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South Africa Tourism soaring high with Indian Travel Trade Partnerships

Besides sharing deep historical, and political ties, tourism plays a very crucial role in uniting South Africa with India. India solidifies its position as one amongst South African Tourism’s top-3 priority markets as South Africa witnessed as much as 43% increase in travellers from across India in 2023.

South African Tourism, a tourism marketing arm of the South African government, concluded its 20th Annual India Roadshow in 5 cities recently: Jaipur (12th February), Delhi (13th February), Ahmedabad (14th February), Bengaluru (15th February) and Mumbai (16th February). The roadshows hosted over 12000 meetings and generated more than 1,60,000 on the spot leads for South African Tourism, making the initiative a grand success.

Coceptualized by Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head – Middle East, India and South East Asia, South African Tourism, the tourism board partnered with the Hosting Venues to offer authentic South African cuisine and a glimpse of its culture to the guests.

With an aim to surpass pre-COVID travel numbers and with a focus on exploring potential of Tier 2 & Tier 3 cities alongwith Tier 1 cities, the board anticipates crossing the 100,000 mark for Indian visitors.

Speaking on the number achieved and mapping the future expectation, Neliswa said,

The 20th Annual India Roadshow marks more than two decades of South African Tourism’s commitment to the Indian market. 2023 emerged as another successful year for us and we witnessed 43% increase in travellers from India compared to its previous year. This achievement would not have been possible without relentless efforts from our Indian trade partners and the affection showered upon the Rainbow Nation by India travellers; we are truly grateful.”

Keeping her spirits high and anchoring a confident future, she continues

“Post resumption of travel activities we have seen India’s outbound tourism market bounce back much stronger compared to rest of the world. Given the immense potential that lies in the Indian market, it continues to remain amongst our top three focus market for 2024 and holds a position of strategic importance. We hope to keep this momentum going and welcome “more & more” Indian travellers to the Rainbow Nation.”

Indians and South Africans also share love for Cricket, Food and Culture.

They share a great relationship both off and on the cricket field. Cricket teams of both countries are counted amongst the fiercest teams in the world. The cricketing roots of India and South Africa date back to the 1990s. Post the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa, India took the lead and was the first country to invite the South African cricket team for their first international series after decades of the boycott. Later, South Africa reciprocated this gesture of goodwill and India became the first country to play a Test series in South Africa during 1992-93, which was a huge moment for South African cricket. South Africa has some of the most popular cricket grounds in the world like Kingsmead Cricket Stadium, Sahara Oval St. George’s Park, and Buffalo Park. The Kingsmead ground is also known for witnessing Yuvraj Singh’s famous record of hitting six consecutive sixers in the 2007 T20 World Cup.

Food is indeed a universal connector – it has the power to transcend cultural and social boundaries. South Africa’s lip-smacking street food, Bunny Chow (also known as the ‘bunny’) has Indian origins. A trip to the Rainbow Nation is incomplete without tasting the famous Bunny Chow. It is said that in the 19th century when both countries were British colonies, Indian migrant workers needed a way to carry their lunch to sugarcane fields. Filling hollowed-out bread loaf with vegetable curry was a convenient way to do this which gave birth to the famous ‘Bunny Chow’. It is believed that it was sold mainly by Indian Baniya community and from there, the term ‘bunny’ has arrived. In the local dialect, the word ‘chow’ is a slang for food.

Durban, the third most populous city of South Africa, shares close emotional and cultural ties with India. The lively culture of Durban is as much Indian as it is South African, making Indians feel at home as soon as you step into the city. In fact, Durban is home to one of the largest Indian communities that reside out of India. Almost every one in three people residing in Durban are of Indian origin. With their rich cultural practices, unique fusion cuisines, and sacred traditions, South African Indians form an integral part of South African society. In every nook and corner of Durban, you will find a glimpse of Indian culture whether it is through flavourful spices and curries, traditional clothing, music or dance. You will be sure to witness a beautiful amalgamation of cultures in Durban which boasts of cultural harmony and peace.

Promoting the destination through the eyes of Indian influencers, Neliswa explaimed that as a country South Africa understands Indians in terms of culture, language, travel requirements and food. Their advertisement campaign are based on, ‘India for India by India within India’.

South Africa is one of the most affordable countries for Indians and in order to entice consumers to explore new provinces, South African Tourism is currently running its flagship “More & More” brand campaign across target cities. The tourism board is also set to host its renown Corporate Think Tank in the coming months to engage with Indian corporates and address their business and MICE travel needs. At present, several stop-over flights fly from India to South Africa, including Emirates, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways and Air Seychelles.

As a government body, South Africa Tourism is committed to meaningfully contributing to the South African government’s objectives of inclusive economic growth, sustainable job creation, and redistribution and transformation of the industry. They are working strongly to create a smooth and easy path for travel formalities like Visa and documents requirements. More and cheaper flights are in the pipeline and scheduled to be launched before the last quarter of 2024. In its mission to invite more tourists, the tourism board will continue with its efforts to improve accessibility and encourage dialogues aimed at establishing direct routes to boost tourism and trade between the two nations.

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