India is a key target market for future growth, says Tourism Minister
The Western Cape provincial government of South Africa is planning to up their marketing activities in key markets to enhance tourist footfall. According to Alan Windie, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Western Cape Government, the strategy is to enhance tourism receipts from the current ten per cent to 15 per cent to the provincial economy over a period of time.
Windie said that tourism is a major economic driver for Western Cape and is estimated to be ZAR 24 billion business. “We had invested a lot of amount on infrastructure development prior to 2010 FIFA World Cup, and now we have to market it. Destination marketing is an area where we have to work hard now,” he said. Windie said that there has been a visible change in travellers’ perspective towards Africa of late, but innovative marketing tools are required to reach out to customers. Citing a survey, he said that 90 per cent of the people who visited South Africa during FIFA World Cup wanted to come back again, but complained about lack of information about the destination.
Later speaking to TravelBiz Monitor, the Minister said that Indian market played a key role for tourism growth of the province and they have been registering growth in excess of 30 per cent year-on-year. South Africa in general and Western Cape in particular has lot of synergies with Indian market, he added, citing historical relationships between the countries. “With South Africa becoming a part of BRICS, it is pretty much easier now to market ourselves in India,” Windie said. Cape Town, the provincial capital, and the province in general has been quite popular with Indian film industry for long, he added. “We want more films to be shot here. Western Cape is the melting pot of diverse and unique culture. Natural heritage and people are our biggest assets,” he said.
Windie said that the province was keen to increase marketing activities in the Indian market. Indians being late decision-makers, it was important for South Africa to improve the visa delivery system to make it easier and faster, he observed. “We know there is scope for improvement in this area, and we are on it. We have various delegations visiting India quite often, they discuss measures for removing such blockages,” he said.
Agreeing that air connectivity between India and South Africa is an issue, Windie said that South Africa can become a “conduit” and “gateway” for countries in the Southern Hemisphere. He said that talks are on between South Africa and Brazil in this connection, and some airline companies have shown interest in this regard.