TravelBites: News from in and around South Africa

Tourism South Africa


uShaka Marine World is Durban’s most exciting experience


The iconic uShaka Marine World is on a drive to market itself as ‘an adventure on your doorstep” and the “most exciting place to visit in the city of Durban”. Millions of tourists have come to know and enjoy this wonderful experience situated on Durban’s Golden Mile just outside the entrance to Africa’s busiest port. The centre lists among its major attractions Wet ‘n Wild for children,  it being Africa’s largest marine theme park, home to the 5th largest aquarium in the world, underground viewing galleries extending through a ship wreck, shows at the Seal Stadium, the Penguin rockery with over 63 endangered African Penguins, the Snorkel Lagoon, Ocean Walker, Shark Dive, a ray touch pool and stingray feed opportunity, the Dolphin Stadium with shows, one of Africa’s largest jungle gyms, the uShaka Rope Adventure Park, and much more.

Source: uShaka Marine World



Experience Cullinan and its historic diamond mine

Cullinan Tourism and History, a well-known tour operator based in Cullinan near Pretoria, is now offering three types of tours to promote the town and its diamond mine with tourists: a tour through the village, the journey of a diamond (surface tour of the mine), and an underground tour. The tours are being offered to individuals, groups and schools and will allow them to experience the heritage of Cullinan and its diamond mine. The mine became famous in 1905 when the biggest diamond ever was found here and, in its cut-up collection adorns the British crown jewels.

Source: Cullinan Tourism & History




SA Tourism briefs Parliament on its Annual Report 2016/17

SA Tourism briefed Parliament’s tourism committee on its Annual Report for 2016/17. SA Tourism had received its sixteenth unqualified audit report for this reporting period. On the performance of SA Tourism for 2016/17 it only managed to achieve six of its fourteen key performance indicators. On the number of international tourist arrivals achieved the planned target was 9,077,995. In terms of the financial year reporting period, actual performance sat at 9,945,373. The target had been surpassed by 9.6%. On the number of domestic holiday trips achieved the planned target for 2016/17 was 3,059,764. Actual performance for the financial year was 2,950,000. There was underperformance by 3.6%.


On the number of graded establishments the planned target was 5,650 the actual achievement was 5,354, an underperformance of 17%. A new key performance indicator for SA Tourism was staff satisfaction score. The planned target was 3.7 while the actual performance achieved was 2.9. There was 21.6% underachievement. The briefing continued on the financial performance of SA Tourism. The two main sources of income for SA Tourism were R1.024bn from the NDT and R137.6m from the Tourism Business Council of SA. Some 74% of SA Tourism’s total expenses were attributed to marketing efforts which came to R914.4m. Employee costs only made up 15% of total expenses.


Source: Parliamentary Monitoring Group


Tourism Month: Nelson Mandela Bay probes youth tourism opportunities


Nelson Mandela Bay hosted the South African Youth Travel Confederation during September, which in South Africa wasTourism Month. The confederation brings together youth from around the country to participate in dialogue and future opportunities for the industry during Tourism Month under the Tourism Month theme, “We do tourism sustainably.” Representation from across the country included the Western Cape, Garden Route, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Gauteng – the focus routes for the youth industry. Discussions at the conference included topics that affect the current situation in the youth tourism market such as the economic state in South Africa in tourism and domestic and international youth travel market. The South African Tourism Annual Report of 2016 showcases that the sector received 3.3 million visitors (travellers under 35), who on average stay eight bed nights and spend an average of R8,900 per trip. Furthermore, youth tourism in SA represents approximately 35% of domestic trips with 45% of youth travellers arriving from international destinations.


Source: BizNews



Tourism Boards Team Up to Attract High-Yield International Visitors


The destination marketing organizations (DMOs) NYC & Company and Cape Town Tourism are embarking upon the first-ever city-to-city partnership between groups in the United States and South Africa. The union aims to boost tourism between the two cities, both of which are capitals of culture, cuisine, and design in their respective countries. The agreement evolved out of a long-standing dialogue between Fred Dixon, the CEO of NYC & Company and Enver Duminy, the CEO of Cape Town Tourism. The two-year alliance includes the exchange of marketing and advertising assets and the sharing of best tourism practices. The two DMOs will also collaborate on ways to boost travel between the cities through offers and incentives provided by third-party travel providers.





South African Tourism and Citi Bike partnership


South African Tourism and Citi Bike recently launched a month-long partnership with the aim of bringing South Africa’s unique art and culture to the streets of New York City. Together, the organizations are encouraging New Yorkers and visitors to the city to try out the iconic blue bikes and be inspired to travel to South Africa. The partnership, in conjunction with South Africa’s national airline, South African Airways, will include 30 South Africa-branded Citi Bike docking stations across the city showcasing the variety of safari, adventure and cultural experiences holidaymakers can have in South Africa, while the pièce de résistance will be an original art mural dedicated to world-renowned South African artist, Esther Mahlangu.



5-star grading for Cape Town’s Cape Royale Hotel


The Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, situated in Green Point, Cape Town, has once again received a five-star grading by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa. The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa awards the five-star rating to establishments with outstanding quality and luxurious accommodation matching the best international standards of furnishing, service and guest care. The Cape Royale Luxury Hotel offers guests a poolside, rooftop bar boasting breath-taking panoramic views of the Atlantic Seaboard as the perfect way to spend upcoming summer evenings while enjoying delicious cocktails.


Source: Independent Online




An economic rethink on domestic tourism

At the recent THINC Africa conference, CEO of South African Tourism, Sisa Ntshona shared his thoughts on global and local tourism and how locals can do our part in helping the South African economy through local tourism. According to Ntshona, South Africa has never had to rely on anything except its resources. Now tourism has been identified as the sector to take South Africa out of its current economic status. The entire continent, for a billion people itself, has less than 5% of the global market share. Africa is still a continent that needs to be discovered and that is the exciting part Ntshona noted, adding that we have to fight as a block in southern Africa in terms of activities against international markets.


Source: BizNews




Khayelitsha tourismis soaring thanks to its Airbnb market


Entrepreneurs in Khayelitsha are creating a vibrant tourist hub within the township. Airbnb rentals are proving extremely popular, and local businesses are riding the crest of a wave. Airbnb is an online service that provides accommodation alternatives to hotels and guest lodges. It allows people to rent out their own homes to travellers, and Khayelitsha residents have embraced the technological revolution. The six hosting facilities are celebrating the completion of a two-week Innovation and Hospitality programme that teaches owners how to market their property and provide exceptional service to their guests. Although Khayelitsha still wrestles with its reputation, it’s clear to see there are plenty of entrepreneurial minds helping the community rise above its circumstances.

Source: Tom Head / The South African



Celebrating Tourism Month in the Northern Cape

The United Nations has designated 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. South Africa and the Northern Cape, adopted the theme, “We do tourism sustainably”. This provides an enormous opportunity for the destination to harness the contribution of tourism to economic growth, social inclusion, cultural and environmental preservation, mutual understanding and an ongoing contribution to job creation and the well-being of all communities within the Northern Cape. The Northern Cape Tourism Authority (NCTA) further sees this period as a time for reflection on the state of tourism in the province, looking at its strategic approach to tourism, and evaluating the quality and the diversity of its tourism experiences. The statistics provided by the national ‘We Do Tourism’ road shows, highlighted that international arrivals to South Africa have exceeded 10 million visitors, who spent in excess R75,5 billion. To work towards increasing this and to remain competitive and realise the vision of positioning the Northern Cape as a desirable year-round destination for both domestic and international visitors, the province wants to combine the efforts of all stakeholders.


Source: Independent Online


Metered taxis & Uber clashes will turn away tourists, says Minister

South African Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa recently warned that violent clashes between metered taxis and rival e-hailing company Uber could deter tourists from visiting South Africa. During the month metered taxi drivers allegedly torched two Uber cars in Sandton, among other incidents. Uber drivers reportedly retaliated by setting alight a metered taxi in the same area. Tourism Minister Xasa said she was concerned about violent incidents, and was distressed about the potential negative effect the ongoing acrimony could have on the tourism industry.

Source: The Citizen



South Africans urged to tour the country


Individuals and establishments excelling in the tourism sector were honoured and awarded in Mpumalanga over the weekend during the provincial Lilizela Tourism Awards. It was a night of honour and glamour when the Mpumalanga tourism industry celebrated its top business owners and service providers. However, according MEC of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Eric Kholwane more programmes are needed to encourage local people to tour the country. According to Kholwane the tourism industry, mining and agriculture are the backbone of the province’s economy which needs to be fully exploited. According to Kholwane the province is currently working on a number of projects to boost tourism. The programmes include the upgrading of the Blyde River Canyon, Three Rondavels and other tourists’ attractions around the tourist town of Graskop.

Source: SABC




Millions of tourists visit the North West boosting local economy


Tourism remains a great contributor when coming to job creation and local economic development, said Tourism MEC Desbo Mohono during the launch of Tourism Month at the Marang Hotel outside Rustenburg recently. Mohono emphasized the critical role played by private sector. In maximizing the impacts of tourism expansion for local communities, a critical role must be played by all relevant stakeholders through the design of a sustainable and credible tourism. This should also include sector plans, marketing and how to penetrate germane markets.  MEC Mohono said a study by two reliable sources indicated that tourism was at a steady growth in North West. The African Source Markets Performance [ASMP] 2016 and Statistic South Africa Report [Stats SA 2015/16/17) reported that the total number of African tourist arrival to North West province in late 2016 stood at 788,277 out of 893,318 international arrivals. She said that the figures shows clearly that tourism is contributing immensely towards province economic growth.

 Source: Independent Online


South African Tourism Alive With Opportunities


Young people from across the country got to see what’s available in tourism careers when the National Tourism Careers Expo started in September. The careers expo was launched in Virginia, Free State, in partnership with the Department of Tourism and the provincial Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environment Affairs in the Free State (DESTEA). The Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA) also participated in the launch. The actual careers expo was held in Bloemfontein from 28 – 30 September, under the theme ‘Tourism alive with Opportunities’. The expo was designed to empower thousands of learners across the country with information on tourism as a career choice through funding opportunities such as learnerships, internships, bursaries and life skills programmes.






Tourism becomes major focus at BRICS Xiamen Summit

During the just ended BRICS Summit in Xiamen, East China’s Fujian Province, how to strengthen relations between the five member countries was one of the top concerns. While economic connections often reveal a bigger picture of the relationship between governments and enterprises, tourism is an excellent barometer of how well the connections between countries are among common civilians. According to statistics released by Airbnb, an online marketplace and hospitality service, over the past decade 4.1 million registered tourists traveled among the five nations. From August 2016 to July 2017, the number of Chinese tourists visiting other BRICS nations doubled, and currently accounts for 43 percent of tourists traveling among the five countries. South Africa, though farther away from China compared to other member countries, also saw in increase of Chinese visitors. According to data from the tourism department of South Africa, in 2016 Chinese travellers made more than 117,000 trips to South Africa, a 38 percent increase from the previous year.


Source: Global Times


Alipay Makes Huge New Push into South Africa


A new arrangement between Ant Financial—the parent company of Alipay—and Zapper, a major South African mobile payments platform, now allows Chinese tourists to take Alipay on the road into the country. With the recent partnership arrangement, Alipay users will be able to use Alipay at the 10,000 merchants in the country that turn to Zapper for mobile payments operations. This includes a surprisingly wide array of tourist-friendly activities like restaurants and bars, as well as theatres and adventure parks.





Cape Town’s Golf Festival draws in tourists

Cape Town’s inaugural Golf Festival, arranged specifically to address the multiple challenges associated with seasonality and boost tourism numbers in the Western Cape during winter has been lauded as “a huge success”. The event was a first in a series of key initiatives, organised by the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA) Cape region. The association, along with the City of Cape Town, Cape Town Tourism, Wesgro and Accelerate Cape forms part of an initiative spearheaded by Mayor Patricia De Lille to assemble a Local Organising Committee (LOC) to combat seasonality in the province. According to tournament organiser, Reg Ferreira the tournament was held on four city golf courses between 21st and 25th August.


Source: Independent Online


Domestic tourism numbers down as South Africans avoid travel

Cash-strapped South Africans are taking fewer local trips‚ and those who do chose to travel‚ are spending less money while doing so. The results of the Statistics South Africa domestic travel survey for 2016 showed that while total expenditure on domestic travel held stable at R87-billion in 2015 and 2016‚ there has been a considerable decline since 2014‚ when South Africans spent R110-billion on local travel. The data looks at two sorts of domestic travel – day trips in which a distance of 40km or more is travelled‚ and overnight trips involving one or more nights spent away from home. The number of day trips South Africans undertook in 2016 saw a marked decline-decreasing from 44.3 million in 2015‚ to 39.4 million in 2016. Overnight trips decreased from 45.4 million in 2015 to 43 million in 2016. The single biggest reason given for not undertaking overnight trips in 2016 was “financial reasons”. The majority of day trips taken in 2016 were for shopping purposes and visiting family and friends.


Source: The Sunday Times


Kulula and British Airways win big at Traveller Africa Awards and British Airways which operated by Comair have been named Best African Low-Cost Airline (kulula) and Best African Regional Short-Haul Airline (British Airways) at the 6th annual Business Traveller Africa Awards, which was held in Sandton on Friday 1st of September 2017. Voting for the winners comprised of a number of sources within the South African business travel industry, including ASATA member travel agents, the African Business Travel Association’s corporate travel buyers, the broader business travel industry and an astute panel of judges, led by SA Tourism Chief Marketing Officer, Margie Whitehouse.

Source: Business Report Online




Tourism Africa



Travelport’s new multiyear full content agreement with Ethiopian Airlines

Travelport, a leading Travel Commerce Platform listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s top airline, announced a new multiyear full content agreement, which sees, Ethiopia’s flag carrier selecting Travelport’s Travel Commerce Platform to promote its full inventory across the globe. Under the agreement, Travelport’s industry leading technology will support Ethiopian Airlines market and retail their offerings, in a more visual and effective way to a network of over 68,000 Travelport-connected travel agents in over 180 countries worldwide. The two companies have also renewed their long-term operator agreement, which will continue to see Ethiopian Airlines distributing Travelport’s technology in the country.

Source: Travel Port / Ethiopian Airlines


Swaziland as golfing destination


The Kingdom of Swaziland with its wealth of culture, abundant wilderness experiences and vast variety of flora and fauna, is marketing itself as a top destination for golfers. Its tourism authority says that, “Catering to the needs and desires of the avid golfer, Swaziland boasts with at least two fully equipped state of the art golf estates; the Nkonyeni Residential Golf Estate and the Royal Swazi Spa Valley resort”. The Nkonyeni Residential Golf Estate features the world-class Championship Golf course, designed by internationally acclaimed golf course architect, Phil Jacobs. And, set in the serenity of the Ezulwini Valley, the 5-star Royal Swazi Spa Valley resort is not only home to some excellent accommodation but is also the perfect place for hosting international golf championships. The Royal Swazi golf course, much like the Nkonyeni Bushveld golf course has been designed to international standards, ensuring that each course is customised to best suit the environment and climate.

Source: Swaziland Tourism Authority



No single airline accident in Africa last year — IATA

For the first time in a decade, Africa did not record any airline accident last year. Globally, 65 accidents with 268 fatalities were recorded last year, but sub-Saharan Africa’s zero passenger fatalities and jet hull losses was its best performance in a decade, thanks to safety regulations the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is pushing. The feat was a major cause for celebration at this year’s Travel Africa Market, West Africa’s biggest event dedicated to travel, tourism and hospitality industry currently underway in Lagos in Nigeria.

Source: GraphicOnline /



Ghana picks 10 awards at Travel Market Confab in Lagos


Ghana’s tourism industry received recognition in September at an Africa Travel Market Conference in Nigeria where the country picked up 10 awards in the travel and tourism sectors. Ten women, including the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mrs Catherine A. Afeku, and the Minister of Aviation, Ms Cecilia Dapaah, were honoured for their respective contributions to the growth of the travel and tourism sectors in Ghana. They were among top 100 African women recognised for their immense contribution to tourism growth as a vehicle for the development of Ghana and Africa in general.


Source: GraphicOnline /


Saint Helena opens to tourism


Made famous by French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte who was exiled there from 1815 until his death in 1821, the island of Saint Helena has long been too remote to be affected by tourism. But this may be about to change. From October 14, the South African company Airlink will begin weekly flights from Cape Town and Johannesburg. Flight time will be about six hours with a stopover in Namibia. Until now, the tiny British territory was only accessible by boat. Located in the South Atlantic to the West of the Namibian coast, Saint Helena is one of the world’s most inaccessible destinations, a fact that figured large in the decision to imprison Napoleon there in the 19th century. Until now visitors to the miniscule British territory of 122 square kilometres have arrived on the Royal Mail Ship St Helena from South Africa, which takes at least five days to reach the island from Cape Town. Not surprisingly, the announcement of the new air link amounts to a revolution for the 5,000-strong community that lives on the volcanic tropical island.

Source: Malay Mail Online


Previously isolated Namibian diamond town Oranjemund now open for tourists

The people of diamond mining town Oranjemund in Naminia are going full out to open their secluded town to the rest of the world. As from 14 October this year, Oranjemund that has always been protected by its isolation, will become an integrated part with the rest of Namibia. The completion of the 100 km stretch of road between Rosh Pinah and Oranjemund is the catalyst in changing the fortunes of this mining town forever. In the past, any traveller to Oranjemund had to be signed in by the Namdeb security team at the gate just outside Rosh Pinah. Then followed a rather arduous trip along the gravel road which hugged the banks of the Orange River for long distances with many potentially hazardous rises and unexpected turns. The new tarred road does away with many of the former hazards and obstacles. As a sign of the relaxation of the former very strict security measures, the monitoring of traffic at the checkpoint outside Rosh Pinah has now been taken over by private security company G4S. Special authorisation from Namdeb is no longer required and the guards only make a log entry of the driver and number of passengers. The new road also opens up the link from South Africa so that tourists travelling through Alexanderbaai can enter Namibia at the border post near Oranjemund.

Source: Namibia



WTM Africa 2018 to Welcome Women in Travel

World Travel Market (WTM) Africa has recently announced the addition of the Women in Travel meet-up to its 2018 programme. Established officially as a social enterprise, Women in Travel aims to leverage the global travel and tourism industry to provide women with the opportunity to fulfil their economic and individual potential through education, engagement and entrepreneurship.


Source: Travel Trade Daily


Rwanda’s Kagame urges conducive environment for Africa tourism


Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame called on African economies to provide a favourable environment that would boost the growth of tourism on the continent. He was speaking at the official opening of the 41st Annual World Tourism Conference recently in Rwanda’s capital city Kigali with a focus on promoting tourism as an engine for economic growth and job creation across Africa. “Harnessing the full potential of tourism industry in Africa will require continued focus and investment on several fronts that fuel the engine of conservation and tourism growth. Strengthening good governance enables us to manage the environment that supports tourist attractions and generation of revenues,” said Kagame.





International tourism – strongest half-year results since 2010

Destinations worldwide welcomed 598-million international tourists in the first six months of 2017, some 36-million more than in the same period of 2016.  At 6%, growth was well above the trend of recent years, making the current January-June period the strongest half-year since 2010. Visitor numbers reported by destinations around the world reflect strong demand for international travel in the first half of 2017, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Worldwide, international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) increased by 6% compared to the same six-month period last year, well above the sustained and consistent trend of 4% or higher growth since 2010.


This represents the strongest half-year in seven years. Mediterranean destinations reported particularly strong growth in the first half of 2017, as reflected in the results for Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+12%), North Africa (+16%) and the Middle East (+9%). This trend is driven by the continued strength of many destinations in the area, combined with a significant rebound in destinations that suffered decreases in previous years, such as Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia. Furthermore, international tourist arrivals through June grew 8% in Northern Europe, 6% in Western Europe and 4% in Central and Eastern Europe. Sub-Saharan Africa recorded 4% more arrivals.


Source: The Financial



Business tourism on the rise


The African region is increasingly becoming a popular tourism destination, fuelled by strong economic growth and rising disposable incomes. Over the years, the key trends in tourism have been changing for the better. Africa is slowly catching up with the rest of the world in terms of tourism with both leisure and business travel prospering. The meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) tourism segment is a new growth frontier in Africa boosted by business travel.





Marriott International scoops two major industry awards


Entrenching its position in Sub-Saharan Africa as a leading hospitality provider in the region, Marriott International bagged two major hotel category awards at the Business Traveller Africa Awards for 2017, recently held in Cape Town. Voted as the Best Business Hotel Group and The Best International Hotel Group in South Africa, the hospitality giant has been recognised for its strong footprint, quality and consistency of service and range of business facilities provided across its portfolio.




Whopping 18.6m tourists to visit Africa in 2017


International travel to Africa is expected to reach 18.6 million this year, thanks to the popularity of destinations like South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Mozambique, Cameroon, Mauritius and Tanzania, which account for 70% of international trips to the Sub-Saharan region. That figure marks a nearly 7% increase compared to 2012, when international arrivals topped out at 16.35 million, reports international market research group Euromonitor. Analysts attribute the growth over the last five years to increased digital integration and cyber connectivity; alliances between hotels, airlines and car rental companies; social media; meta-search engines; the short-term vacation rental market; luxury travel; and niche tourism.


Source: The Sunday Times


Africa’s hospitality industry rises


The face of Africa’s tourism and hospitality sector has transformed almost completely from what was once known as the ‘dark continent’ whose narrative was riddled with stories of famine, poverty and political instability to ‘Africa is open for business’ and home to some of the world’s fastest emerging-market economies. The TopHotelProject database, a platform that receives direct input from the hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors globally proves this to be the case in Africa. The database indicates that, in Africa, 116 hotel projects are in the planning phase, 155 projects are under construction, 36 projects are in the pre-opening phase and 42 projects are near completion.