Tourism KZN will be showcasing what the province has to offer, including getaways in the Drakensberg, at the ITB Berlin trade show this week.
DURBAN - Tourism  KwaZulu-Natal is preparing for one of the world’s biggest trade shows, ITB Berlin, to network with exhibitors and contacts to drum up business for the province.

The show, which runs from March 6-9, is one of the “must-see” tourism exhibitions, and showcases the products and services of more than 10000 exhibitors from more than 180 countries and regions.

“KwaZulu-Natal has embraced the global and fast-moving pace of connecting people and cities with the recent introduction of direct British Airways flights to Durban from London. The ITB allows the European market like Germany, which is our top three international source markets, to make their travel seamless.

“German visitors mostly travel to the province for leisure, rather than business and we are confident our presence at ITB sends a signal that we are back to show more of what we have on offer,’’ said Phindile Makwakwa, acting chief.

The strong euro currency, the province’s good weather and leisure safari packages makes KZN a great holiday destination, especially for German visitors.

“ITB is a great platform to again gain access and meet up with our various trade partners, to drive awareness about our destination and encourage them to include KZN in their brochures and packages.

“The exhibition is also attended by trade tourism buyers from other countries and this platform provides us with a bigger network of buyers so we can ultimately grow our international tourism arrivals,” Makwakwa added.

TKZN works closely with various partners in the German market including Dertour, Thomas Cook, South African Airways, Tourvest and Knecht Resein to make in-roads into this market, with an aim of driving awareness of the destination and encouraging.

The other top five long-haul source markets for KZN are the UK, the US, Netherlands, France and India.

Statistics show that 48958 German holiday-makers have visited KwaZulu-Natal in 2016, boosting the local tourism economy and helping to sustain jobs in the hospitality sector.

The German market is the world’s third leading generator of international tourism expenditure ($79.9billion in 2017) and South Africa’s third most important long-haul market.

There was a 13.5% increase in the number of German tourists to the country between 2014 and 2016. German visitors also contributed the third highest amounts to South African tourism in 2016 (R4.4bn) after the UK (R7.5bn) and the US (R6.2bn).

Most Germans (58%) still use the traditional method of booking their long-haul holidays: through the retail travel agencies.

THE MERCURY