next 40 years and by 2050, India is expected to be among the top-three global economies. Cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad are mature markets for us. But we are witnessing good arrival figures from cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune and Kolkata as well.

We are currently training more than 1000 Indian travel agents and tour operators to enable them to sell South Africa better in the Indian market. South African Tourism is intensifying their marketing efforts and investment in the Indian operations through road shows and various other consumer campaigns every year. India is not only a source market in South Africa, but also an emerging travel market with massive growth potential. India will continue to be our priority market in the coming years.
How do you see the Indian travellers evolving? Where do they stand compared to other Asian tourists?

We have certainly seen a great change in travel patterns and consumer preference in the last few years. We get three generation travel from India as South Africa has something to offer to every member in the family across age brackets. Interestingly, we have also seen a lot of same sex travellers, i.e. all boys group, women travellers choosing South Africa as their preferred holiday destination. 
         
Over the years, South Africa has developed over sixty thousand registered tourism products and within that product offering, every budget and niche are catered for. Therefore, we are able to cater to the varied budgets of travellers across the segments. The travel patterns and consumer preferences are changing so rapidly as a result of which we have constantly diversified our products, maintained excellent service standards and invested in innovative marketing and distribution channels to meet traveler expectations.

The Indian traveler’s mindset has definitely evolved drastically over the years. Indian travellers are now looking for uniqueness in every holiday. We have witnessed several new trends amongst Indian travellers, one of them being a never-seen-before growth in the uptake of adventure activities and that’s too high adrenaline adventure are becoming more popular. Both Indian men and women travellers are bungee jumping, shark cage diving, crocodile cage diving, sky diving and also opting for other marine and outdoor adventures across South Arica.

What has also caught the interest of Indian travellers in recent times is an interesting concept called “Voluntourism” wherein,   Indian tourists are opting for volunteering activities during their holidays in South Africa. The little penguins seem to have marched straight into the hearts of Indian travelers as many of them volunteer their services to the various penguin conservation agencies. In addition, we have also seen Indians taking up animal rescue and rehabilitation work with various private game reserves across South Africa. This is especially gaining popularity amongst the youth travellers to South Africa.

Apart from being a sought after honeymoon destination, South Africa is gaining popularity for all women group trips as well. The numbers of all women groups on holiday to South Africa had been on a growth trajectory for some time now. Indian women are not only traveling to SA for wildlife, vineyards and shopping; but also for nightlife, adventure and self-drive holidays.


What potential does South Africa has as a MICE destination for Indian corporates?

In the past few years, we have seen a steady growth in MICE from India. Many Indian corporate houses and businesses are choosing South Africa as their preferred MICE destination because it offers great value for money. The fact that South Africa has already secured over 200 international conferences, which is estimated to attract 300 000 delegates and provide an economic boost of more than R1.6 billion over the next five years, reiterates the growing popularity of the country as a preferred MICE destination. As per 2013 ICCA ranking, South Africa is now the number one convention destination in Africa and Middle East and is ranked number 34 on global rankings. Also Durban and Cape Town – are placed in the Top 100 cities in the world for business events. The destination boasts a 40% return of all delegates as leisure tourists with 43% of all delegates bringing an accompanying traveller. The diversity of the nation, world class conference venues, warm hospitality and ability to customize, create a conducive atmosphere, ability to host any MICE activity with success coupled with beautiful cities, game reserves, vibrant nightlife and enough scope for adventure sports has facilitated the growth of MICE travellers to South Africa.
Every region brings its own unique cultural character and exclusive attractions to meetings and events. There are more than 1700 conference venues in South Africa, with International Convention Centers located in Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town and East London. Also, over the years MICE travel has become a multi-faceted industry in South Africa, which has seen a move away from the confines of the expansive metropolitan areas to newer regions like Limpopo province, Garden Route and Cape Winelands amongst others.

What is the significance of Bollywood in influencing Indian travellers to South Africa? What are the facilities available for Indian film industry for shooting in South Africa?

In India we have noticed that Bollywood influences the Indian traveller’s decision while selecting a holiday destination.  Films are a mass culture in India and help reach out to a wider audience and expand the target group – family, honeymoon and MICE segment.  Therefore partnering with Hindi Films production houses increase our chance of attracting more tourists.

From a location perspective, South Africa promises the best of everything: beaches, beautiful mountains, scenic landscapes, wildlife and adventure, luxury experiences and vibrant city life. Today, film makers are looking at Cape Town and also exploring hitherto unknown yet fascinating locations in South Africa.

Bollywood filmmakers are increasingly recognising South Africa’s value as a high-quality production site for their movies. Currently, we are extending support and assistance to increasing number of Bollywood producers as and when we receive requests from them. Going forward, we would definitely like to attract more and more Bollywood producers to our country. In order to do so, we are already in the process of identifying their requirements to be able to enhance our offerings and facilitate greater support and value added.


South Africa offers Bollywood filmmakers a value for money and high-quality production site for their movies. We extend our support to various grounds ranging from tax rebates, availability of best quality technical support, no language barriers, easy shooting permissions, to splendid combination of professionalism combined with a dash of African warmth and hospitality. Taking these factors under consideration has made South Africa a popular shooting destination for many production houses. We have also realized the power of networking that exists in the Hindi film industry, having been impressed by South Africa’s hospitality and professional support while shooting many producers have suggested the country to their friends and other producers who in turn are now approaching us. 


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