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American Visitors Are South Africa’s Fastest Growing Tourism Market

South Africa is becoming a hot spot for American tourism, and experts say it’s increasing. The North American sector of South African Tourism hosted the U.S. Market Access Workshop to discuss the influx of American tourists and projections for years to come. The workshop provided industry executives with best practices and resources on how they can take advantage of the fast-growing tourism market the country is seeing. Travel Market Report provided some takeaways from the workshops provided by Program Director Jerry Mpufane, Hub Head of South African Tourism North America. In 2022, the U.S. delivered 262,183 arrivals into South Africa (220 percent over 2021) and 70 percent of the 2019 pre-pandemic levels, placing them just behind the UK. There has been a 45 percent increase in airline capacity from the U.S. since 2019. Holiday travelers are booking 4 to 11 months in advance and are spending approximately 12 months in South Africa. Western Cape is the most popular destination for American travelers. Neesha Pillay, South African Tourism’s Head of Insights, shared that the country’s accessibility by flight has had a significant impact. Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have flights directly into the country from American hubs. The access has given American travelers the opportunity to explore the world. “People no longer collect products. They gather experiences which they can share.” said Pillay during her presentation.

Pillay suggested that the next step to increasing tourism would be for officials and destination partners to work on lowering barriers around health and safety. The term for travelers the country has been seeing was referred to as “Adventurous Trendsetters.” Shelby Johnson, VP, Partner of Travel and Mobility Strategy at UM Worldwide, based the alias on their readiness to use their disposable income for travel experiences. The travelers financially prioritize making long-haul, expensive trips providing deep, untapped value for South African tourism. The report stated that “Adventurous Trendsetters” are “willing to pay more for truly unforgettable brands and experiences. They crave the rush of living on the wild side and chasing thrilling experiences on the unbeaten paths they’re charting around the globe. They view travel as more than a passion but a fundamental facet of their self-identity that they are willing to splurge on.” Johnson’s segment echoed Pillay’s as she said these new travelers would rather pay for experiences that provide cultural immersion.

They want to explore the rich heritage and traditions of the area, but still want the availability of luxurious upgrades. Shaun T. Whitley, CRO and co-founder of Travel Relations LLC, highlighted the importance of South Africa increasing its relationships with North American travel advisors. According to Travel Market Report, more than 128,000 travel advisors are working across the U.S. and Canada. Whitley suggested that small businesses in the area should begin working with host agencies and advisors directly rather than through a go-between. He provided suggestions on how to build those relationships via sales calls, trade shows, webinars and trade portals on their websites with travel advisor resources. The end of the workshop focused on how South Africa can attract the U.S. Black leisure travel market. The session was led by Stephanie M. Jones, MBA, founder and CEO of Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance, Inc. (CHEA). Black travelers are following their desire to discover and learn more about their African heritage and ancestral roots. Travel Market Report notes that “in 2019, USA Black leisure travelers spent $109.4 billion on travel, representing 13.1% of the USA leisure travel market.” Jones suggested connecting with Black travel influencers, media outlets and travel trade shows would ensure increased interest in the area.

South Africa was Africa’s fourth most visited country in 2022. The country saw 5.7 million tourists during the year.

Martie Bowser is a journalist and public relations professional in Charlotte, NC. She enjoys amplifying the voices of POC and women that fill a void within their community. Her favorite things to cover include “person of interest” pieces, small business highlights, pop culture commentary, entertainment features, and everything about Beyoncé. Her bylines can be found in Blavity, Black Excellence, Signature Bride, Black Wall Street Times, and HipHop Weekly. Martie can be reached via email at martiebowser@detourxp.com.

Source : MIAMI