Building its post-pandemic market recovery from India
South Africa Tourism is eyeing at least 30,000 Indian tourist by the end of the year, a number Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head – India, Middle East and South East Asia, South Africa Tourism, is confident the NTO can deliver for the destination. According to Nkani, South Africa has already issued over 7000 Visas to Indian travellers between January and March this year. And with aggressive market activation programmes, the 360-degree direct-to-consumer ‘More & More’ marketing campaign, initiatives like e-Visa, and above all, country’s diverse bouquet of tourism products and attraction as well as value-for-money tourism proposition, South Africa Tourism is, insists Nkani, well on way to recover its market share from India sooner than later.
As early as March the NTO was eyeing SATTE 2022 to start a high impact connect with the Indian market. However as SATTE 2022 got rescheduled to the second half of May, South Africa Tourism embarked on a four-city road show in March, becoming the first NTO in India to conduct its annual India road show, a move aimed at accelerating the tourism board’s market recovery effort in India. Around 20 South African suppliers participated in the road show followed by some 35 suppliers who were attending SATTE last month in Delhi.
Tourism is not only about visiting and exploring places but also interacting and meeting people face to face and there came a time when, according to Nelisswa, her colleagues pointed that people have had enough of online presentations and webinars. And that’s when, backed by her confidence in the Indian market and the way it had responded by continuing to keep South Africa in its holiday itineraries even during the pandemic, SAT decided to visit India for face to face meeting and road shows, post pandemic their first major physical event outside of the country that was aimed at source market development efforts.
“My colleagues were saying that if we do one more zoom call, one more webinar, etc. people are just going to switch off and so we decided to come to India. I said to theme in March, while the country was closed, that we are going to India with or without restrictions. Because India has been the only country that has been coming consistently in our country during Covid, literally. In fact if you think about it, last year we had just under 18,000 arrivals from India. Of course we had better number planned, nevertheless, Indians came.”
Nkani also pointed that the NTO is even receiving enquiries for some very large MICE groups from India, some as large as up to 4000 pax!