From the CEO: Indaba 2013 highlights and trends

Heritage and culture, responsible tourism, technology, new markets and integrating the tourism products of Africa were the headline topics for Cape Town at INDABA 2013.

This year’s trade show attracted more than 13 000 visitors over the four-day period, and proved to be one of the most successful and connected INDABA trade shows yet.

The latest research by South African Tourism (SAT) revealed that visitors to South Africa are increasingly seeking a multi-layered heritage and cultural offering. Travellers come for the iconic tourism attractions, but they also want to connect with the captivating people and places that make South Africa an extraordinary and unique destination.

South Africa’s leisure offerings, culture, art, design and music all combine to tell South Africa’s story and to give better insight into its people. SAT and the National Department of Tourism collaborated on a stand at INDABA, showcasing the totality of heritage and culture in South Africa with an impressive Heritage and Culture Pavilion. The pavilion showcased the Moja Heritage Collection and focused on South Africa's eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Responsible Tourism (RT) was a central theme at the Cities at Indaba Conference, hosted by the City of Cape Town. At the heart of RT is a new generation of responsible travellers who are seeking real, meaningful and authentic experiences, and who are in tune with responsible lifestyle practices such as buying fair trade products and experiences, and supporting community tourism. At INDABA 2013, Cape Town Tourism and Fair Trade Tourism reported an increase in demand for sustainable tourism products.

Domestic tourism was another topic under discussion at INDABA 2013. Domestic travellers account for more than 70 percent of South Africa’s tourism volume, injecting R20-billion into the economy and substantially aiding the creation of jobs. It was reported that a growing number of South Africans took leisure trips within the borders last year.

Domestic tourism expenditure expanded to R101-billion in 2011, from R69-billion in 2010.

SAT will launch a number of tourism products aimed at entry markets and would-be travellers who earn less than R5 000 a month. In addition, SAT has demonstrated that business tourism generates more value than all other domestic categories in terms of average spend per trip, and will also be focusing on business tourism as a result.

The topic of accessibly to African markets and the expansion of African tourism products were key features during INDABA 2013. Africa remains a pillar of the South African tourism economy, and arrivals from the region have maintained solid growth of 8.5% over the past year.

Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk and SAT will roll out a global hub strategy created to effectively deliver the destination marketing message, with a specific focus on Africa. In the coming year, SAT will open fully-fledged offices in Brazil, Angola, Kenya and Nigeria. They will continue to expand marketing presence and partnerships with the trade in Uganda, Ghana and Tanzania, South Korea, Russia, Scandinavia and Shanghai in China.

China has become South Africa’s fourth-largest source market for tourism, overtaking France in 2012. The number of Chinese tourists to South Africa increased by 63.5% between January and September 2012.

Cape Town Tourism predicts a significant increase in visitors from China due to a number of factors, including meetings with a number of Chinese trade and operators at INDABA 2013; however, it is important for the industry to understand the unique nature and needs of new markets like China before embarking on expensive marketing campaigns, and this was raised with insights and practical tips shared by SAT.

Find the full report here.

Mariette du Toit-Helmbold
Cape Town Tourism CEO

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