George & Wilderness Tourism recently attended the South African Tourism Roadshow in India from 4 – 8 February 2019.
Joan Shaw, Tourism Manager and Graham de Swart, Tourism Officer each manned a booth, giving equal attention to both George and Wilderness and allowing them to double the number of agents they were able to see. Portfolio Councillor for Strategic Services, Iona Kritzinger accompanied the tourism officials on the road show in an oversight role, and to experience how international tourism marketing to the trade happens on the coal face and gauge the success of the initiative.
The tourism officials saw in total approximately 1200 tour operators and travel agents during the roadshow – Mumbai (500), Chennai (200), Calcutta (200) and Delhi (300). George & Wilderness showed off their products, including activities, accommodation and restaurants and there was much interest in this ‘new’ destination that was marketing to this audience for the first time. Agents were interested to learn that George was more than just an airport and were especially interested in the adventure activities available in Wilderness.
Shanam Jain of Maurya Travels has already made contact to visit George in April this year and said of her meeting with the George Tourism Manager, Joan Shaw, “ It was such a pleasure to meet you at the South Africa Roadshow 2019 last week. Your enthusiasm while representing your region was something I really was fascinated by. You gave me such a good update about George and Wilderness that I felt like they should be on my next trip.”
The Garden Route areas were well represented with marketers from George & Wilderness Tourism, Fancourt, Protea Hotels by Marriot, Oudtshoorn Tourism, Cango Caves, Mossel Bay Tourism along with Freaking Fast Waverider, The Diaz Hotel & Resort in Mossel Bay, Gondwana Game Lodge, Bloukrans Bungi in Tsitsikamma as well as SA Forest Adventures, opening shortly in Knysna – making up just over 10% of the total exhibitors.
The roadshow covered 4 cities across the East, West, South and North of India, and the delegation from George took 10 flights in 8 days, moving from one city to the next non-stop. Except for meeting almost 1 200 delegates, meal times, as well as the bus and air travel also provided excellent networking opportunities with the South African delegates and 20 tour operators working in this market and establishing how to get more of this lucrative out-of-season business to George.
The tourism office will continue to build on the extensive network of contact details with follow up emails providing requested information and arranging site visits for interested delegates. This is also a chance to stay in contact with these agents and send them news of special deals and events throughout the year, to stay top-of-mind, so that the next time they make a booking, they think of George first.
Indian visitors have been prone to travel in our off-season, trends are now showing that they are visiting South Africa, and the Garden Route, throughout the year. President Ramaphosa recently announced that he would work on South African Airways reinstating direct flights between Johannesburg and Mumbai, and South African Tourism, India, has a target of bringing 100 000 India visitors to South Africa per year, in the next few years. “If this happens, the Garden Route and George could easily capture 50% of this market, and at an average spend of R15 000 per person in country, this could not only stimulate the economy but create many sustainable jobs, throughout the year, negating seasonality issues currently experienced, “ noted Joan Shaw, Tourism Manager for George.
George Tourism is considering facilitating information sessions of how to secure more Indian business, and then live up to the market expectations once the guests are here. If you are a tourism product owner and want to host more Indian guests, please e-mail Joan Shaw on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and look out for news on upcoming India site and educational visits that products will be able to participate in.
Caption: India Gate, New Delhi (The India Gate (originally called the All India War Memorial) is a war memorial located astride the Rajpath, on the eastern edge of the “ceremonial axis” of New Delhi)