South Africa makes big push to draw more visitors from China
With increasing accessibility and affordability, South Africa continues to be the destination of choice for Chinese travelers seeking year-round sunshine, authentic cultural experiences and jaw-dropping adventures.
And to capitalize on this trend, South African Tourism kicked off a media roadshow in Beijing recently for its 2018 promotions.
Key tourism marketing, trade and media initiatives were unveiled at the event.
As part of the promotions, media familiarization tours, marketing collaborations and travel trade learning programs across China are to be organized.
Separately, Standard Bank and the Industrial Commercial Bank of China launched their "I Go South Africa" loyalty programme in partnership with South African Tourism, offering a range of discounts and special offers from South African and Chinese merchants across the travel, hospitality and lifestyle sectors.
Speaking about the event, South African Tourism's Asia-Pacific President Bradley Brouwer, says: "The turnout (at the show) was spectacular and South African Tourism is excited to share the Rainbow Nation's robust calendar of events underlining the unique and compelling 'bucket list' of experiences and attractions we offer to China's constantly growing tourism market."
The roadshow also highlighted 2018 as a milestone marking the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between South Africa and China.
This year, South African Tourism also plans to continue promoting its leisure, business and meetings, incentives, conferences, and events tourism schemes.
Meanwhile, in line with the worldwide boom in Chinese tourism, China has become one of South Africa's core tourism markets, with visitor numbers soaring by a remarkable 38 percent in 2016 to 117,144.
In a related development, South Africa opened visa facilitation centers in nine Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xi'an and Shenyang.
Two more are scheduled to open in Kunming and Chongqing soon.
As for connectivity between the two countries, Air China runs non-stop flights between Beijing and Johannesburg via a code share agreement with South African Airways, and later this year, Cathay Pacific will launch a direct service from its hub in Hong Kong to Cape Town, providing the South African city with its first nonstop route from Asia.
"With these initiatives, as well as a favorable exchange rate, it is now easier and more convenient than ever to visit South Africa," says Brouwer.
South Africa is hoping to attract Chinese visitors with its rich tourism resources, which range from wildlife safaris and nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites to world-class wineries, great value shopping and dining experiences, and its unforgettable marine tourism attractions.
"Our focus is also on authentic cultural people-to-people experiences that make the 'Rainbow Nation' so unique," adds Brouwer.