SA Increases Marketing Efforts at ITB Berlin 2018

Event Africa Contributor 14/03/2018 Industry Events
ITB Berlin

Forty South African exhibitors and a high-level South African delegation led South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer Sisa Ntshona served up an enticing taste of South Africa’s vast tourism offering at ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel trade show.

Taking place from 7 to 12 March 2018 at the Messe Berlin in Germany, ITB Berlin saw about 10 000 exhibitors from more than 180 countries showcasing their products and services to the world’s most influential travel buyers and trade visitors. The exhibition attracts more than 160 000 visitors in total every year.

The South African tourism businesses on proud display in Berlin include tour operators, airlines, hotels, game reserves, lodges and provincial and city tourism authorities. Significantly, among them will be small tourism businesses from some of the nine provinces in South Africa, whose presence at ITB is being subsidized by the South African government to give them preferential access to the international market.

Said Ntshona: “We want to show the world that South Africa’s tourism industry remains very much open for business. As the global debate on over-tourism takes centre stage at ITB 2018, we’ll be seizing this chance to show how challenges such as water shortage present South Africa with the unprecedented opportunity to become a flag bearer for a responsible, inclusive and flourishing tourism industry.”

Ntshona explained that many tourism businesses in South Africa, including major hotel groups, were pioneering innovative methods to conserve and recycle water. This, coupled with South African Tourism’s long-standing focus on promoting tourism in the less-visited provinces, encouraging travel during off-peak months and boosting small black-owned tourism enterprises, means that South Africa is living the mantra of sustainable tourism development.

“We plan to use the highly visible platform of ITB to continue showcasing South Africa as a desirable, value-for-money travel destination with an appealing diversity of tourism experiences,” Ntshona said. “Europe is pivotal to our strategy to attract five million additional international and domestic tourists in five years, by 2021. In fact, Germany is one of our top source market in Europe. Between January and December last year, 350 000 Germans – 12% more than the previous year – travelled to South Africa.

“Tourism is such a powerful catalyst for job creation, inclusive economic growth and meaningful empowerment and therefore we are extremely serious about retaining and increasing the strong foothold we have in Europe and across the world. We are eager to address and dispel any negative sentiments there may be around the water situation in Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape. Tourism activities around the country are still in full swing, but the only difference is we have to all embrace the ‘new normal’ that comes with climate change.

“Also, in the year marking the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth, we will be commemorating his life and legacy at ITB by encouraging people to come and walk in Madiba’s footsteps. Through special deals and holiday packages, tourists can visit some of the sites across the country that shaped this global icon’s life. By downloading the ‘Madiba’s Journey’ app featuring more than 100 tourist attractions, pilgrims can personalise Tata’s journey and make it their own.”