Encouraging BRIC tourism

Developing market opportunities

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Building the tourism sector requires a detailed strategy that targets specific, relevant markets. While we have our core source markets, growth comes from developing opportunities with smaller markets with the potential to become larger ones. Cape Town’s reputation is reaching a global audience as a destination, but we have found in trade visits that more can be done to promote all of our attractions and experiences.

Around a third of tourist expenditure in South Africa is associated with business-related travel, with the remainder being leisure-related. Transport (26.5%) and accommodation (15%) accounted for the largest proportion of international tourist expenditure in South Africa during 2016.

Studies have shown that a positive experience in an attractive destination influences the likelihood that they will return to visit for leisure purposes or recommend that destination for additional conferences by as much as 85%. The key is in encouraging leisure and combination business/leisure travel more. Focusing on developing these tourism activities is also central to economic development on a broader scale. It contributes to sustainability in retaining jobs and helps to create more employment opportunities. For this reason, it’s essential to focus on leveraging events and conferences to attract return and first-time visitors.

The BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations are making significant inroads in South Africa’s tourism industry, which in turn has also generated business and economic growth. These nations are engaging with our development plans and investing in projects that will enhance our infrastructure, resulting in opportunities to encourage tourism—a win-win situation. Bear in mind that we’re developing all industry efforts with sustainable tourism principles at the forefront to ensure that all growth is positive and will not detract from our economy, environment or communities.

Visitors from BRIC nations, considered developing nations, are just as likely to enjoy luxury travel options as visitors from developed nations. Each country has its own travel preferences, and some countries even vary by region and age group. For example, visitors may elect to travel solo or as part of a large organised group. Experience preferences could vary from adventure travel to enjoying nature or our culinary offering. Visitors from China have expressed that enjoying our local wines and wine routes is one of their priorities.

Interestingly, a recent PwC report found that international travel from the BRIC nations was affected by neither our political upheavals nor the water shortages, which is encouraging to note.

The digital world has made it much easier to market ourselves as a destination since it reduces marketing costs, and social media usage is a global phenomenon, but we’re also targeting trade shows to ensure that travel buyers are aware of our products and opting to promote us.

In addition to building our relationship with the BRIC nations, we’re marketing the city across a number of fronts, including targeting Muslim-friendly tourism, since we are convinced that this market is also currently underdeveloped and yet full of potential. The key is to take niche tourism aspects and spread the word so that as many people hear about travel to South Africa as possible, for the benefit of our local small businesses and communities.

Enver Duminy, CEO, Cape Town Tourism

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