For business travellers SA offers unparalleled variety and excellence
For the business or corporate traveller to South Africa, the country offers unparalleled variety and excellence, from all-inclusive executive travel services, to superb IT and other infrastructure, world-class accommodation, and sophisticated conference and business facilities. And to round it all off, business travellers can take time off to go into the wild and view the Big Five, or choose from any of the other multitude of stunning leisure tourism attractions South Africa has to offer.
With negative global conditions having led companies around the world to reduce their international travel spend, factors such as the rand exchange rate, sophisticated business-related infrastructure and services, ease of travel and South Africa’s centrality, and excellent local business travel services make South Africa the ideal destination for business, incentive and corporate travel, as well as for international conferences.
What’s more, visitors to South Africa can easily and flexibly combine their business travel here with out-of-this-world holidays or weekend getaways. So next time you need to do business in South Africa, or attend a conference here, pack your family off to one of many stunning resorts, finish your business and then join them.
And South Africa will soon be investing even more to attract more business travellers to this country. At the recent Meetings Africa conference in Durban, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom announced that of the R494-million that was allocated to tourism promotion in the 2017 national budget for the next three years, more than half, or R290-million, will be used for promoting events and business travel to South Africa.
A bidding fund will be set up to specifically focus on business events that are aligned with the priority economic sectors identified by the government, such as mining, manufacturing, ICT, life sciences and business process outsourcing. Minister Hanekom also said that his department’s research showed that delegates coming to conferences here, and other business travellers, often want to add on to their business trip, one of the many tourism experiences the country has to offer. Minister Hanekom said South Africa aims to attract five million additional local and international travellers over the next five years, which will include business travellers.
Most business travellers to South Africa at present come from the United States, while China is also a growing source market. About one-third of all business travellers also slot in time for leisure travel, with some favourite destinations being Sun City and Pilanesberg, Hermanus, the Kruger National Park, Namaqualand, Soweto, the Drakensberg, the Garden Route, Table Mountain and Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth, but certainly not confined to these.
While South Africa’s major cities offer world-class facilities such as Cape Town’s International Conference Centre and Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, many business events are also held outside the major cities, with luxury game lodges, many of which have excellent facilities, being a favourite. Thus, business visitors can go from doing business or attending a conference for most of the day, straight to a late-afternoon guided game drive to see lions and elephant. How many other places in the world can offer you that?
Many businessmen and women also enjoy a good game of golf. In this department too the country offers an abundance of top-class golf courses, many of them designed by world-famous golfers such as Gary Player and Ernie Els.
Gauteng and Cape Town have excellent public transport in the form of integrated rapid transit systems, while the O R Tambo International Airport and the cities of Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg are connected by the high-speed Gautrain. Traditional and Uber taxi services are available in all major cities, while an excellent network of international and domestic airports provide quick, easy and safe access to any part of the country or its neighbours.
As far as IT is concerned, South Africa offers some of the best and fastest connectivity in Africa. Cape Town has just been ranked 22nd in the Tech Cities 2017 report among the leading cities in the global technology industry.
A large number of South African corporate travel management companies offer extensive and specialised corporate travel services such as booking and ticket services, proactive consulting, medical cover and requirements, optimisation of travel spend, local transport, accommodation and more.
Various other services are also on offer to business travellers visiting South Africa, from personal security to fully-equipped and staffed office facilities, chauffeur services, personal travel experts at your call 24/7, the services of business intelligence and negotiations experts, and travel managers.
The African Business Travel Association (ABTA) focuses on corporate travel in South Africa and across the continent, providing a platform for corporate travel management education and sharing of best practice. ABTA assists in raising the standard of the business travel industry, works to increase awareness of Africa as a destination, has created a platform for region-specific travel management education, networking opportunities and continued professional development, among more.
Therefore, with the help of organisations such as ABTA, business travellers to South Africa know they are in good hands.