South African Tourism has brought several small and medium-sized travel businesses and DMCs to World Travel Market as it attempts to offer more diverse product to the travel trade.
SAT acting chief executive and chief operating officer Sthembiso Diamini said the move was part of a drive to showcase tourism opportunities beyond established options such as Cape Town, the Garden Route and Kruger National Park.
She said: “Our trade partners say they need new products but it’s not necessarily about creating new opportunities, it’s about communicating what we already have.
“We have 21 national parks but the focus is often just on Kruger. We have the offering there but perhaps people don’t know about it and the trade isn’t comfortable packaging it.”
She added: “We are overhauling our education programme for the trade, but also working out how we can get closer to the consumer so they know about the destination and are comfortable when they get to the point of booking.”
Diamini acknowledged South Africa was looking to bounce back from a tough year where uncertainty in the UK market was compounded by concerns over the country’s economy and reports of a major water shortage in Cape Town.
But she said she was confident that sufficient airlift was in place to encourage UK travellers to visit and understand the breadth of product and price points on offer.