South Africa heralds record UK inbound

South African Tourism is reporting that more UK visitors than ever before travelled to South Africa in 2006.A total of 488,032 people visited South Africa last year which represents an increase of 3.9% compared to 2005.  Numbers peaked in December 06 with over 8% more UK visitors than December 05.

This increased interest in, and travel to, South Africa from the UK stems largely from/can be attributed to:

á      A better understanding of South Africa and what it has to offer compared to other long-haul destinations (including virtually no jet-lag)
á      The overall target audience has expanded as South Africa has become more affordable through a wider range of products
á      Increased airlift from both direct and in-direct services from nearly all major UK airports
á      Demand for niche experiences such as spa/well-being; environmentally-friendly holidays; city breaks and food/wine

Lebo Mokhesi, Country Manager for South African Tourism in the UK, added:  “We’re thrilled that more UK holidaymakers are heading to South Africa, and in particular that we are expanding our traditional target market.  We’re seeing a whole range of holidaymakers from luxury seekers and adrenalin junkies to families and culture vultures all wanting to experience their very own South Africa.  And while the South East, through London, remains our key catchment area, more and more visitors are flying to South Africa from others parts of the UK either direct or via London and other European hubs.”

South African Tourism continues to create opportunities for the UK travel trade to learn more about South Africa through its Fundi training programme, and a targeted marketing campaign highlighting specific customer segments.  Trade and consumers will continue to be targeted through a range of interactive initiatives such as last year’s very successful ‘Colours of a new day’ event in Hanover Square.

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Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism said “....once more, South African Tourism’s focused marketing strategy has delivered phenomenal results. We attracted over a million more tourists in 2006 than in 2005, representing an increase of 13 .9%.”

According to the Minister, “We have received more visitors from every region in the world. We had an increase of more than 73 000 visitors from Europe, almost 30 000 more visitors from North America, and over 30 000 more visitors from Asia, Australasia and the Middle East. While the growth rate for our overseas arrivals kept pace with international industry growth, our 16.9% growth in arrivals from Africa far exceeded the international benchmark.”
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