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:
A. Assessment Summary:
1. China is a challenging market as it’s a long-haul destination and air travel is reasonable expensive
2. Most buyers interested in Africa, and more specifically South Africa, are still testing the market. Language is obviously a major barrier.
3. 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
4. Most buyers require confirmation of the product/s offered as many have not been to South Africa
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Group bookings, corporate incentives, conferences and business travel are largely the norm.
B. Issues Arising
1. 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.
3. 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.
4. It’s a special needs market and consideration must be given to food & beverage preferences and other specific needs.
C. Plus factors for incoming Chinese tourists to the Southern Cape region:
1. Wide variety of quality accommodation options at affordable rates
2. Diverse culinary options and a wide variety of restaurants
3. Totally unique experience with mountains, forests, ocean, lakes, rivers and Karoo environment
4. Most adventure/leisure activities in the world
5. Most temperate climate in Africa and malaria free
6. Safe, clean and friendly environment with good infrastructure
7. 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.