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International travellers are flocking to SA, and these are the destinations they plan to visit

Things are looking up as many cities in South Africa are showing strong signs of major recovery since the pandemic. Picture: spoba from Pixabay

Things are looking up as many cities in South Africa are showing strong signs of major recovery since the pandemic. Picture: spoba from Pixabay

Published Jul 22, 2022

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After two years of turmoil, the country’s tourism and hospitality industry is now showing strong signs of recovery.

Proof of this is the decision by Sojern, a leading provider of digital marketing solutions for the travel industry, announcing its expansion into South Africa.

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A recent travel trends report shows that domestic flights are booked for immediate travel, while many overseas visitors are booking their December holiday trips to South Africa already.

Interestingly, international travellers are booking further in advance in 2022 than they did in 2019, whereas domestic travellers are booking closer to their departure dates than they did pre-pandemic.

Stewart Smith, Sojern’s Managing Director for the Middle East and Africa, said the company was expanding into South Africa to better serve partners and capitalize on the growing post-pandemic tourism boom.

“South Africa was hit harder than many countries by Covid-19, the travel industry in particular across the country was brought to its knees.

“In the aftermath of the Omicron variant in late 2021, the country is now in a fantastic position to capitalise on global travel recovery and Sojern is launching at a brilliant time to help travel marketers remind travellers why South Africa is one of the greatest countries on earth,” said Smith.

Here are some of the top travel trends it’s identified for South Africa in 2022

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- Flight bookings are up! In May 2022, flight bookings were up 25% on their 2021 levels.

- Some destinations are recovering faster than others: Destinations like Kimberley and Bloemfontein are up, however, others are still a long way off their 2019 booking and search volumes.

- Flight prices are volatile: Covid-19 caused a drastic drop in inbound flight prices, however international fares into South Africa are now in fact higher than their 2019 levels

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- Domestic travel is still booming: 49.9% of flight bookings to South Africa originate in South Africa, demonstrating how crucially important domestic travel is. The UK is 2nd, at 9.3%, with the US ranking 3rd at 5.4%, followed by Germany (4%) and Zimbabwe (2.5%).

How far in advance are people booking?

Most domestic travel is immediate, while overseas visitors are booking their December holiday trips to South Africa already.

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Interestingly, international travellers are booking further in advance in 2022 than they did in 2019, whereas domestic travellers are booking closer to their departure dates than they did pre-pandemic.

“For more than a decade, Sojern’s team of data scientists have analysed the complete traveller path-to-purchase, taking a scientific and data-driven approach to digital marketing,” added Smith.

“We work with brands to create integrated marketing campaigns across multiple digital channels helping them engage with travellers wherever they are in their journey, from dream to destination.

“With South Africa remaining a top travel destination for global travellers we see lots of opportunities for growth throughout 2022. We look forward to building Sojern’s operations and supporting the local travel industry in its rebound,” Smith added

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the South African tourism industry.

Tourism contributed 130 billion rand in 2018 and constituted nearly 3% direct contribution to GDP in South Africa, while the tourism sector contributed about 4.5% of total employment.

But according to the Tourism 2020 report released by Statistics South Africa, in 2020, the volume of tourists decreased by 72.6% from 10.2 million in 2019 to 2.8 million in 2020.

Positioning itself as the key partner for tourism professionals who want to be supported in their ongoing recovery, the company has continued to gain market share in the region.

Smith said: “With Sojern, the South African travel industry can now take advantage of the latest marketing technology to drive direct bookings, increase web traffic, develop loyalty programs, and more -- powered by world-class machine-learning and data science technology.”

Top destinations in South Africa

According to data, these are the destinations that show major recovery.

Cape Town

Cape Town, Picture: martinaH79 from Pixabay

Cape Town in the Western Cape is truly a breathtaking city in south Africa and the world. From its spectacular views to the various adventures, and of course, the good nightlife.

If people are planning their visit to Cape Town they are surely in for a treat. Table mountain, V&A Waterfront, Chapmans Peak, Lionshead and the beautiful beaches in Camps Bay, False Bay, and Seapoint are popular tourist attractions. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone.

The Garden Route

Hawston Coast, Picture: ADD from Pixabay

The Garden Route is a popular scenic driving route in the Western Cape, with much to see such as; green hills, local coastal towns, lagoons, lakes, coastal cliffs and the various wonders of nature.

Knysna Lagoon Picture: Ron Porter from Pixabay

One of the popular holiday destinations on the Garden Route is Knysna. The beautiful town is situated between dense forests and a sparkling lagoon.

Bloemfontein

Bloemfontein, is one of South Africa’s gems, from features of a variety of roses to cheetah experiences. One of the city’s main attractions, for the history lovers, is the Naval Hill Planetarium, Oliewenhuis Art Museum, and Sand du Plessis.

In addition the cheetah experience, animal lovers are able to get up close and interact with cheetahs, lions, leopards, wolves, meerkats, caracals, and cheetah cubs.

Cheetah Cubs Picture: Vishva Patel from Pexels

Durban

Durban, Picture: Liesel Muhl from Pixabay

Durban is the third-largest city in South Africa and features an incredible waterfront, it’s a city that gives you the sense that you are in a whole different country.

The weather conditions are almost, always good, making it the perfect city to relax and soak up the sun on some of the amazing beaches it has to offer.The city hosts some of the best wildlife reserves where the big 5 are a stone’s throw away.

Picture: Taryn Elliott from Pexels

Kimberley

Kimberley ‘se gat’ Picture: Redkite from Pixabay

East London

The small city centre offers a few gems, the well-known attractions include; natural history museum, Victorian-style City Hall, and lest we forget, one of the best African safari’s. If you’re up for a swim, East London has some of the best beaches with fairly warm waters such as , such as Nahoon and Cove Rock.

Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha)

Picture: Sharon Mugridge from Pixabay

It has some of the best and cleanest beaches around. Apart from the beaches, PE is enriched with historical attractions such as, Route 67, the South African Air Force Museum showcasing nine aircrafts , and various Nature Reserves including Kragga Kamma Game Park.

Johannesburg

The city of Gold also known as Jozi is a city that never sleeps; with unique and modernized restaurants, cafés, and various art studios.

The city carries so much history offering guests museums, and a glimpse into the development of Egoli as it is often known, from the early days of the gold rush that brought it economic prosperity, to the fight against Apartheid.

Photo: Gia Conte-Patel from Pixabay

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