Andre’ Gauche of Myoli Beach Lodge in Sedgefield recently attended the IBTM CHINA EXPO – 23 & 24 AUGUST, 2017 in Beijing as an exhibitor along with Sun International, The City of Tswane, The South African National Convention Bureau, Northern Cape Tourism Authority and the Durban Convention Centre .
Andre’ was part of an incentive programme organised by SA Tourism to promote incentives, business travel and general tourism packages for the Chinese market.
Andre’ summarised his experience as follows:
- China is a challenging market as it’s a long-haul destination and air travel is reasonable expensive
- Most buyers interested in Africa, and more specifically South Africa, are still testing the market. Language is obviously a major barrier.
- An important component of the expo is the quality of the follow-up with the various buyers that did show an interest in the South African experience
- Most buyers require confirmation of the product/s offered as many have not been to South Africa
- It is evident that long term business relationships are important in this market. This can only realistically be achieved over a period of time with pro-active participation from both parties.
- Undoubtedly the Chinese market offers massive potential for incoming tourists to South Africa but a stable base needs to be established where sectors of the market are geared to receive and effectively accommodate these tourists. Sun City is a case in point where Sun International pro-actively promotes to and makes provision to accommodate this market. The Chinese market also has no shortage of well-heeled travellers who primarily aim for 4 star + accommodation establishments.
- Group bookings, corporate incentives, conferences and business travel are largely the norm.
- Security. There are certain concerns over visitor security to South Africa. There is obviously considerable negative press regarding crime and personal safety issues.
2. Logistics. Flight programmes, distances and locations. Ideally a China based tour organiser/operator with knowledge of the South African market needs to work in conjunction with local operators or organisers. They need to know up-front exactly where they are going, where they are staying, what they are doing and at what cost.
- Language and cultural barriers. There is a definite requirement for a Chinese-speaking interpreter/guide to either accompany Chinese groups or must be made available locally.
- It’s a special needs market and consideration must be given to food & beverage preferences and other specific needs.
Plus factors for incoming Chinese tourists to the Southern Cape region:
- Wide variety of quality accommodation options at affordable rates
- Diverse culinary options and a wide variety of restaurants
- Totally unique experience with mountains, forests, ocean, lakes, rivers and Karoo environment
- Most adventure/leisure activities in the world
- Most temperate climate in Africa and malaria free
- Safe, clean and friendly environment with good infrastructure
- Close proximity to Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Addo National Park etc
Andre’ owns www.southcapetourism.com – a free internet portal established in 2010 to promote and market accredited accommodation establishments and adventure/leisure operators in the Southern Cape region. He also owns Myoli Beach Lodge in Sedgefield www.myolibeach.co.za
For further information Andre’ can be contacted on 082 4400200.