TravelBites – Edition 25

Cape Town is world’s second-best wedding destination, Johannesburg the second most affordable

 Cape Town – According to Rachel Fernandes of Digital Loft in the UK, research commissioned by DC Jewellery found that Cape Town ranked 2nd out of the top 30 wedding destinations of the world. General factors that were considered included the weather, the price of luxury hotels, and LGBTQ+ friendliness. Cape Town came second thanks to its warm and sunny climate, and legality of same-sex marriage legal since 2006.  Johannesburg came in as the world’s 2nd most affordable wedding destination. According to the research, Mexico City is the world’s number one wedding destination.

Source: Digital Loft

‘Tea tourism’ to the rescue of SA’s battered tourism sector

Clanwilliam – You may never have heard of it before, but insiders in South Africa’s rooibos tea industry believe ‘tea tourism’ could prove a welcome economic boost for the country and tourism. It’s actually not a strange concept when you view it as part of ‘beverage tourism’ that already includes wine tours, beer tours, and the likes. Annually, tourism contributes about R130 billion or three percent to SA’s gross domestic product (GDP) and provides work for 4.5 percent of the population. Tourist numbers plummeted by 72.6 percent from 10.2 million in 2019 to 2.8 million in 2020 and continued the plunge throughout the strict lockdown period over Covid-19. But says Adele du Toit, spokesperson for the SA Rooibos Council (SARC), the pandemic turned everyone’s focus to healthier living, which has fuelled a resurgence in tea consumption and exploring the unique regions where tea or tisanes are produced. “Globally, this trend has led to once dilapidated tea planter’s bungalows and houses being restored and turned into boutique hotels and lodges. Here, tea-lovers can enjoy a tranquil stay, away from the city surrounded by nature, while learning more about their favourite brew. Travellers are starting to swop ‘sun-and-sand’ vacations with new, niche travel experiences that interest them, and beverage tourism, which encompasses tea-, coffee-, wine-, whiskey/whisky- and beer tourism, all fall under the same umbrella,” remarked du Toit. Du Toit believes the combination of rooibos farming with tourism can become a new engine of growth for the local economy, which in turn, could help create jobs and alleviate poverty.


WTM Africa 2022 kickstarts recovery of travel and tourism industry in Africa

 Cape Town – WTM Africa 2022, held from April 11 to 13 in Cape Town, was a huge success with preliminary numbers indicating that pre-scheduled appointments for 2022 exceeded the number of appointments booked at the show in 2019, say the organisers. WTM Africa 2022 facilitated over seven thousand unique pre-scheduled appointments (both online and in person), which saw an increase of more than 7% compared to 2019, while the number of visitors remained on par with 2019 figures, with more than six thousand visitors in 2022 according to the unaudited numbers – hugely positive for the WTM’s first in-person event post pandemic and a fitting reflection of an industry that wants to get back to work. “The 2022 edition of WTM Africa and Africa Travel Week was the first inbound and outbound travel trade show of this magnitude held on the African continent since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2022. The undeniable success of the show, as reflected in the preliminary numbers, is a clear indication that the industry was in desperate need of a face-to-face platform to reconnect, conclude deals and kickstart the recovery of the industry,” says Megan Oberholzer, Portfolio Director: Travel, Tourism, and Creative Industries, RX Africa. WTM Africa featured 187 speakers in over 63 content sessions which highlighted important topics such as inclusivity, diversity, travel technology and investment. Exhibitors, speakers and buyers from both the inbound and outbound tourism and travel industry were invited to enable a platform of growth to and from the African continent. Twelve international countries were represented, 20 African countries and seven out of the nine South African provinces were present. WTM Africa 2023 will take place between April 3 and 5, so mark your calendars.


Africa’s Travel Indaba organisers claim success with R29 million spend

Durban – The Africa’s Travel Indaba is billed as a platform for all tourism players and exhibitors to show their best tourism products and offerings to the world. But for the past two years during the Covid-19 pandemic, it was sadly put on hold. However, the event returned successfully in May, say the organisers. According to them, there had been “incredible teamwork” between the sister organisations – Tourism KZN, Durban Tourism, South African Tourism and the Durban ICC at Africa’s Travel Indaba 2022. Speaking at a wrap-up media briefing, Phindile Makwakwa, acting chief executive officer of Tourism KZN spoke of this teamwork. “This year, KZN came back on the international calendar and demonstrated to the world that the province was ready to host the Africa’s Travel Indaba despite the challenges faced in the past two years,” she said, adding that Tourism KZN looks forward to hosting more international delegates at next year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba. Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, chief conventions bureau officer, South African Tourism, said she is grateful to have had a team that worked extremely hard to make the Africa’s Travel Indaba a success. “The Africa’s Travel Indaba was a chance to reconnect with many people from all over the world. There were 18 African countries, 655 exhibitors, 965 buyers and 377 media hosted at this year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba. Also, there were 14, 000 meetings that took place during the Africa’s Travel Indaba. This year, the Africa’s Travel Indaba exceeded the organisation’s expectations,” she said. Winile Mtungwa, deputy head of Durban Tourism, said it was good to have people from different parts of the world attending the Africa’s Travel Indaba. Ntungwa added that the projections for the 2022 Africa’s Travel Indaba were 3,700 visitors, a direct spend of R29 million, R72.5 million contribution to the city’s GDP and 145 jobs were created.

Source: Chatsworth Rising Sun

South Africa’s newest safari suite is a vintage train carriage


Gqeberha – A 1970s train carriage has been stationed on a hilltop above the Mantis reserve in the Eastern Cape. Visitors to Mantis Founders Lodge in the Eastern Cape some 72km from Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) can now experience the thrill of sleeping onboard a railway carriage – with the added bonus of big five game drives on the doorstep. The carriage dates back to the 1970s and from the outside, with its red and yellow livery, it still looks very much like a heritage train. But Mantis has made some upgrades, so guests feel like they’re travelling in first class. The suite is permanently stationed on a hilltop within Mantis’ private safari concession, with sweeping views over the surrounding countryside where rhinos, warthog and giraffe roam. Outside, a big decking area is perfect for al fresco dining alongside a private swimming pool. The Mantis rail carriage is the second train accommodation after the Kruger Shalati – The Train on the Bridge hotel opened in Kruger National Park in 2020.

Source: Lorna Parkes,

SA tourism industry happy with new travel rules but wants gathering limits scrapped

Cape Town – Travelling to South Africa has become easier following recent rule changes by the government when it ended its state of disaster and issued new interim regulations to contain the spread of Covid-19. Visitors to South Africa can now enter with a valid vaccination certificate, as long as it shows at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Alternatively, they can submit negative antigen test results, and children under 12 years of age are exempt from restrictions. Official recovery certificates are also accepted. These changes have been welcomed by stakeholders in tourism and hospitality, although they don’t agree with government deciding to maintain the 50% limit on social gatherings. Gatherings are currently permitted at 50% of the venue capacity if attendees are vaccinated or provide a negative Covid-19 test result. Industry spokespersons believe the continuing requirement of reduced gathering sizes are not based in science and mean that many of the international events that would have been hosted in South Africa will now simply not be viable, which will result in further job losses in the industry. FEDHASA, the hospitality industry organisation, is calling on government to urgently reconsider its stance on social gatherings.


Source: Luke Daniel, Business Insider SA