SA Welcomes 52 Aussie Travel Agents

Event Africa Contributor 14/03/2018 Industry News

South Africa attracted more than 133 000 arrivals from Australasia last year, and to further tap into this important source market, South African Tourism is currently hosting 52 travel agents from the region on a mega-familiarisation trip that takes place in all nine provinces.

Made up of 50 Australian agents and two from New Zealand, this bumper MegaFam trip is the result of a fruitful partnership between South African Tourism, South African Airways and Flight Centre, Australasia’s largest retail travel agency.

Agents were given an attractive incentive: those who sold the most SAA flight tickets in September and October last year would earn a spot on the MegaFam trip to South Africa. Those who notched up the most sales booked their place on the trip and went on to complete the SA Specialist training course, equipping them with the knowledge to sell South Africa as a destination.

Now, staggered throughout the first three weeks of March, six groups of Australasian Flight Centre travel agents will be enjoying six different weeklong itineraries showcasing an array of attractions across the length and breadth of the country, says Sthembiso Dlamini, Chief Operating Officer of South African Tourism.

“We view Australasia as an international market with high growth potential, and would like Australians and New Zealanders to explore more of what South Africa has to offer when they come here on holiday or to visit friends and family.”

“That’s why we are excited about this opportunity to partner with and equip the Australasian travel trade to confidently sell South Africa as a value-for-money destination offering a wealth of diverse experiences. Through initiatives such as these familiarisation trips, we hope to make further inroads into achieving our 5-in-5 goal of attracting five million more tourists by 2021.”

She says that the itineraries were carefully tailored to showcase the country’s untouched wildlife, its reputation as an adventure playground, its buzzing city life, its inspiring and welcoming locals, its sun-soaked coastlines, its cultural richness and its breathtaking scenic beauty.

Each group of agents will travel to between two and four provinces, including the country’s less-frequented areas, to encourage the geographic spread of tourism, adds Dlamini. “Those visiting the areas affected by the water shortage will be able to experience first-hand the country’s #WaterWiseTourism drive in action and will see that South Africa remains very much open for tourism, with responsible tourism practices becoming entrenched as the “new normal”.

Furthermore, in this, the year marking the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth, the agents will have the opportunity to walk in Madiba’s footsteps, visiting some of the sites around South Africa where this global icon left his indelible mark.

Adds Dlamini: “We are also proud to be empowering the local people who are best equipped to highlight the attractions in our various provinces, by enlisting, wherever possible, the services of regional tour operators that are Lilizela Tourism Award winners and finalists, as well as exceptional small businesses.