South African Tourism gets A+ for China Roadshow

29 September 2021

South African Tourism

South African Tourism (SA Tourism) is upbeat and encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the participating South African exhibitors at the 2021 SA Tourism Virtual Roadshow and Virtual Fam hosted from 13 to 17 Sep 2021.

Nearly 40 South African exhibitors and no less than 150 Chinese buyers completed 1,196 meetings during the week-long SA Tourism Virtual Roadshow and Virtual Fam, utilising a B2B technology platform developed by Dragon Trail.

More than 90 per cent of the exhibitors who responded to the satisfaction survey post the event indicated they were ‘satisfied’, and all went well with the event. They rated the quality of Chinese buyers with 4,14 stars out of five and said they will most likely attend the next edition of the roadshow in 2022. They asked that SA Tourism host it every six months instead of annually.

South Africa’s Ambassador to China, Dr Siyabonga Cwele, opened the roadshow and said: “Our government is implementing the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan. It focuses on stimulating domestic demand, protecting core tourism infrastructure and scaling up marketing to reignite International demand. The aim is to preserve the tourism industry’s contribution of R189-billion to the economy and save 125,000 jobs by 2023. Furthermore, South Africa is pursuing an integrated global approach to tourism recovery and drawing lessons from global best practices by working through multilateral institutions and platforms. Therefore, the Virtual Road Show is important to the recovery of the South African tourism industry. China is, without doubt, one of the most important markets in tourism and South Africa’s trade, and the recovering situation in China is very encouraging”.

SA Tourism acting chief executive officer, Sthembiso Dlamini, said: “We are happy with the positive feedback we have received as it indeed is a great sign that the tourism sector recovery is well on its way. We are encouraged by the level of engagement that we have received from all our exhibitors and partners. They came to the virtual platform with a collaborative spirit and a strong commitment to reigniting travel from this market. While we have a lot of work to do to promote our destination and make sure that Chinese visitors choose to visit South Africa, we are pleased that we still have products that appeal to this market post outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. We know many businesses in our sector did not survive.”

“SA Tourism will intensify its tourism recovery strategy by starting to plan for the next edition of the roadshow, and I welcome all qualified South African product owners to consider the lucrative Chinese market. We will be launching our third edition of the China Ready Workshop later this year to help the tourism sector in South Africa understand the Chinese market opportunities better and to prepare well for the next edition of the roadshow,” Ms Dlamini added.

The praise and positive feedback was received from various stakeholders.

Thabisile Mthethwa of Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN) said: “TKZN is delighted to have been part of the roadshow. We found the platform useful, and the system was easy to navigate. We engaged over 30 buyers who reached out to us. The roadshow is a ‘must do’ for TKZN as it allows us an opportunity to engage and build relations with China trade while raising awareness for destination KZN.”

Bryce Young, co-founder of WOLO (We Only Live Once) Travel, said: “The SA Tourism China Virtual Roadshow was an excellent event and our team at WOLO Travel came away excited for what lies ahead for the travel and tourism industry. It was great to reconnect with old partners and also have the opportunity to meet dozens of new industry professionals.”

Any accommodation provider, attraction, DMC or any tourism service provider is welcome to join the next edition of the SA Tourism China Virtual Roadshow in March 2022 by first registering for the China Ready Workshop, planned for 1 December 2021, by clicking on this link.

In 2019 nearly 100,000 Chinese tourists visited South Africa.