Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN) is going all out to regain and rebuild the province’s international tourism market.
To do this, it is engaging with top tour operators from various European countries to lock in deals that drive international tourists to the province ahead of the European summer season.
Recently, TKZN returned from a northern European travel roadshow and a five-day exhibition at Vakantiebeurs in the Netherlands with South African Tourism.
The Netherlands and Belgium rank as fourth and fifth largest European tourist markets for KZN, behind the UK, Germany, and France.
“In-country initiatives and activations are an important part of international tourism marketing. They enable tourism destinations to engage directly with international buyers and tour operators who are responsible for bringing tourists to destinations. This is also where we gain valuable insight into the needs and perceptions of our target markets,” said Tourism KwaZulu-Natal Acting CEO, Sibusiso Gumbi.
According to him, platforms like these allow KZN to feature in international brochures, distributed at various travel agencies around the world, ensuring that KZN is featured amongst must-visit tourism destinations.
“Relationships are critical in the tourism sector, and it is important to stay on top of the game and constantly engage with partners about new developments and changes taking place in our province. Later this year, TKZN will participate in ITB Berlin and WTM London. In order to position KZN as a global player, it is vital for us to be where key decisions are made,” he said.
KwaZulu Natal’s international tourist numbers are improving slowly, with the total number of international tourists rising by 22% in the first six months of 2023 compared with the same time last year.
Business and conference tourism is also important for TKZN, and the DMO will be at Meetings Africa this year alongside KwaZulu Natal’s Convention Bureau to market the province as a leading meeting and conferences destination. Meetings Africa attracts hundreds of international buyers from the African continent and across the globe.
“By attracting mega business events and many smaller conferences that can be hosted in some of our smaller towns ensures that the impact of tourism is felt across the province,” concluded Gumbi.