With South Africa basking in its ever-growing international profile, travel agents in the country have been coming under the spotlight.
Leading the pack has been Club Travel – which was last year recognised by the World Travel Awards as Africa’s Leading Travel Agency.
Here Breaking Travel News chats with Wally Gaynor, Club Travel managing director, to see what is next for this top brand.
Breaking Travel News: Club Travel was recognised by the World Travel Awards as Africa’s Leading Travel Agency for the fourth consecutive year in 2010. What do you think it is that separates you from your competitors?
WG: Club is unique in that we live by our DNA; this is what governs not only our dealings with clients, but internally with our colleagues and our suppliers.
I believe this is our recipe for continued success.
BTN: Will you use the award in your marking campaigns in 2011?
WG: The reward and the recognition it brings forms a large part of our marketing campaigns
BTN: How do you hope to maintain the advantage in 2011; are there any expansion plans or investments on the horizon which you could let us in on?
WG: We aim not only to continue what we do well but to continually strive to improve on it.
Year on year, even in 2009 which was a dismal year, we have grown each division, franchise, corporate and online grew organically, that said we are continually looking for opportunities and are not adverse to acquisitions if we see something of interest.
BTN: With a degree of optimism returning to the global tourism sector this year, how is Club Travel faring?
WG: Yes 2010 was better than 2009. There was caution, but a definite improvement and we are hopeful that the trend will continue in 2011 and accelerate in 2012.
BTN: Are you optimistic growth can be maintained in 2012?
WG: We live in a very volatile world with natural disasters, social uprisings and increased cost of fuel and food.
All of this effects the Travel Industry, but we are born optimists and believe we can, and will, weather any storm and come out stronger.
BTN: Tell us a little about the company? What are the most popular routes requested by business clientele?
WG: The world is a global village, the traditional corporate markets being travel to the UK, Europe, US and the Far East continue but we have seen huge growth in travel within Africa and to the emerging markets like Brazil and India.
BTN: What are your key source markets, Africa is naturally central to your success, but do you attract clients from further afield?
WG: Africa is our home and where most of our business comes from but that said we have large ex pat South African community throughout the world that continue to deal with us and this is a significant and growing market for us.
BTN: Do you think South Africa has seen its profile rise internationally in the past decade, how do you see its reputation developing over the coming years?
WG: Yes the World Cup did wonders for South Africa’s profile, visitors particularly from the Americas were shocked at the sophistication and the infrastructure of the country - this will have a continued positive impact in the years to come.
BTN: What are your most important assets as a company?
WG: Without a doubt our human resources, our people make the difference, South Africans of all race groups have a warmth, friendliness and a ‘can do’ attitude not found in many parts of the globe.