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South Africa Shines At 2024 ITB Berlin

South African Tourism is engaging European buyers to further grow visitor numbers.

South Africa took centre stage at the 2024 Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB) held in Berlin, Germany, showcasing the country’s diverse attractions and tourism offerings.

Led by Chief Executive Officer Nombulelo Guliwe, the South African Tourism delegation, comprising 63 exhibitors, including 14 Small, Medium, and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs), aimed to bolster international arrivals to South Africa and sustain the sector’s ongoing recovery.

Guliwe expressed enthusiasm about the positive feedback received from exhibitors, highlighting the quality of meetings and the potential for positive outcomes. She emphasized the significance of ITB, especially in engaging with key European buyers and growing tourism numbers further.

She said, “I have received great feedback from exhibitors at the stand who said that the quality of the buyers they have met with has already proven to yield positive results. Some of the exhibitors already have confirmed bookings emanating from their meetings here at ITB. This is what makes our presence at this trade show worthwhile.

“We welcomed 8.4 million international visitors to our country last year, 75% of which was attributable to Africa. ITB is a global trade show but given its location, there are more buyers from the Europe market at ITB. With Europe being a key source market for South Africa, this show is a good platform for us to invest our efforts in as we strive to grow our tourism numbers even further.”

Last year, South Africa welcomed 1.2 million tourists from Europe, marking a 38.2% increase compared to 2022. Among European countries, the United Kingdom and Germany were top source markets.

During the ITB, South African Tourism emphasized the country’s unique tourism products and offerings tailored to cater to diverse traveller needs. The delegation also highlighted new products set to enhance South Africa’s appeal and arranged a special event for SMMEs to showcase their products and services.

Sustainable tourism took centre stage, with South African Tourism and South African National Parks (SANParks) emphasizing diverse, sustainable experiences. Guliwe reiterated the commitment to supporting township and rural tourism establishments, providing authentic and immersive cultural experiences.

The trade show provided a platform for SMMEs to showcase their products and services, fostering meaningful connections with key trade partners. Guliwe stated, “This particular event was specifically tailored and targeted as a platform for these businesses to have more close and meaningful connections with key trade partners potentially securing collaborations and contributing to their growth and development.”

Guliwe also introduced new products set to enhance South Africa’s appeal, stating, “All the different measures we have taken to boost reserves and create more liquidity in the markets have started to pay off.” She then highlighted the commitment to a sustainable future for South African tourism, emphasizing the unique offerings of SANParks.

The Managing Executive at South African National Parks (SANParks), Kaula Nyilenda-Mphaphuli, said, “At SANParks, we are largely known for the “big 5” experience through our world-renowned areas such as Kruger National Park. We, however, have much more varied offerings in our parks. We feature diverse landscapes, marine life and rich cultural heritage sites. We encourage our visitors to venture into lesser-known parks.”

Guliwe then invited potential visitors to experience South Africa’s exceptional hospitality, diverse landscapes, and rich cultural heritage, promising an unforgettable and immersive travel experience.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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