South African Tourism is encouraged by the “overwhelmingly positive sentiments” shown by both South African exhibitors and Japanese travel trade participants at ‘Virtually Meet South Africa 2022’, held from March 2 to 4 last week.
A total of 46 South African exhibitors and about 150 Japanese buyers completed over 250 meetings during the three-day virtual roadshow, along with a 3D event platform developed by the SA Tourism Japan office for the exhibitors’ stands.
The exhibitors showcased their tourism products and services through movies, photos and a link to their websites.
South African Ambassador to Japan, Lulama Smuts Ngonyama, said in his opening remarks: “Tourism has an extensive value chain and can grow because of our beautiful landscapes, extensive heritage, rich biodiversity, and vibrant culture, with national groups united in their diversity, hence called the Rainbow Nation.
“The Japan Virtual Roadshow is important for the recovery of the South African tourism industry. Japan is, without doubt, one of the most important markets for tourism and trade in South Africa, and the recovering situation in Japan is very encouraging.”
Hub Head for SA Tourism in the Asia Pacific, Mansoor Mohamed, added: “We are happy with the successful hosting of the roadshow in Japan as it indeed is a great sign that the tourism sector recovery is well on its way. Furthermore, we are encouraged by the level of engagement that we have received from all our exhibitors and partners.
“They came to the virtual platform with a collaborative spirit and a strong commitment to reigniting travel from this market. While we have a lot of work to do to promote our destination and make sure that Japanese visitors choose to visit South Africa, we are pleased that we still have products that appeal to this market post-outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Mohamed said the online roadshows had provided an excellent interim solution for the South African travel trade to reconnect with the Japanese trade, while travelling was still heavily restricted.
“Japan has recently shown signs of reviving outbound travel by relaxing self-isolation measures. Arrivals no longer have to self-quarantine for seven days if they test negative on the third day after arrival, and those who have received booster shots are exempt from all quarantine requirements if they come from territories where the Omicron strain is not rampant.
“This is positive for returning Japanese travellers and helps encourage them to travel to overseas destinations, including South Africa,” Mohamed said.