Boosted by growth of nearly 10% from the German tourism market in 2011 and by strong confidence and partnerships with the South African and German tourism trade, South Africa has concluded yet another successful appearance at ITB in Berlin, the world's biggest travel and tourism trade show.
With 46 South African tourism products across all sectors of the tourism value chain showcasing their wares and conducting hundreds of business meetings to stimulate trade to South Africa, ITB was again a busy and important time to promote tourism to South Africa in Germany and the rest of Europe.
SA evening for German trade and media
Among the exhibitors at ITB this year were the nine provincial winners of the Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year (ETEYA) competition, brought to Berlin by South African Tourism to gain invaluable international business experience and to expose their products to the German trade.
With the German market responding well to South Africa's lifestyle tourism offering, another highlight at ITB was a South African evening for German media and trade which featured tourism attractions and experiences from all nine provinces, including golf, wildlife, fashion, culture, heritage and outdoor adventures, South African food and wine and a show-stopping fashion show by South African designer Bongiwe Walaza.
SA remains relevant for German tourists
South Africa's Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk, addressing German trade and media at ITB, cited persistence and continued innovation as key to the impressive growth to date. "Germany is currently rated our third biggest tourism market, contributing more than 9% of total tourist spend. Our 2011 figures from Germany are promising and show a continued demand for South Africa's unparalleled tourism offering and demonstrates that South Africa remains relevant, dynamic and innovative in our response to the changing needs to the German traveller as we look to defend and grow our core European markets," said Van Schalkwyk.
Walaza, who was an integral influencer in the German tourism market through various campaigns over the last year, continues to be enthusiastic about the prospects of growing German arrivals to South Africa, especially in the lifestyle arena. "It is so important to encourage Germans to visit our country also because of the economic impact they have, especially in the smaller communities they visit to experience our authentic traditions and cultures."
"ITB Berlin 2012 has been a great opportunity for South Africa, perhaps more so than ever before," says Theresa Bay-Müller, South African Tourism country manager in Germany. "We've got big plans for the German market, we've grown market share and confidence in destination South Africa is stable. The emphasis of our communication is key to future growth here, especially given German travel trends and a repeat visitor rate of over 40%."