Kruger Lowveld Joins SA Tourism Roadshows (Nordics and Netherlands)

Author: | Published by KLCBT on at 17:46:35 | Last Updated On: 13 November 2017

Kruger Lowveld Tourism was fortunate enough to be selected for the SA Tourism Roadshows to the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) and the Netherlands.  Lisa Sheard represented us on both roadshows, which took place consecutively from 23 – 27 October and 30 October – 3 November 2017.

Having visited the Nordic countries previously in 2016 with the Spotlight Workshops, this visit with SA Tourism provided a platform to reconnect with many operators and agents that we met last year and to make new connections with many others.  The schedule was hectic, with a day spent in each capital city and approximately 150 operators and agents engaged during these sessions.

The Nordic market offers much promise for the Kruger Lowveld region.  The number of arrivals to South Africa from these four countries reached just over 100 000 in 2016 (up from 89236 in 2015), with our region receiving about 13,6% of those arrivals.  The Swedes are our biggest arrival group, followed by Denmark, Norway and Finland.  We gained many useful insights into the Nordic market and the most valuable include that the Nordics are adventurous and “outdoorsy”, travel frequently and undertake at least one long haul trip per year, are relatively wealthy and enjoy family travel. Our region was well received by the Nordic trade, with much interest in the variety of attractions, things to do and see and product on offer. I also believe that being an RTO gives credibility to us as a destination marketing organisation.

As it was the first time that SA Tourism has held a Nordic roadshow, the assistance of a Nordic marketing agency provided the necessary market intelligence and trade contacts for hosting such workshops. This agency has been contracted by SA Tourism for a further six months to bed down a presence in this market.  We have the opportunity take advantage of this through increased communication with the agency and tour operators and travel agents.

Netherlands Roadshow

The Netherlands Roadshow was an extremely slick and professionally-organised trip, made possible by a highly-experienced SA Tourism team in Holland. It included two days in Amsterdam and one day each in Zwolle, Dordrecht and Amersfoort – five sessions in five days.

The Dutch market is a very established market for South Africans, with extensive knowledge of our area by travel agents and tour operators.  Many Dutch guests have visited South Africa more than once and continue to do so.  Arrivals from the Netherlands increased by 21,4% between 2015 and 2016, with Mpumalanga receiving 25,6% of those arrivals in 2016.

The Dutch are particularly adventurous, opting usually to self-drive as opposed to travel in an organised group tour.  They often also book their own trips via the internet, especially if they are a repeat visitor.  But, they like a bargain and are very price-conscious.  They also enjoy intergenerational travel and tend to spend longer than average in our country.  Operators and agents are always looking for new things to do and see and this is something that we need to accelerate in our region.  We need new experiences to encourage the Dutch to keep on visiting Kruger Lowveld!  And, besides the issue of tourist safety and security, the biggest complaint we get is the poor quality of our roads!

We will do an in-depth report back workshop with any interested members later in the month, so will keep you posted on the date and venue.  We will also share insights from this trip with government departments and the MTPA.