South Africa Tourism flags-off 2019 with 16th Annual Roadshow in India

The 16th edition of South Africa Tourism Annual Roadshow came to a close this February after a successful run. Hosted in four major Indian cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata, the roadshow was attended by over 1,300 Indian travel agents as they interacted with a plethora of key hospitality service providers, DMCs, airlines, tourism associations and activity partners from South Africa.

The India roadshow is a long-going tradition, bringing together Indian trade partners with South African services and suppliers for over a decade. Speaking of the relationship between both nations, Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head, MIESEA said, “Our Annual Roadshow is a reflection of what South African Tourism currently stands for in India and what it aspires to be in the future. It is a testament to our commitment to grow and diversify this market.” She further divulged her plans of engaging with more Indian destinations outside Mumbai, focussing on the prospective markets of Gujarat and Chennai.

The Indian outbound tourism market continues to be one of the top 10 source markets for South Africa with 86,405 arrivals as of November 2018. This, coupled with a 20% increase in spending by Indian travellers has given South African Tourism a target of surpassing as many as 100,000 Indian travellers in 2019.

In an exclusive interview, Ms Nkani talked of greater plans of diversifying South African tourism attractions. She said, “Outside of conventional tourism, we’re going to engage with wedding planners and take them to South Africa and the wedding media. For the Film Industry, we’re going to have round tables with top producers.”

She also insisted on the unmatched appeal of the country as a romantic destination, adding, “We’re quite top of mind as a wedding destination. Romance, you can’t ask for more. There’s nobody who can beat us when it comes to what we can offer in romance. You take wine, you take scenery, you take food, you take scenic beauty, you take the adventure, it’s a love story made in heaven. But heaven is SA.”

The South African Consulate General in Mumbai was also present at the roadshow, providing support to the efforts at improving the inter-country relationship between the two nations. Ms M L Ramokgopa, Head of Mission said, “A part of our agenda is to increase people to people relation. People to people relation not only in doing business but also normal people should be able to meet and know each other. The youth, the women. People who’re working, people who’re not working. We’re looking at all sectors. We want to attract all sectors so that we could be able to meet our agenda that has been set by our principles.”

In a bid to improve travel relations between the countries, South African Tourism has joined hands with Consulate General of South Africa in Mumbai to introduce changes in the visa procedure. In a personal interview with Travel New Digest, Ms M L Ramokgopa, Head of Mission, South Africa Consulate General Mumbai, India said, “We’re increasing the amount of time that the Indian tourist can stay in South Africa. Before we used to give a visa only for 13 days or 15 days based on what you qualify for. But, a new agreement that we have with our contact person is that we should issue long term visas. So, people don’t always have to come over and over again to our office. We give a five years visa, a person can go to SA for the next five years. It’ll decrease the number of people that actually apply for visas on a daily basis.”

Ms Ramokgopa also elaborated that the relationship between India and South Africa is not limited to travel and tourism. Visiting universities to address the youth about what South Africa has on offer is also a part of establishing diplomatic ties.

The four-city roadshow followed the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa’s visit to India as a Guest of Honour at the Republic Day celebrations.