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South Africa was fully showcased at the 2024 Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB) in Berlin, Germany, held from the 5th to the 7th of March.  From hospitable people to majestic landscapes, vibrant township experiences to serene nature escapes and from scenic wine routes to delectable and diverse dishes, the country was promoted in all its splendour.

South African Tourism presented a united front at the world’s largest travel trade show, ITB. Led by Chief Executive Officer, Nombulelo Guliwe and joined by no less than 63 exhibitors including 14 SMMEs representing diverse product offerings, team South Africa attended ITB in a move targeted at boosting international arrivals to South Africa while sustaining the sector’s ongoing recovery and growth momentum.

Speaking on the sidelines of the trade show, Guliwe said she had received positive feedback from the exhibitors on the stand who were upbeat and positive about the meetings they had.

“I have received great feedback from exhibitors at the stand who said that the quality of the buyers they have met with has already proven to yield positive results. Some of the exhibitors already have confirmed bookings emanating from their meetings here at ITB. This is what makes our presence at this trade show worthwhile,” said Nombulelo Guliwe.

In addition to the meetings held, on the first day of the trade show, South Africa cemented its presence and brand positioning at an event attended by close to 40 members of the media and trade.

“We welcomed 8.4 million international visitors to our country last year, 75% of which was attributable to Africa. ITB is a global trade show but given its location, there are more buyers from the Europe market at ITB. With Europe being a key source market for South Africa, this show is a good platform for us to invest our efforts in as we strive to grow our tourism numbers even further.”

South Africa welcomed 1.2 million tourists from Europe last year, marking a 38.2% increase

compared to the same period in 2022. Among European countries, the United Kingdom remained the top source market, with 356,160 tourists choosing South Africa, representing a 25.8% growth compared to 2022. German tourists also increased by 41.6% to reach 245,259,” Guliwe said.

Drawing from key insights, South Africa’s message to all the partners was clear – the destination has a wide variety of unique tourism products and offerings geared to cater for various traveller needs.

During the trade show, Guliwe also highlighted new products that are set to increase South Africa’s appeal.

South African Tourism also arranged a special event for SMMEs which was attended by members of media and trade. This initiative afforded these enterprises a unique opportunity to garner exposure and to showcase their array of products and services.

“This particular event was specifically tailored and targeted as a platform for these businesses to have more closer and meaningful connections with key trade partners potentially securing collaborations and contributing to their growth and development,” adds Guliwe.

In addition to this, South African Tourism was joined by South African National Parks (SANParks) in showcasing the country’s diverse sustainable experiences and products that allow visitors to revel in the beauty of South Africa and its warm people while simultaneously making a direct, positive impact on the well-being of nature and local communities.

The focus on sustainable tourism is further based on insights which reveal that many visitors prioritise supporting sustainable tourism experiences and a growing interest among travellers in exploring cultural experiences. Guliwe emphasised South African Tourism’s commitment to supporting township and rural tourism establishments, as these are at the heart of providing authentic and immersive cultural experiences.

“At SANPArks, we are largely known for the “big 5” experience through our world-renowned areas such as Kruger National Park. We, however, have much more varied offerings in our parks. We feature diverse landscapes, marine life and rich cultural heritage sites. We encourage our visitors to venture into lesser-known parks,” said Ms. Kaula Nyilenda-Mphaphuli, Managing Executive: Tourism Development and Marketing.

Promising the potential visitors an unforgettable experience, Guliwe said South Africa was a country of exceptional people and this trait extends to the tourism offerings and hospitality with which visitors are met.


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