Optimising Cape Town's destination awareness – The Vibe from Abroad

Now that normal services have resumed in Cape Town in the wake of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, what marketing tactics and resources are needed here in the UK to take advantage of the huge destination awareness that the Mother City is enjoying?

Before rushing headlong into the arms of the nearest media buying company, it may be worth pausing to consider some information on an important trend first reported in 2009: a sharp increase in the number of families going on holiday in the UK. The (in my opinion) awful word “staycation” was widely used and abused – and won’t be repeated again here – as a clumsy attempt to label this phenomenon. The domestic tourism market is delighted and, amongst all the doom and gloom, is one of the few industries to report positive growth; but that doesn’t help you.

What is behind this trend? Is it simply that the cost of travel, both long and short haul, is now too high? Or is it a matter of perception – of not only the cost, but also the value and the hassle of getting somewhere when you know that millions of others, particularly during the summer holidays, will be doing just the same? I wrote in this blog in January about the challenges of international travel, and sometimes it seems that only the most determined of people can get anywhere. Yet surely this presents an opportunity?

Some key statistics to be aware of:

  • Britons made 58.6-million visits abroad last year, down 10.4-million from 2008. Spending overseas by families and businessmen fell by £5.1-billion to £31.7-billion.
  • Britons went on 10-million fewer trips abroad last year, as the recession hit foreign exchange rates.
  • Families and businesses saved £5.1-billion by cutting 15% of foreign visits, the biggest annual fall since the 1970s. For many, the deciding factor was the fall in the value of the British pound against the euro and the US dollar.
  • Visitors to the country’s most popular foreign destination, Spain, fell by 2.2-million to about 11.5-million, and to France, down 1.1-million to 9.8-million last year. Trips to Spain have been falling steadily since 2006 and separate research from Co-operative Travel predicts that Mediterranean resorts will no longer top the destination league list by the end of 2011. It believes that they will be overtaken by those in the ‘Mett’ – including Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey.
  • Trips to the US slumped by 20% (820 000) to 3.2-million last year. Those who did go overseas found the prices of meals, car hire and suntan lotion to be so high that they reduced their spending accordingly.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that Egypt and Jamaica both posted a 13% increase in British visitors last year. There was also a rise in trips to some other Caribbean islands and Sri Lanka.

In light of this information, the message to the UK market sectors must surely be about affordability and value for money (not the same as budget) and to compare the cost of travelling to other long-haul destinations – such as Australia, Brazil, USA, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Caribbean – to that of a a trip to South Africa (which can be more affordable).

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