KZN gears up for more Chinese travellers
05 January 2020 | Web Article Number: ME201917575
A conference to strengthen trade relations between China and South Africa and to attract Chinese travellers to the country took centre stage at a China Ready trade engagement hosted by Tourism KwaZulu-Natal in partnership with South African Tourism Asia Pacific in Durban recently.
To better understand the needs of discerning Chinese travellers and to ensure KZN’s readiness for this market and imminent growth, a workshop with key role players was held to share market insights with the trade; to equip trade on how to better package KZN for the Chinese market; to gain an authentic cultural experience; and to strengthen trade relations.
Mansoor Mohamed, Hub Head for SA Tourism Asia Pacific said South Africa was already receiving a sizeable share of the Chinese market and “we believe that if we go into this market with more travel options, we can possibly increase this market immensely”.
“We have done in-depth research on this market and we truly believe that KwaZulu-Natal has all the makings of a destination that this market will be keen to explore. The Chinese market is keen to experience different historical sites, places of rich history and heritage and breath-taking sceneries, all of which KZN has and more.”
China is a key source market for KZN. South African Tourism confirmed that in 2016 Chinese travellers made more than 117 000 trips to South Africa, a 38 percent increase from the previous year and of which 1350 came to KZN.
According to Stats SA, about 96 900 Chinese tourists travelled to South Africa in 2018.
In January 2019, tourism spend increased at 22% over January 2018 and in 2018 increased at 69% over 2017 mostly due to the increase in length of stay and an increase in average daily spend.
Thulisile Galelekile, General Manager: Marketing for Tourism KZN, said, “China has been identified as one of the biggest tourism markets in the world and we definitely have our eyes set on having a piece of that pie. It is for this reason that we wanted to make sure that our trade partners on the ground are better prepared to host this market.
“We are also reviewing our marketing tools to better promote KZN to this market. Key market insights indicate that We Chat is a massive marketing tool in China and we are definitely looking to explore such avenues in our marketing efforts to conquer this market.”
Members of the tourism trade in KZN in attendance at the trade engagement were excited at the prospect of penetrating this lucrative market.
Sastri Ramiah, a panel speaker and the owner of the Olive Convention Centre in Durban, said, “I have been travelling to China for the past 12 years on business and the country fascinates me”.
“I attended the Canton Fair in Guangzhou, China to experience the largest import and export trade fair in the country which brought about different ideas for expanding the Olive Convention Centre and Ice Rink, which we believe could be one of the must visit attractions for that market for KZN.”
Vusumuzi Kweyama, a panel speaker and Director at Vuka Africa Tours and Training in Botha’s Hill and Co-founder and Director at 1000 Thrills, a tour agency in Inchanga, west of Durban said, “We have learnt that the China market is very tech-savvy and therefore, we are also looking at ways to improve our facilities to ensure that our products and service offerings deliver what they are accustomed to.”
Bradley Glenn, Director at Ballito travel agency Inside Edge, also on the panel, said: “The Chinese want to feel welcomed in KZN and we do not need to do big things. We need to carefully look at how we sell our products so the Chinese can trust the trade market to conduct business in KZN.”