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SA travellers' top 10 fastest growing destinations

According to analysis conducted by Travelport, the countries that have seen the greatest growth in flight bookings from travellers in South Africa in the last 12 months are Mauritius, Thailand and Zimbabwe. This data, derived from Travelport's interpretation of relevant MIDT data reflects bookings made in South Africa through GDS only. Additional booking will have been made directly with airlines, which may or may not also have a GDS presence.
Ymon via Pixabay - Mauritius

From 1 September 2017 to 31 August 2018, bookings made in South Africa through all global distribution systems (GDS) to Mauritius increased by 17,764, up 17% on the previous 12 months. Bookings to Thailand from South Africa over the last 12 months rose by 12,602, up 27%, and to Zimbabwe by 9,506, up 20%.

Fastest-growing destinations for travellers in South Africa booked through global distribution systems
RankDestinationVol. Increase% Change
1Mauritius17,76417%
2Thailand12,60227%
3Zimbabwe9,50620%
4United Arab Emirates9,47417%
5Turkey6,83763%
6Indonesia6,13551%
7United Kingdom5,1545%
8Namibia4,6639%
9China4,29110%
10Netherlands3,62720%

*This data is derived from Travelport’s interpretation of relevant MIDT data. It reflects bookings made in South Africa through GDS only. Additional booking will have been made directly with airlines, which may or may not also have a GDS presence. 

Global distribution systems (GDS), a hi-tech reservation group of networks allow travel agents, travel management companies and large corporations, among others, to search and book airline seats, hotel rooms, rental cars, and other travel related items. Globally in 2017, Travelport alone processed 1 trillion transactions through its platform.

Travelport’s managing director for Africa, Guido Verweij said: "Mauritius holds great appeal for South African travellers. Just a four-hour flight away and with a multitude of beautiful beach resorts to choose from, the Indian Ocean island offers competitively priced package deals to suit all pockets. Mauritius also offers a number of incentives to offshore investors, which continue to help it attract large South African corporates to set up major offices.

"While Zimbabwe has long been a contentious destination for South Africans, following its economic and political stabilisation we’ve seen a spike in bookings to the country, which boasts stunning destinations like Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe has also seen new carriers like Fastjet introduce direct flights from Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport. Thailand remains a cost-effective getaway with exotic appeal. Straightforward visa laws and a huge variety of package deals available throughout the year for South African travellers makes this location a good value purchase."

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Turkey completed the top five positions in the table compiled by Travelport.

The UAE saw an increase of 9,474 (+17%) in bookings made in South Africa through all GDS. With an increase in bookings of 63% (+6,837), Turkey was the biggest mover in terms of percentage growth out of the ten countries with the largest volume growth. Indonesia was also a big riser, registering a 51% increase (+6,135) in booking from South Africa through all GDS over the last 12 months.

Verweij added: "Travelport has invested significantly in developing cutting-edge analytics products for travel agents and airlines because we recognize the impact they can have on their revenue. Even relatively straightforward booking analysis, like we have done here, can help travel agents evolve the packages they offer in line with traveller demand and support airlines in identifying needs to increase or decrease flight capacity on certain routes.

"We are already seeing business won and lost through the effective analysis of industry, business and competitive data, and this will only happen more in the years to come as companies become more sophisticated in how they use it."
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