TOURISM KwaZulu-Natal is preparing for one of the biggest trade shows in the world, ITB Berlin, to network with exhibitors and contacts and to drum up business for the province eager to solidify its impact among German tourists who are its main source market.
The annual massive ITB Berlin trade show, one of the “must see” tourism exhibitions in the globe, which showcases the products and services of more than 10 000 exhibitors from more than 180 countries and regions from March 6-9.
“KZN has embraced the global and fast moving
pace of connecting people and cities with the recent introduction of direct British
Airways flights to Durban from London. The ITB allows the European market like
Germany, which is our top three international source markets, to make their
“German visitors mostly travel to the province for leisure, rather than business and we are confident our presence at ITB sends a signal that we are back to show them more of what we have on offer,’’ said Phindile Makwakwa, the acting Chief Executive Officer.
The strong Euro currency, the provinces good weather and leisure Safari packages makes KZN a great holiday destination with the province being on top of mind for most tour operators in Germany.
“ITB is a great platform to once again gain access and meet up with our various trade partners, to drive awareness about our destination and encourage them to include KZN in their brochures and packages.
“The exhibition is also attended by trade tourism buyers from other German countries and this platform provides us with a bigger network of buyers so we can ultimately grow our international tourism arrivals,” Makwakwa added.
TKZN works very closely with various partners in the German market including Dertour, Thomas Cook, South African Airways, Tourvest and Knecht Resein to make in-roads into this market, with an aim of driving awareness of the destination and encouraging.
This market travels mainly for heritage, scenery and wildlife experiences which are some of KZN’s main tourism offering, presenting a huge potential to grow this market. It was then important for KZN to maintain its presence in this market to drive more numbers into the province, Makwakwa added.
TKZN already has strong partnerships with top tour operators such as Thomas Cook in this market and ITB is a platform to find new and innovative ways to keep growing the market.
The other top five long haul source markets for KZN are United Kingdom, United States, Netherlands, France and India.
Statistics show that some 48 958 German holiday-makers have visited KZN in 2016, boosting the local tourism economy and helping to sustain jobs in the hospitality sector.
The German market is the world’s third leading generator of international tourism expenditure (US$79.9-billion in 2017) and South Africa’s third most important long-haul market.
There was a 13.5% increase in the number of German tourists to the country between 2014 and 2016.
German visitors also contributed the third highest amounts to South African tourism in 2016 (R4.4-billion) after the UK (R7.5-bn) and the USA (R6.2-bn).
And the interest and the numbers are increasing from Germany to SA. From November 2016 to April 2018, according to South African Market Insights, there were at least 700 000 Germans visiting SA.
“With close on a million tourists already coming to SA, we want to ensure that a bigger slice of those tourists also come to KZN. We are a year- round holiday destination. This presents us with a huge potential to continue to grow our important markets all over the world,” Makwakwa added.
Research in previous years revealed that many German visitors were repeat holiday-makers to the country.
Most Germans (58%) still use the traditional method of booking their long-haul holidays: through the retail travel agencies. There are three major groups in Germany and TKZN will be working very closely with them, as well as SAA, to make inroads into the growing German market.
German visitors like to stay about a week in KZN and they like heritage, scenery and wildlife experiences.