South Africans are globe-trotting adventurers, index travel report shows

Tower Bridge in London. Picture: Instagram

Tower Bridge in London. Picture: Instagram

Published Dec 7, 2022


Bryte Insurance Company Limited’s inaugural Travel Index Report provides interesting insights into the behaviours of South African travellers before and after the pandemic, and one thing is for sure – we are globe-trotting adventurers.

Whether for family fun, solo adventure, a romantic escape or business travel, a “heita!” or “howzit!” are commonplace from New York and Bangkok to the picturesque beaches of Mauritius.

The report, compiled by one of the largest travel insurers in South Africa, states that the UK is the No 1 international destination for South Africans. it is also one of the world’s most important business travel destinations. Mauritius, US, Italy, Thailand, France, Australia, Germany, Netherlands and Spain topped the list respectively.

Le Morne Brabant mountain in Mauritius. Picture: Instagram

Over the past decade, Bryte travel customers chose Mauritius, Tanzania (includes Zanzibar), Namibia, Mozambique and Botswana as their African destinations of choice.

The report also notes that South Africans consistently chose Thailand as one of their favourite destinations. Other popular destinations in Asia included India, Indonesia, China and Vietnam.

Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for South African travellers. Picture: Instagram

“Bryte’s travel data shows South Africans commonly travel via major air hubs … Qatar Airways and Emirates have been Bryte customers’ airlines of choice. The UAE is a popular destination for South Africans, ranking just outside the top 10.

Dubai International Airport has been the busiest airport in the world for international passengers for over half a decade. South African travel choices are certainly no exception to this trend, with a significant proportion of travellers taking connecting flights onwards to other destinations.

“There may be good reasons for this: connecting flights are often cheaper than flying direct, Dubai has extensive route coverage and, who knows, maybe some of us want to stock up on dates and indulge in shopping for high-end luxury brands at the famous DXB duty-free stores,” the report said.

Air Mauritius was the third most popular airline, followed by British Airways.

So, what do South Africans do on holiday?

What is interesting to note is that although South Africa is home to flagship beaches set against picturesque landscapes, a Picodi Analysis Team survey shows that hitting the beach is the No 1 activity for South Africans on holiday. This is followed by their love for exploration and discovery of new sights, experiences and cultures.

“Sightseeing is the second most popular activity, and a large majority of respondents (82%) prefer exploring new places rather than revisiting old favourites,” the report read.

The Tate Modern Museum, Niagara Falls, Grand Canyon, Central Park, The Colosseum – associated with ancient Roman hand-to-hand combat – or the once-in-a-lifetime experience in New York Time Square on New Year’s Eve, are just some of the places South Africans loved to visit.

The report also focuses on the more serious realities of travel – the diversity of prevalent, as well as unforeseen, risks.

Lost baggage remains one of the common reasons for claims, particularly for South Africans travelling to/in the US.

“This is attributed the heightened level of risk due – in part – to the increased volume of domestic flights as many choose to travel to multiple US states/cities. On the other hand, Italy is number two on the list of the highest baggage claims so travellers are cautioned to keep an eye on their valuables when they jet into Rome,” it stated.

Bryte's head of travel, Anrieth Symons, said, “While travel volumes have risen over the past decade, increasingly, people are choosing to travel via key hubs like Dubai International Airport. More connecting flights means a greater probability of baggage-related losses.”

Read the full Travel Index Report here:

Read the latest issue of IOL Travel digital magazine here.