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South African Tourism has revealed plans for a “significant” increase in fam trip places for 2016 plus a new call to action on its website directing consumers to book through agents who have completed its specialist training course.
The tourist board’s redeveloped website, due to go live by the end of November, will include a postcode finder directing consumers towards their nearest travel agent who is a qualified South Africa specialist. The more modules the agent has completed, the higher their weighting will be in the results.
UK & Ireland country manager Tolene van der Merwe said: “We want to make sure that we are improving on our research-to-booking process, so the way to do that is to have a call to action for the trade on everything we do. It’s to help the trade see the return on investment of their time in taking the training, and it also increases our visitor numbers.
“We are working to inspire people to come to South Africa, but then the trade needs to close the deal for us. The trade is so important to us – they’re the reason the UK is the only core European market that was up this year.”
More than 401,000 visitors travelled to South Africa from the UK in 2014, and the figures for the first seven months of 2015 revealed a 0.5% rise in overall visitor numbers, including a 17% jump in year-on-year figures for July.
Van der Merwe added a rise in the number of people taking advantage of indirect flights – especially with new Turkish Airlines services via Istanbul – and the favourable exchange rate with the pound had seen a growth in the number of younger travellers.
She said: “Value for money will be a key message in our next campaign – with people flying indirectly, the fares are cheaper so it’s becoming a much more affordable destination.
“We have got our original, more mature market, but there has also been a shift towards that 25 to 40-year-old, ex-backpacker traveller who’s looking for incredible food and wine, arts and fashion.”
South African Tourism will be holding a roadshow for agents in London, Manchester and Glasgow early next year, and will be increasing the number of fam trip spots “significantly”.
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