South African Tourism hosted three fam trips to KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape last month, allowing forty agents to experience the best South Africa has to offer.

According to South African Tourism trade relations manager Matthew Armstrong, they are the three big provinces.

“There’s no point taking agents to the Free State and Northern Cape when they don’t really understand the context of South Africa,” he said.

“Part of our mandate is to encourage people to go all over the country and with a group of this size we wanted to visit as many places as possible.”

The aim of the trip was to educate agents to help SAT achieve its target of more than half a million visitors this year, compared with 488,000 last year.

“Key to our strategy is educating agents so they can turn awareness of South Africa into sales. A lot of people think about visiting but never end up going and I think that’s because of a derth of knowledge and information.”

If the fam proves successful in terms of bookings, Armstrong hopes to run the trip again next year, adding more groups and visiting other provinces.

 

Travel agent reactions

Susan Cowe, consultant, Wexas Travel, London“To see elephants, hippos, buffalo and leopards close up took my breath away. The safari exceeded my expectations. The staff at Lion Sands were superb.”
Susan Cowe, consultant, Wexas Travel, London

 

Gordon Lawrence, manager, Gazelle Travel, Newcastle upon Tyne“The leg room on the Nationwide flight was excellent. Service-wise, economy class felt more like business class as they serve each course individually.”
Gordon Lawrence, manager, Gazelle Travel, Newcastle upon Tyne

Danielle Shead, assistant manager, Tappers Travel, Devon“Clients should visit the townships to see how some South African people live. I also recommend a Harley-Davidson ride – the best way to get to the hotel.”
Danielle Shead, assistant manager, Tappers Travel, Devon

 

Diana Botham, consultant, Gold Medal, Preston“We went to Cape Town and the winelands where there are beaches, wine tasting, penguins, and whale watching. Everything is very accessible.”
Diana Botham, consultant, Gold Medal, Preston
Wendy Crofts, consultant, Bath Travel, Midhurst“The highlight was the visit to the Drakensburg Mountains, where we did a helicopter flight, which was superb. I would definitely advise clients to do this.”
Wendy Crofts, consultant, Bath Travel, Midhurst
Diane Hammond, manager, Harvey World Travel, Stafford“Having visited Durban, it’s going to be easy to sell from now on. The game reserves and beaches are all nearby so you can create a full itinerary.”
Diane Hammond, manager, Harvey World Travel, Stafford

 

South Africa fam highs and lows

Mpumalanga

Highs

  • Staying at Lion Sands game reserve, Sabi Sands.
  • Seeing the big five on safari.
  • Awesome scenery in Mpumalanga and Drakensburg.
  • Incredible food.
  • Quad biking and river rafting.

Lows

  • Lengthy immigration process due to strikes.
  • Constitutional Hill being closed due to national strikes.
  • Street sellers who don’t take no for an answer.

Cape Town

Highs

  • Harley-Davidson ride from Spier to Franschhoek.
  • South African penguins, wildebeests, zebra, ostriches and kudus.
  • The Grootbos Nature Reserve.

Lows

  • Winter weather meant part of our itinerary had to be cancelled.
  • Would have liked to have had more time to visit Robben Island.

KwaZulu-natal

Highs

  • Helicopter flight.
  • Sipping champagne in the Drakensberg mountains.
  • Breathtaking scenery.
  • Quad biking and horse riding.

Lows

  • Inadequate clothing for cold weather in the mountains.
  • Apartheid museum closed due to strikes.