South African Minister of Tourism visits India, seeks to strengthen ties

Derek Hanekom, South African Minister of Tourism recently visited India between January 23 to 26. His visit came in the wake of India’s 69th Republic Day celebrations, as a part of the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa’s (Guest of Honour, Republic Day Celebrations) delegation visiting India.

Driven by the purpose of enhancing destination marketing support and diplomatic ties between both nations, the Minister met and interacted with key travel stakeholders, including trade partners. The Minister was accompanied by Sisa Ntshona, CEO, South African Tourism and Maropene L Ramokgopa, Consul General, South African Consulate.

Speaking of the existing relationship between India and South Africa, the Minister said, “We want 2019 to be the year of the great leapfrog for tourism from India. The growth in total spend and the average length of stay signifies that Indians travelling to South Africa are staying longer, exploring more and experiencing newer activities than ever before. This certainly is a positive indicator of the potential growth in the market and gives us the confidence to continue introducing new regions and experiences.”

During his stay in India, the Minister visited then ongoing B2B travel show, OTM 2019 at the Bombay Exhibition Centre. Organised every year by Fairfest Media, OTM is the leading travel show in Asia-Pacific. Minister graced OTM with his presence on the first day of the show, January 23 and took an extensive tour of the exhibition. He opined, “This is my first time at OTM and I’m utterly impressed with the quality of exhibits. I’m quite overwhelmed. I had a great experience at OTM 2019 and you are enticing us to want to be here ourselves. I would like to congratulate Team OTM. Really good job!”

India continues to be one of the top 10 source markets for South Africa and the total spend by Indian travellers in the country has seen a rise of 20% as of June 2018. Recently, the South African Tourism India office has also been elected as the Hub Office for the Middle East and South-East Asia regions, making the subcontinent a top draw for South African Tourism.

The minister will continue to seek key market insights in an effort to showcase South Africa’s diverse tourism opportunities to the Indian market.