A place where city living meets intriguing wildlife, South Africa is realising its true tourism potential. Natalie Hami reports.
An adventure in South Africa can take many forms, and whether you’re visiting one of its vibrant cities, embarking on a breath-taking safari or exploring the Garden Route, it’s safe to say the destination is more than equipped to satisfy any travel craving.
Boasting a fool-proof portfolio, the rainbow nation’s tourism stakeholders are keen on creating an easily accessible tourism product for visitors who have their hearts set on exploring this rugged land. With that in mind, the South African Department of Home Affairs recently introduced e-visas for tourists, allowing them to apply and pay online, and then receive their documents via email.
General manager, international sales & marketing, Hertz and Firefly South Africa, Hans Manke explained to TTG that the car rentals company will be capitalising on the brand-new initiative. “More foreign tourists to South Africa will ultimately generate more car rentals and more revenue for both the public and government,” Manke said.
Next on the agenda of South Africa’s tourism stakeholders is the family tourism segment, which is set to receive a sizeable boost, following a recent move by the Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, who announced that foreign children will be able to enter and depart the country without having to provide birth certificates, consent letters and other supporting documents.
In the wake of the fruitful new initiative, TTG spoke with a number of major industry players, all of whom are eager to welcome families to their properties.
Sales and marketing director, Fancourt Hotel, Peter Dros told TTG: “We see the relaxation of the requirement for families with minors as an opportunity to re-position South Africa, the Garden Route and indeed Fancourt as a preferred family holiday destination.”
Dros explained that the five-star luxury hotel is an ideal option for families, offering privacy and a safe haven for them to spend time together in a beautiful setting. “While mum enjoys a spa day and dad plays a round of golf, children are well catered for at our clubs for kids and teens.”
Meanwhile, One&Only Cape Town is also keenly eyeing the family segment. The hotel’s director sales & marketing, Debra Algie said: “Families can enjoy group activities such as visiting the famous Clifton beaches, seeing penguins on Boulders Beach and visiting the Aquarium.”
Keen to keep little ones entertained at all times, One&Only Cape Town offers KidsOnly, a kids’ club with a focus on educational, recreational and social experiences for children. Each day introduces different activities, all of which are fully supervised by highly trained, multilingual staff. The impressive 100m2 clubhouse is filled with state-of-the-art gadgets in the arts and crafts area and boasts a high-tech movie and games lounge, plus much more.
Even fussy teens are spoilt for choice with a programme of activities, which includes surfing lessons, indoor rock climbing, tailored spa treatments and much more.
Tourvest DMC has also welcomed the decision to relax travel requirements for families, according its sales director, Suzanne Benadie, who told TTG that the company has been actively promoting its family friendly properties and self-drive packages, which highlight excursions and activities appropriate for children. “We also offer branded kiddies backpacks with activities and products designed to keep children occupied,” she said.
As South Africa’s inviting tourism product continues to attract visitors to its shores, the destination’s travel and tourism stakeholders are ever eager to further entice the MENA region.
Business manager – Europe, UK, GCC & CIS, Wilderness Safaris, Roberto Viviani highlighted how the luxury tour operator is establishing relationships with the local trade in the region. “We are going to be present at the T-fest in Dubai in February and then ATM and ILTM Arabia in April,” he shared.
Dros of Fancourt Hotel revealed that business from the Middle East has grown over the last year due to the property delivering ‘exclusivity, privacy and value’ – key requirements of this discerning market.
In addition, Benadie of Tourvest DMC noted that the company has always maintained a focus on markets such as the Middle East and North Africa, having formed partnerships with tour operators in Egypt, Lebanon and the UAE.
“Having an in-depth knowledge of the various requirements of this market is essential to doing business. Providing Halal meals and understanding cultural requirements and multi-generational family travel is vital to providing the services that travellers need,” she concluded.