Speaking to EXEC Hanneli Slabber, Country Manager, India, South African Tourism says, “Half Of All Business Travel From India Is For MICE”
Q: Is business travel an important component of SA’s push into India?
A: India is an important market for South African Tourism, with a booming outbound travel market. The UNWTO predicts the Indian outbound travel market will account for 50 million tourists by 2020 and that total outbound spending is expected to cross the US$28 billion mark by 2020. We have noticed that business travel from India dominates outbound volumes for tourism. Among the most popular products for Indians travellers in South Africa, 55% are business related.
Q: What percentage of Indian outbound to SA are business visitors?
A: Approximately 50,000 Indian outbound travellers to South Africa are business visitors. Through our continuous trade partnerships we aim to broaden our space in the lucrative outbound tourism markets in India.
Q: What has been the Indian response to SA MICE initiatives?
A: South Africa offers myriad experiences to make any MICE activity in the country worth remembering. South Africa is fast becoming one of the world’s favourite destinations for big events, meetings, conferences and exhibitions. Through confidently staging major events like the 2010 FIFA World Cup, DLF IPL 2009 and the United Nations’ COP 17 Climate Change Conference, South Africa has proven its credentials to host events of any magnitude and is well-placed to play host to any local or international meetings, incentive, conference and exhibition (MICE) event, with world-class business and conference facilities complemented by excellent leisure tourism attractions and hospitable, welcoming, skilled and competent people. Large convention centres in major cities such as Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban skilfully cater to events of any stature. South Africa has proven its ability to host global event with utmost fineness. The diversity of the nation, hospitable warmth of South Africans, best in class facilities and ability to customise, create a conducive atmosphere to host any MICE activity with success. Corporate firms such as HDFC, Hercules,9X Media, ACC Cement, Siyaram Silk etc. have organises their MICE trips to South Africa. It is encouraging for us as a tourism board to see such a good response in MICE tourism from a market like India which is our prime focus for the next few years. We welcome our MICE travellers to experience a unique offering in South Africa.
Currently, 50% of India Outbound travellers to South Africa fall under the MICE category.
Q: What opportunities is SA planning to introduce for the business travellers?
A: South Africa’s capability and infrastructure for business tourism is superb. The best-in-class facilities provided at the convention centres have been host to varied global events and continue to be popular choice for various big ticket events. In addition, several game lodges in South Africa organise and offer facilities for smaller conferences and events from India. Along with the luxury experience, these game reserves provide corporate firms with several customised options of team building and leadership skill development and other training and development programmes and exercises. There are more than 1700 conference venues in South Africa, with International Convention Centres located in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and East London. As a part of ongoing efforts to ease visa application processes, South Africa has announced four new visa facilitation centres that will be opened by the end of 2017. South Africa also announced a provision for BRICS nationals who apply for visas to visit South Africa for short-term business purposes will now receive a long-term visa allowing them multiple entries for up to 10 years, while frequent travellers can be granted up to 3-years multiple-entry business visa.