South African Tourism officials are not resting on their oars when it comes to driving more Nigerian tourists to their country. Rather South Africa is using Nigeria as a hub to attract additional tourists from the West African sub-region. This much was reiterated at a travel workshop in Lagos, writes Demola Ojo…
The Nigerian’s inclination to travel is not limited to seeking pastures new as many think and as some Western media houses may portray. It is innate in the Nigerian to explore for fun. This - along with the fact that the Nigerian traveler is generally an impulsive spender - has made upper and middle class citizens of the country the target of nations who see tourism as an avenue to increase their GDP and augment other sources of income. Not surprisingly, the country that has expended more time, energy and resources in attracting the Nigerian is South Africa. The “rainbow nation” has decided to use tourism as an avenue to bolster its image in the comity of nations after years of apartheid rule. Tourism has also been an added avenue for funds, limiting its dependence on its famed gold and diamond trade.
Annual Travel Trade Workshop
If the fact that Nigeria is key to South Africa’s tourism growth is in doubt, its annual travel trade workshop held at the Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos allays it. At this year’s edition held penultimate Thursday, South African Tourism reiterated that Nigeria would remain the hub of all its marketing activities in the West Africa sub-region. “Nigeria as a hub for South African Tourism marketing activities will cater for countries in the West African region including Ghana which has been identified as a tactical market for SA Tourism marketing initiatives”, said Phumi Dhlomo, SAT’s Regional Director for Africa.
Dhlomo explained that SA Tourism held the annual workshop in Nigeria because the country is a core source market for arrivals into South Africa from the West Africa sub-region and it presented the opportunity to share SA Tourism’s marketing and activation calendar for the year with the trade, consumers and the media. The workshop and other initiatives seem to be bearing fruits. From January to December 2011, about 64, 402 Nigerians visited South Africa. The figure, compared to the 2010 Nigeria tourists arrivals for same period, represented 37.5% increase.
Increase in Nigeria Arrivals in SA
So far this year, there has been 21.4% increase on Nigeria arrivals in South Africa from January to May 2012 compared to the same period in 2011. At the workshop, more than a hundred and fifty West African trade partners from Nigeria and Ghana attended, alongside South African product owners who included hoteliers, inbound tour operators, provincial tourism boards and airlines. The purpose of the workshop was to introduce South African products to the West African travel agents, with South African product owners exhibiting while West African tour operators attended the workshop to shop for products, negotiate rates and conclude deals. In executing the new regional strategy to include Ghana trade, SA Tourism invited top performing travel agents from the country to attend the workshop in Lagos, Nigeria on an all expense paid trip, this obviously with the intent to spread its tentacles to one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Ambassador Monaisa: Africa Must Introduce Standard of Excellence
Declaring the workshop open, the South African Consulate General in Lagos, Ambassador Mokgethi Sam Monaisa, stated that Africa as a whole must introduce standard of excellence in order to compete globally in the tourism industry. The diplomat further challenged Africa to ensure the tourism industry of the continent grabs the increased market share of tourists’ arrivals as predicted by the World Bank and the World Tourism Organisation (WTO). Interestingly, two travel consultants; Ms. Mopesola Olubukola Bayode of Dvine Travels & Tours Bureau Ltd and Mr. Azeez Akindunni of Royal Travel Plus & Tours Limited were lucky winners of a raffle draw which took place at this year’s event. Both winners got an all expense paid trip to Cape Town & Johannesburg sponsored by SA Tourism, South African Airways and Radisson Blu; obviously to help spread the South African Tourism story.