Durban - The strategy of South African National Parks (SANparks) to attract "black diamonds" to its parks, including the Kruger and the Addo Elephant National Park, procured it 17% more black visitors in the past financial year.
This is evident from a presentation by the SANparks head of tourism and marketing, Glen Phillips, at the annual Tourism Indaba in Durban.
Black day visitors have more than doubled to 669 548, and those staying overnight increased by more than 3 000 to 36 537.
Almost a quarter of all South African visitors to the parks are black.
Phillips said the organisation spends about 70% of its domestic marketing budget on messages targeted at this market.
SANparks also hopes that its fresh attempts to promote its conference facilities will lead in particular to black people in the public service visiting the parks for conferences, and subsequently returning to them for their own pleasure.
As a whole, SANparks exceeded its own expectations in the financial year, breasting the economic crisis.
Its tourism revenue increased by almost R50m to R350m and its income from conservation levies also showed a healthy rise.
The occupancy rate at SANparks’ units was 73.3%, with some 4.5m visitors entering the parks.
Most (77.6%) of these were South Africans and less than a third of the visitors stayed overnight.
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