The UK, Germany, France, The Netherlands and Belgium are the mainstays of European tourism to southern Africa.
South Africa’s five top European source markets are showing improving arrival statistics for the early part of 2016. When compared to the same period last year:
- German tourists are up 20 percent
- Dutch tourists have grown by 18.9 percent
- The UK reflects a 14.68 percent increase
- France shows a 12.97 percent rise
- Belgium shows a 7.73 percent hike.
A more optimistic travel trade is responding to the upturn with refreshed product and value-adds, endowing the southern African region with subtle, new enticements.
Sanctuary Retreats is one such tour operator. Having realised that short-notice offers are of little value to the European market, its key initiative for 2016 is a ‘stay longer, pay less’ pricing policy that affords guests savings of up to 40 percents.
Robert Dixon, Senior Marketing & Digital Manager, explains that client and travel partner feedback shows that, with guests booking a long way before departure, and tour operators producing brochures and online content far in advance, the last-minute, tactical deals are of little use. So for 2016 and 2017, ‘long-stay’ prices have been put in place.
Your Africa has responded to demand for more packages that include more southern African countries, with a greater focus on Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana. Says Suzanne Benadie, Sales & Marketing Director: “New group itineraries including Zimbabwe and Botswana have been introduced, as well as luxury train itineraries with extended stays in KwaZulu-Natal.” There is also a huge focus on responsible tourism in Your Africa’s current offerings.
Legend Lodges has observed a number of preferences emanating from the main European source markets. Leanings towards lesser-known destinations and adventure are just two. “We have ensured that we focus on all the different aspects that make our properties unique, such as the pristine locations that they are set in – with some even located in World Heritage Sites – while also placing more focus on the adventure experiences travellers can opt to do, such as the Extreme 19th hole [at Legend Golf & Safari Resort], hot-air ballooning, Segway safaris and Big Five bush walks,” comments Heloise van der Walt, Marketing Co-ordinator. Photography is another noticeably growing trend, says Van der Walt, and the group has begun packaging products highlighting photographic opportunities.
In the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, bordering the Kruger National Park, Simbavati Safari Lodges recently completed a multimillion-rand refurbishment of Simbavati River Lodge, in a quest to satisfy the ever-increasing demands of the competitive European markets.
Compiled by: Melissa Jane Cook. Source: Michelle Colman.