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SA tourism projections for 2019 paint a bleak picture, experts say

06/02/2019

According to Martin Wiest, CEO of Tourvest Destination Management, we can expect a decline in passenger numbers to South Africa and Namibia during 2019. He told the Daily Southern and East African Tourist Update team:

There hasn't been a lot of good news coming out of the destination over the last year and a half. Among other things, the Day Zero' campaign did a considerable amount of damage to South Africa's brand.

He added that the decline of forward bookings could also be traced back to the weakening of the product-price value proposition, as well as the fluctuating currency.

South Africa - now an expensive destination Sabine Blehle, CEO of GoVacation Africa, confirmed this, and explained that South Africa has become too expensive for travellers:

South Africa has been a trend destination for many years, supported by the fact of being extremely affordable. South Africa has, however, become expensive. Travellers that don't have a specific desire to travel to South Africa, basing the decision on budget, would currently not choose South Africa as their holiday destination.

At the moment, tourists' attention are being diverted to countries like Egypt and Turkey. Primarily due to shorter flight times and cheaper packages. Apart from affordability, safety also plays a huge role.

Experts predict that South Africa will emerge from the tourism crisis around June or July 2019. Angela Iacovazzo from TouchDown DMC explains that their company is on a growth trajectory with confirmed bookings for the year ahead.

President Ramaphosa to step in That said, SA's Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, Tourism Business Council of South Africa Chairman Blacky Komani and Chairman Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa is calling on President Ramaphosa to take up the fight for tourism.

They urged President Ramaphasa to reconsider the regulations surrounding immigration. Tshivhengwa wants SA's online visa application processes to be brought up to spec with the rest of the world. He explained:

We can then deal with issues of tourists coming from the visa-carrying countries. Speed up this whole process, so you start to see tourists coming into the country. We need to look at how we recognise visas like Schengen visas and US visas when people want to come to SA.

President Ramaphosa confirmed that he would deal with the visa issues.

Visa issues will be history @TBCZA @sisantshona pic.twitter.com/YquOt9McwX

Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa (@TTshivhengwa) January 29, 2019 Tags: South Africatravel and tourism
LINK: https://www.thesouthafrican.com/sa-tourism-2019-paint-bleak-picture/...
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