Indaba 2010: South Africa targets 5% growth despite budget cut

South Africa Tourism (SAT) is hoping for a 5% growth in UK visitor numbers, despite its budget being cut by about 10%.

SAT UK trade relations manager Matt Armstrong said about 497,000 Brits visited the country last year, a 1% increase on 2008 largely driven by the Lions tour which attracted up to 30,000 UK rugby fans.

While he admits the World Cup will put off some tourists who would have otherwise visited the country, the tournament will attract at least 25,000 football fans from the UK.

Although the budget has been cut by 10% for the financial year which began in April, he believes wise spending of the trade budget as well as the world cup will help drive visitor numbers.

Initiatives already planned include educational trips and a road show which will take place before World Travel Market, while a second road show is under consideration.

Armstrong added the tourist board will also repeat its Ubuntu marketing award in conjunction with Travel Weekly.

The award will be launched in July with both agents and operators invited to submit plans as to how they would best market the country.

The winner, who will be announced at World Travel Market, would then be given a budget of £25,000 to carry out the plan.

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