South Africa attracted more than 133 000 arrivals from Australasia last year, and to further tap into this important source market, South African Tourism (SAT) is currently hosting 52 travel agents from the region on a mega-familiarisation trip that is taking place in all nine provinces.

The 50 Australian agents and two New Zealand agents taking part on the MegaFam trip is the result of the partnership between SAT, SAA and Flight Centre.

Agents were incentivised, with those who sold the most SAA flight tickets in September and October last year earning a spot on the MegaFam trip to SA. Those who notched up the most sales booked their place on the trip and went on to complete the SA Specialist training course, equipping them with the knowledge to sell SA as a destination.

Throughout the first three weeks of March, six groups of Australasia Flight Centre travel agents will  enjoy six different week-long itineraries, showcasing a range of attractions across SA.

“We view Australasia as an international market with high growth potential, and would like Australians and New Zealanders to explore more of what South Africa has to offer when they come here on holiday or to visit friends and family,” says COO of SAT, Sthembiso Dlamini.

Dlamini says that is why this opportunity to partner with and equip the Australasian travel trade to confidently sell SA as a value-for-money destination offering various diverse experiences is such an exciting one.

Each group of agents will travel to between two and four provinces, including the country’s less-frequented areas, to encourage the geographic spread of tourism. “Those visiting the areas affected by the water shortage will be able to experience first-hand the country’s #WaterWiseTourism drive in action and will see that South Africa remains very much open for tourism, with responsible tourism practices becoming entrenched as the ‘new normal’,” comments Dlamini.

In addition, in the light of Nelson Mandela’s centenary, the agents will have the opportunity to walk in Madiba’s footsteps, visiting some of the sites around SA where he left his mark.

 “We are also proud to be empowering the local people who are best equipped to highlight the attractions in our various provinces, by enlisting, wherever possible, the services of regional tour operators that are Lilizela Tourism Award winners and finalists, as well as exceptional small businesses,” concludes Dlamini.