Travel is More Than an Incentive

Event Africa Contributor 09/05/2019 Traveller News
Rovos Rail Travel Incentive Event Magazine

The business of incentive travel has a long and illustrious history, in South Africa and across the globe, but trends are showing that travel is more than just a reward for a job well done.

With a world economy in flux, South Africa is still feeling the pinch in terms of client budgets. Luckily, our incentive travel houses are resourceful, and can devise a creative and memorable itinerary for their guests. We’ve consulted with the experts and compiled a list of some of 2019’s biggest travel trends.

A Spin on the Classics

Cape Town and the Winelands still come out tops with regard to what international visitors want to see, with the Garden Route and other Western Cape gems also making the top 5. Other staples on a pre- or post-event itinerary are visits to the Kruger Park, Sun City, the Cradle of Humankind, and Durban’s Golden Mile. But generic whistle-stops on a travel checklist are passé, and travellers want to experience a destination the way a local does – including food, culture and nightlife.

The Tour Gods Have (Be)Spoken

The Rovos Rail is a luxury rail experience that caters for incentive groups, historical tours and private gatherings, and bespoke excursions are often arranged. Carole O’Connor of the Rovos Rail says that one to 10 day trips have been undertaken and there are many configurations combining the 42- or 72-bed train with other entertaining products. “We are happy to prompt clients with these options and construct exciting and practical itineraries to suit the available time and budget. You might choose two nights on the Pride of Africa with two or three nights in the Victoria Falls or the Okavango Delta, Mfuwe in the Luangwa Valley or elephant-back safaris in Hoedspruit. Other destinations include Swaziland to the east and the Madikwe Game Reserve to the west. Many golf-loving groups find that our nine-day Golf Safari or Collage take up too much of their time so we tailor shorter trips to accommodate this.”

Turning Inward

However, the frenetic call for all things adrenaline-related seems to have taken a quieter, more introspective turn. Mindfulness, wellness, and the desire for work-life balance have created a noticeable uptick in journeys relating to meditation, spirituality and true happiness. South Africa has an abundance of destinations that are designed to feed the soul – Buddhist temples, silent retreats and weeks-long yoga experiences are all on offer.

Righting Our Wrongs

Many tourist hotspots around the world are guilty of offering activities and excursions that have harmful and long-lasting negative impacts, such as irresponsible wildlife interaction, buying counterfeit goods, and riding roughshod over sensitive ecological areas. Green Route Africa is a company that is taking a stand, by contributing meaningfully to the re-greening of Africa, and to help educate and develop and empower the local communities that they work within. “We are a driving force of African eco-awareness and offer a wide variety of possibilities for our clients to tap into in order to truly make a difference. At both Dragonfly Africa and Green Route Africa, we are committed to embracing our environment, our communities and our wildlife as an essential part of our business ethic. This we do under the heading of our brand, Green Tribe. The emerging environmental crisis we face inspired our simple credo: “Green by Name; Green by Nature”. In our many inspiring destinations, spread across 10 African countries, we have become the guardians of a pristine, but often fragile and threatened, environment. The Green Tribe initiative, is a champion of and a driving force of behind African Eco-Awareness which offers our clients a wide variety of opportunities to tap into, so that they can truly make a difference when they plan meetings or incentives”, says Kerry Roos of Green Route Africa.

Luxury is Within Our Grasp

According to, passengers are booking business class and premium economy more often as both saw a growth of 62% and 46% respectively thanks to lower fares. It’s hard to achieve inner peace when your knees are squashed around your ears and your earphones don’t work, therefore it makes sense that individuals and companies are taking advantage of a reduction in fares and giving themselves and their guests a flight to remember.

More Than a Bed and a Bathroom

Data collected from accommodation booking providers shows that travellers are craving a change from the norm. While conventional hotel accommodation is still in high-demand amongst large corporate groups; small groups want to lay their heads in a place that offers more than a good night’s sleep and decent Wi-Fi. Think hotel rooms with panoramic windows showcasing the world’s most famous cityscapes, or lush vegetation and wild animals roaming free.

A Little Slice of Something New

Skyscanner confirms that micro-travel is on the rise. Corporate travellers and guests attending pre- and post-event tours are already well-versed in bite-sized trips, as the norm is around three days. It may not seem like a long-enough time to experience a new country, but it’s amazing how much can be squeezed into a micro-itinerary.

Take to the Seas

The Cruising Lines International Association (CLIA) has revealed some interesting insights into the cruise sector in 2019. The report claimed that 30 million passengers are expected to go on a cruise next year. This bodes well for the South Africa cruise ship sector, as an increased number of routes and destinations are being put on offer.

  • Cruise companies now offer total wellness offering to relieve stress. These are in the form of restorative spa experiences, healthy menu choices, and fitness equipment
  • Travellers are setting sights on destinations that were previously out of reach – some are accessible only by cruise, such as the Galapagos and Antarctica. Bucket lists have become more goal-oriented and cruise lines are aiming to meet these demands
  • Gen Z is set to be the largest consumer of travel in 2020 and they prefer experiences over material things. The appeal of multiple destinations and unique experiences are attracting this generation of experiential travellers
  • Off-peak season adventures are also rising in popularity. Cruise offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences even during colder months

Travel from your Couch

South African startup ‘Africam’ is a media company that live streams HD footage from waterholes from various locations in Africa. The free streams are aimed at connecting people from around the world to African wildlife and create an online community focused on education and conservation.

Described as a ‘sensory experience’, viewers can see and hear the Big 5 and many other animals in their natural habitat, live and unscripted. To bring this platform to life, Africam has a large community of camera operators from around the world who “move and zoom” the cameras and monitor the system.

They also have a real-time alert function that pushes alerts to email and social media. Each sighting is recorded and sighting photos are distributed via a Daily Email to their users. In addition to the live streams, they have an iOS app where we can send alerts based on user preference selection.

africam safari event africa

South African startup ‘Africam’ is a media company that live streams HD footage from waterholes from various locations in Africa.

This article was first published in Issue 2 of The Event