South African travellers are still travelling internationally, but their travel habits are changing to take into account fluctuating exchange rates and rising air ticket prices.
Theresa Szejwallo, Trafalgar South Africa MD, says that South Africans are visiting destinations where they can get more value for their rand.
"Portugal and Spain, and Eastern Europe feature more significantly than they have in previous years because travellers to these destinations can enjoy great value for money.
"Smaller destinations are also becoming more popular and we are seeing smaller group sizes too. Around 40 travellers is the current industry standard, but we expect to see that slowly reduce," says Szejwallo
Another trend is the tendency for travellers to place value in unique and intimate experiences where they can interact and learn from the local communities. “By branching away from those very touristy attractions, South Africans are avoiding the crowds as well as the high expenses that go with it.”
Here are Szejwallo’s top picks for off the beaten track holidays that won’t break the bank in 2018:
A pilgrimage to Jordan
Visit ancient cities, holy sites and royal tombs chiseled into rock faces. Jordan is a feast for the senses. South Africans can obtain a visa on arrival and for history buffs, the thrill of treading in the footsteps of Crusaders is more than enough of a drawcard.
Visit the ancient cities of Petra and Amman on an unforgettable pilgrimage.
As South African travellers seek an immersive cultural experience rather than just ticking off sights, Morocco offers a vibrant alternative with cuisine that falls in line with our South African taste buds.
On a “be my guest” experience at a traditional Riad in Fez, you’ll be tucking into flavourful stews and tagines much like our potjies.
Asia is not just Thailand
We all know a family member, a friend, or a friend of a friend who has been to Thailand. South Africans are discovering much of this same magic without those “Khao San road” tourists in places like Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos which are just as easy to get to and travel around.
Secrets of France: turning up the village charm
What could be better than shopping for cheese, bread and wine at a proper French farmers’ market? Referred to as “rural” villages, few travel companies have managed to uncover the magic of these hidden gems in the French countryside, where you can meet local insiders (farmers) and enjoy their local produce and learn how it is made.
Think the imperial capitals of Vienna, Budapest and Prague – tall church spires, bustling city squares and centuries of heritage, not to mention the prospect of delicious coffee and cake. South Africans are flocking to these cities for a fascinating culture, city sightseeing and, in the case of Croatia, the magnificent beaches.