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South Africa

Keeping tourists safe in South Africa

Cape Town – Following the attack and murder of Ukrainian hiker Ivan Ivanov that made international news, the Department of Tourism, said tourism safety has been consistently identified across a number of studies, media and crime reports as a challenge which threatens tourism growth and therefore, foreign direct investment, visitor spending and employment. The department added that there is work underway to ensure that primary concerns are addressed, and these include safety and security. Together with the security agencies, community policing forum and initiatives it is collaborating with other departments and police agencies to identify, address and mitigate risks, challenges and threats impacting on tourist safety as well as businesses in the tourism industry which includes (1) Identification and analysis of key tourism hotspots; (2) Establishment of a database of crime against tourists; (3) Enhancement of tourism built and environment through crime prevention initiatives; and (4) Ensuring the joint implementation of an optimised policing and security strategy in the tourism environment. To that end, the department will gather comprehensive statistics and research, train and educate travel employees and private and public sector service personnel, develop private sector/public sector partnerships, implement programmes of emergency services for travellers and tourists and allocate  adequate resources to the courts, the police and public and private security forces for the protection and general well-being of travellers and tourists.

The true cost of travel visas for South Africans

Cape Town – A recent study conducted by Travel Start between April and July 2019 revealed that 49% of South African travellers say they consciously select overseas destinations with no visa requirements or those that issue a visa on arrival. More than 900 South Africans responded to the study and the results offer insight into the impact visas have on travellers. South African passport holders represented 91% of responses and 48% said they have applied for a visa in the past 12 months. The financial and time cost of travel visas is increasingly onerous for South African passport holders. Tricky documentation requirements, distant visa application centres and drawn-out turnaround times only add to the headache of navigating a visa submission. Despite the inherent inconvenience of visas, South Africans are willing globetrotters and fare well in terms of satisfying requirements with only 4% confessing they have been the subject of a visa refusal. According to the research, most refusals are issued by the United Kingdom, USA and the Schengen area respectively. Several South African passport holders said visa application complications have led them to postpone travel (22%), lose money (17%), cancel an entire trip (10%) and miss flights (6%). South African passport holders can visit 101 countries visa-free (68 visa-free entry, 33 visa on arrival). Among the destinations are Botswana, Brazil, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Israel, Kenya, Mauritius, Qatar, Singapore, Zambia, Zimbabwe – all these countries offer exceptional tourism opportunities and, depending on the airline you choose, are accessible on non-stop flights departing from at least one of South Africa’s three major airports.


Saudis now can travel to South Africa without visa

Pretoria – Saudi citizens will be able to travel to South Africa without a visa from Aug. 15 this year. According to authorities Saudi Arabia, as well as the UAE, would be added to the list of countries whose citizens don’t need a visa to visit. Saudi nationals will now be able to enter South Africa for 90 days for tourism and business. South Africa is the 81st country in the world to welcome Saudis without previously issued entry visa. South Africa has also become the 42nd country to grant entry visa to the Saudis on arrival at the airport. The Saudi embassy in Pretoria said on its Twitter account that the decision will be effective this month. According to the embassy, about 6,000 Saudis visit South Africa every year.

Airbnb host earnings in smaller SA towns soar

Cape Town – There has been a significant increase in host earnings on Airbnb in smaller towns in South Africa, due to guests choosing listings that enable them to explore local neighbourhoods, according to a report released this week. The information is contained in a Genesis Analytics report, which looks at the period from June 2017 to May 2018. Genesis Analytics is an economics-based consulting firm in Africa. The research aims to outline the growth of Airbnb’s tourism and the impact of the economic opportunities created for hosts in South Africa and beyond. According to the report, Mossel Bay, for example, saw a year-on-year increase of over 80%, while Saldanha Bay in the Cape saw an increase of almost 60% over the same period. Host earnings in Garden Route towns such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and George increased by 48%, 58% and 74%, respectively. The report states 1 788 hosts were surveyed, and 651 guests responded to the survey, with Airbnb providing the information. Velma Corcoran, Airbnb country manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, says visitors are discovering local hospitality and hidden gems they might have missed, while supporting new economies and revenue streams that help make local communities stronger. According to the report, from June 2017 to May 2018, the home-sharing platform generated an estimated R8.7 billion for SA’s economy, while from September 2016 to September 2017, it generated roughly R3.6 billion. The report notes that while Cape Town remains the most popular South African destination on Airbnb, guests are also discovering other destinations across the country. The report comes at a time when South Africa has proposed a new Tourism Amendment Bill which is set to be legislated under the Tourism Act. The Bill, published in early April, proposes that small business owners using Airbnb or other home-sharing apps be subject to the same regulations applied to formal establishments such as hotels and guesthouses.


The tour operator who got her business idea at the Reed Dance

Durban – Makhosi Msimango, the founder and owner of Ndzenga Tours and Safari, was seated in her car at the annual reed dance at the Enyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma when she got the idea to start her own tourism business. “I met some international tourists who had come into KwaZulu-Natal from Eswatini (Swaziland) to attend the annual reed dance in Nongoma,” she says. “They did not know what to expect and looked quite lost. One of the females was turned away because she wore pants. This got me thinking about how many other tourists faced the same challenges because they are unsure about the customs and traditions of the country. I realised that there was a need for cultural and township experiences,” she says. She started her business, which specialises in cultural heritage and township experiences, in 2006. The 36-year-old’s business currently has a turnover of R4.6 million.

Source: IOL Travel


Zimbabwe to showcase its tourism industry at Sanganai expo

Bulawayo – India leads a cast of at least 20 countries that have confirmed participation for this year’s edition of Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo. The World Tourism Expo —an annual Tourism Trade Fair organized by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority — runs from 12 to 14 September 2019 at the ZITF Exhibition Center in Bulawayo. It showcases the widest variety of Africa’s best tourism products and attracts international visitors and media from across the world. ZTA Head of Corporate Affairs Godfrey Koti encouraged exhibitors, visitors, buyers, investors to use the opportunity to establish strategic business partnerships with world tourism players. “We can confirm that preparations are at an advanced stage for this mega event and already we have over 250 exhibitors have registered,” Koti said. “This is going to be a two-day event in which we seek to showcase and promote Zimbabwe for MICE, which is Meetings, Incentives Conferences and Exhibitions. We are promoting Zimbabwe as a MICE destination where people come and converge. We want to use this event to further promote that idea, especially with the fact that this exposition is registered under the United Nations World Tourism Organisation calendar.”

Source: IOL Travel News

Ghana says they are open for cultural exchange, tourism, visits and relocation

Accra – It is official that the Ghanaian government is reaching out to folk from the diaspora to consider the African nation as a viable place to visit, relocate, expand investment opportunities and do business with. While working on lifting visa restrictions with many countries there is an excitement all over, which is translating into a rise in people simply making the move. In Ghana, it is the Year of Return and 12 months of celebration plus Panafest, which has seen thousands of travellers making the journey to Prampram, to Kumasi, to the Cape Coast, to Accra, to the many villages and towns in-between. There is the overall welcoming culture—Akwaaba; the productive industry of the people, and the artistry of the music, the fashion and the food. From the malls to the fishing towns, the indigenous are witnessing whole communities from all over the diaspora returning to share in the goodness of the land. While gentrification and the burgeoning foreign investment are raising eyebrows in some quarters, entire neighbourhoods are being built along the Gulf Coast of Guinea creating a peaceful coexistence, as many come with a mutually beneficial skill set—to help in the continued evolution of an African nation which has a proud and regal history. Having said that, variety is the spice of life, and Africa has 54 nations to choose from to visit. For this purpose people like businessman and Homeland Travels and Tours creator Jonathan Adewumi are presenting the opportunities for the willing and able to go to the continent.



Travel Advisors See Growing Demand for Women-Only Tours That Empower

Seattle, USA – A growing array of women-only tours, particularly to the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, are giving Western participants a behind-the-scenes look at how local women live and work in societies quite different than their own. While more complex than the “girlfriend getaways” to spas and resorts that surfaced as a hot travel trend in the early 2000s, these cultural and adventure-oriented tours also reflect strong demand for female-centric travel. Travel Leaders Group’s 2019 Travel Trends Survey of advisors found that women-only journeys and active/adventure travel are among the top specialty-travel trends across all ages. “There’s tremendous interest in experiential travel among women,” said Beth Whitman, owner of WanderTours, a Seattle-based company that offers primarily women-only tours to an expanding number of destinations in Southeast Asia, Africa, South America, Europe, and the Middle East. “While I can only speak for my tours, we’re finding that women really like the comradery of traveling with each other. It’s a sisterhood.”