Loading...

SA tourism 'did something right' - CEO

May 12 2014 19:00
Carin Smith
Cape Town – The South African tourism industry must have done something right, because it continues to grow, Thulani Nzima, CEO of SA Tourism (SAT), told Fin24.

He credits the country’s ability to diversify its tourism offering to include experiences relating to heritage, culture, lifestyle and even wine tourism.

“People are now traveling to find authentic tourism experiences. South Africans are warm and friendly people and tourists find it easy to talk to them,” said Nzima.

“In the past tourists came to our townships and sat in a bus. Today they immerse themselves in the environment and want to go where locals are going.”

He also credits SAT’s aggressive, creative and holistic marketing approach for the industry’s success.

“SA also benefited from the legacy of the Soccer World Cup exposure, which was far beyond any marketing money we could have paid,” said Nzima.

“On top of that SA offers value for money beyond the impact of mere currency fluctuations.  Tourists always feel it was worth the money they had to spend.”

Challenges

At the same time the weaker rand brings a challenge for SAT, because its marketing money is spent in stronger currencies. In this way it has, for instance, lost 25% of its marketing budget in terms of pounds.

Another challenge for the SA tourism industry is not to get caught up in what Nzima refers to as “clutter”.

 “South Africa must stand for something specific in the mind of the customer, the tourist. For instance,  safari destination. In the different markets we operate in SAT has targeted its messages,” said Nzima.

Opportunities

To him it is important for South Africans also to travel in their own country and enjoy the benefits the tourism industry brings.

“The culture of tourism in SA is at a low level. Domestic tourism is 72% of our tourism industry, while it is 89% in China,” he said.

“We need South Africans to travel, because during hard times you can rely on your local tourism market. It adds to job creation and the economy.”

Another opportunity SAT is exploring is tourism attractions inspired by the life of Nelson Mandela.

“We want to create a form of pilgrimage around it and have a list of 18 different Madiba-tourist attractions,” said Nzima.

 - Fin24

Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.

NEXT ON FIN24X

 
 
 

Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
28 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
 

Company Snapshot

We're talking about: MINI BUDGET

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has laid bare South Africa's economic woes. Visit our Mini Budget Special for all the action.
 

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

Free education in South Africa is:

Previous results · Suggest a vote

Loading...