This weekend, the tourism body is hosting 44 tour operators who have a large international customer reach, showcasing the best of the province in its KZN Travel Academy programme.
“We are thrilled to be hosting this travel academy for a second year and it’s good to see that it is becoming a must-attend academy for our trade partners.
“That shows it has become a valuable tool they use with which to better sell and package KwaZulu-Natal,” said Phindile Makwakwa, acting chief executive at TKZN.
Big-name operators such as Springbok Atlas, whose key markets are the UK, the Americas and Germany, are participating. Another important agency, said Makwakwa, was Thompsons Africa, which brings tourists from the UK, Germany, the US, China and India to KwaZulu-Natal.
The agents will meet local hospitality product owners from around the region, and will then later explore various tourism hot spots with the intention of selling KwaZulu-Natal as a destination of choice.
“There is nothing better than seeing and getting a feel for a destination.
“It is also going to be worthwhile for them to meet our local trade partners like hotels, B&Bs and the various attractions and destinations, and to partner with them to offer their customers back home and around the world good deals and packages for KwaZulu-Natal. The idea is for them to convert their newfound knowledge and experiences into bookings,” she said. Increased bookings would boost the economy and create and sustain jobs in the tourism sector.
“Tourists are often our best destination ambassadors, particularly in this digital era. They return home and talk about the great time they have had and where they have gone, which sometimes inspires their friends and relatives to consider visiting KwaZulu-Natal for their next holiday,” said Makwakwa.