Interview

African tourism market brims with international tourists

After a short period of sluggish tourist influx from worldwide, the tourism market is returning to its growth phase. Among the companies eyeing for a large chunk of the success-pie, Africa Incoming, the destination management company is bound for success. Its main target is ‘to motivate people to travel to this beautiful continent called AFRICA,’ hence arranges personalised trips to various parts of the continent. Sanchit Ahuja, Director, Africa Incoming, shared his views with Satyaki Dutta, Special Correspondent, Netpal Travel EZine at TTF Kolkata 2019, on the contribution of Indian tourists as their potential market

  • Tell us something about yourself, your work locations and market preference 

Based in Johannesburg, South Africa we majorly cover the southern African countries. Besides South Africa, we also cover Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles and Mauritius.  Indian market is very potential and well-established for us and hence we cater to all the destinations they prefer. Alternatively, European and South American markets also have prospects to travel with us. We serve a total of twelve countries and we offer six of them to Indian customer base.

  • Which sector of travellers do you get mainly in the South African countries?

It is majorly leisure, but several corporate events have also come up because of the rise in the number of increased flights. There are lot of flights from Mumbai to South Africa. MICE  is getting bigger as well. The tourism board has already invested in the infrastructure, hence supports a lot in organising the tours and trips.

  • What percentage of travellers’ traffic you received in 2019 so far if compared to 2018?

In 2018, there was water crisis in Cape Town. Even though, it was portrayed as massive all over, but it was not in reality. So the number of travellers plummeted but now, the condition is getting better. We are getting lot of confirmations from the groups. We have many Gujarati people from Ahmadabad who tend to travel in groups whom we missed in 2018 because of the rumour. Now the graph has gone up to at least 25 percent more from 2018.

  • Please inform about your future plans?

We are trying to participate in all the exhibitions happening in India because it is the most potential market for South Africa. We are waiting for the direct connection of the airlines hence the number can go high up. I try to be present from Johannesburg in all the exhibitions to promote tourism in India preferably in February, August, September, which are the off-seasons in South Africa tourism. I am receiving very good response henceforth.

  • What are the international events that you attend?

We try and attend as many as international events are possible like WTM, ITB, IMTM and many more

  • What are the marketing strategies you have?

We have a very big IT team. Apart from the exhibitions, we keep on doing the SEO, SMO, Google AdWords, thus enhance our brand development. We are getting very good traffic in our website too. The website is so big that we have more than five hundred IT people working on it.

  • Do you organise any events or roadshows?

We organise events and roadshows, in some restaurants or pubs for thirty to forty travel agents from a city.

  • What are your views on Kolkata as a potential market?

The people are very travel-freak here and it is a very good market for Africa if you compare it to other Indian cities. People of Kolkata love wildlife which they find there.

  • Do you have any educative tool for the travel trade?

As we are just a three-year-old company, we yet not started anything like that but in future, we will surely come up with it. Presently we have a staff of five people in India who educate the agents who do not know about Africa, or how to sell it. We have a 100-slide training presentation for them which our staff carries to their office and teach them how to sell the destination.

  • Do you do FAM trips?

Yes, twice a year. It is for the agents mainly and two media professionals as well. It is a very small FAM as of now, 16 people in each.

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