Despite a dreary outlook at the beginning of the year, it’s not all doom and gloom for the South African tourism industry for the rest of 2019


According to the South African Tourism Board, North America and Asia have shown positive growth during the January to April 2019 period, as well as growth recorded from major international source markets like the United Kingdom and Germany in April 2019 alone, with the cumulative four-month total reflecting only a 1.3% overall decline when compared to the same period last year.

But it’s the locals who are really boosting the industry numbers. Domestic holiday trips rose by 59.7% during the same period, highlighting one of South African Tourism’s objectives of making local travel accessible to all.

”SA Tourism has been focusing on marketing campaigns that entice South Africans to travel their own country. We are noting the impact of our marketing efforts. In Q1 (January to March) 2019, 18.4% of South Africans mentioned not having a reason to travel, an improvement from 20.5% in 2018,” says the Acting CEO, Sthembiso Dlamini.

This is a sentiment echoed by Emile Langenhoven, the General Manager of Lanzerac Hotel & Spa. ”We believe our locals are as important as international visitors and actively promote local travel through partners like the Joburg Wine Club, for example. But we have been fortunate to see a steady increase with international guests since we re-opened in July,” he says.

Having recently been named Leading Wine Country Hotel in South Africa at the 2019 World Travel Awards, it’s no surprise. ”We are honoured and very proud of the achievement,” says Langenhoven, ”However, we are continuously striving for perfection and offering our guests true hospitality—this never stops and has no finish line, it is forever changing and evolving. The accolade is also recognition for the team and motivates us to step up our game every day.”

Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s comments on the state of tourism in South Africa during his recent State of the Nation Address, and the fact that he urged the industry to make guests feel safer in our country, Langenhoven believes that the answer is fairly obvious. ”All properties and tourist attractions should have visible security—giving guests peace of mind, as well as equipping them with walking maps that guide them and advise them on the safer areas to visit. We believe education about personal security, as opposed to fear-mongering is the key.”

According to Dlamini, while the South African tourism industry showed slight growth at the end of 2018, [They] are still working towards achieving targets set in out in the 5-in-5 strategy, ”which aims to have a further four million international tourist arrivals and a further one million domestic holiday trips by 2021. In addition to this, we have heeded the call by President Ramaphosa to further boost international arrivals by doubling the number to 21 million by 2030”.

The SA Tourism Board confirms that the outlook for the rest of the year definitely does look positive, with forecasts for most regions showing reasonable growth in line with expected travelling patterns. ”South Africa remains a destination with lots to offer across all nine provinces and we are determined to show the world the beauty that comes with South Africa along with its value for money offerings,” Dlamini says.

One such offering is the wine region in which Lanzerac is located. ”Stellenbosch—and especially Jonkershoek—is a fairly undercelebrated wine region,” explains Langenhoven. ”There are more than 300 years of farming and history here, and a unique terroir—the role of the valley in the development of the uniquely South African grape varietal Pinotage cannot be overlooked.” Langenhoven and the Lanzerac team are passionate about educating guests on the area.

”Apart from being the first hotel on a wine estate, it is ultimately the stories told by the people that set us apart. The estate has gone through different phases through the years but what kept bringing people back are the stories—the stories they create here, the stories they tell and the stories they hear. We don’t just build hospitality, we build the people, shaping true hospitality and making employees and guests feel like family.

We create everlasting memories—now, in a fully refurbished, individually appointed setting. Like we say, ‘Everyone has a Lanzerac story, what is yours?’”

It’s dedication and enthusiasm like this that will continue to boost the industry and see the return of international guests to our shores. 

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