Are Our Packages Going Stale?

2nd July 2010

This was the message expressed in Tourism Update’s Marketing Index, conducted with the help of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA) and Grant Thornton. Overseas operators said they wished their trade partners in SA would move away from the generic combinations so regularly packaged together.

 

 But some overseas operators feel their local counterparts are doing a good enough job as it is. James Westrip, Director of Africa Collection based in the, says he believes every destination has a ‘highlights tour’ and tour operators mostly feature these. “In a sense they are the daily bread of our business and they allow us to then market the other areas and more esoteric offerings.”

 

Westrip says Cape Town and the Garden Route with some kind of safari offering, either in the Kruger National Park or the Eastern Cape , is still the most popular route and what clients are asking for. “You could argue that they are led to demand this by marketing, but I believe it is simply a commercial inevitability.”

 

Helga Eickmann, Owner of Cape Tours based in , says first-time visitors are usually keen to see the most well-known destinations in SA and only look to spend time elsewhere if budget and time allow. “Repeaters are likely to concentrate on one or two provinces, often Mpumlanga, Eastern Cape or Western Cape , and then travel by car so that they can spend more time in each destination.”

 

She adds that she believes tour operators are making an effort to include deviations from the standard route, including trips into neighbouring countries, for example Johannesburg via to Durban with some kind of safari offering, either in the Kruger National Park or the Eastern Cape , is still the most popular route and what clients are asking for. “You could argue that they are led to demand this by marketing, but I believe it is simply a commercial inevitability.”

 

Although unusual itineraries are available in some ‘off the beaten track’ destinations around Southern Africa , operators say these won’t necessarily sell. Eickmann says several products don’t work at all for the German market, including birding tours, golf tours, Battlefield trips and, surprisingly, township tours. “Most people are still frightened and prefer to exclude the poor side of the country.”

 

By Sue Lewitton

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