Northern European travellers and trade showed high demand for travel to South Africa at the Vakantiebeurs 2023 holiday fair held in Utrecht in the Netherlands earlier this month.
Acting CEO of South African Tourism, Themba Khumalo, ascribed this largely to the “incredible success” of the 360° localised LIVE AGAIN rolled out for North Europe in 2022.
“The residual awareness of this campaign allowed South Africa to be top of mind for Dutch consumers and trade, a message continuously reiterated over the five days of the show,” he said.
South African Tourism North Europe, servicing the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden, hosted a South African pavilion at Vakantiebeurs from January 12 to 15. The show attracted more than 65 000 consumers over the course of the four consumer days and over 8 000 travel trade on the trade day.
Six South African products joined the South African Tourism pavilion, inclusive of two provinces, namely WESGRO and Tourism KwaZulu-Natal and two SMMEs – Travel for Change and Royal Thonga Lodge. Other South African product present on the pavilion were Aquila Safaris, Cape Recife Lighthouse and Bellevue Nature Reserve.
South African Tourism North Europe focused on creating excitement at the pavilion for South African products and partners by inviting long-time B2B trade partner, Africa Feeling, to host its famous high tea on the trade day, attracting 30 travel agents to the pavilion.
The trade day also saw key partners and trade visiting the pavilion throughout the day for pre-arranged meetings as well as drawing over 100 people to the late afternoon networking event.
“This event allowed for a much-needed in-person networking opportunity to share positive stories on how the recovery of the industry has been going. Vakantiebeurs and South African Tourism’s presence came at an opportune time, off the back of a very successful 2022 for partners, validated by strong arrival statistics,” said a spokesperson for SA Tourism North Europe.
In November last year, 10 374 travellers from the Netherlands visited South Africa, bringing the total arrivals for January to November 2022 to 79 489 – a 373.6% increase when compared with the same period in 2021.
According to Khumalo, this now positions the Netherlands as the third-largest source market out of Europe, preceded by the UK and Germany.
“This is significant as it reflects positive traction for the demand creation work that has been done in markets through the localised LIVE AGAIN campaign, which encouraged travellers to explore South Africa.”
This campaign was launched in March 2022 and gave the opportunity to experience South Africa through the eyes of locals who shared their ‘lekker local tips’ to highlight the beautiful parts of the country.
For the year ahead, the north Europe hub plans on communicating a stronger focus on responsible tourism, with a deliberate focus on collaboration with trade, diversity initiatives and market access while ramping up demand through media investment.