German tourists in love with South Africa


Ray Maota

Recently named one of the new seven
wonders of the natural world, Table
Mountain in the Western Cape is a
famous tourist attractions.

Visitors to South Africa are always
keen for a chance to view the big five;
the lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and
For more images, visit the image library)

• Thandiwe Mathibela
South African Tourism
+27 11 895 3000

German tourism to South Africa grew by 9.9% in the first 11 months of 2011, according to SA Tourism, compared to all 12 months of 2010 – the year the country hosted the Fifa World Cup.

The research also reveals that 40% were repeat visitors.

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, who attended last month’s International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Berlin, in Germany, noted in an address that the German outbound market is one of the most valuable in the world.

He conceded that the uncertain economic situation in Europe and around the world was a cause for concern, but said the outlook for the world’s travel industry remains good.

“The global growth was not as strong as in 2010, but tourist arrivals still grew to a staggering 980 million in 2011.”

According to Van Schalkwyk, long-haul destinations, which are characterised by either a travelling timeline of between four and six hours, or travelling from one country to another, have become much more attractive to German tourists in recent years.

“SA Tourism’s research has shown that there is still a large opportunity in this market and we have to do more to create demand among the younger travellers that are considering South Africa,” said Van Schalkwyk.

He pointed out that travellers from Germany are increasingly price-sensitive when choosing a destination and are looking for meaningful experiences in holidays.

The minister is of the opinion that South Africa is well-positioned to take on this market.

Showcasing South Africa at the ITB

The ITB is one of the world’s leading travel trade shows, with more than 170 000 visitors. Among these about 108 000 are general trade visitors, while another 10 000 or so are exhibitors from 180 countries around the globe.

Tourism players from all over the South Africa showcased their wares and conducted business meetings to stimulate trade to the country at the event.

Among the exhibitors were the nine provincial winners of the 2011/2012 Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year (Eteya) competition.

Eteya is an initiative of, among others, SA Tourism and the Department of Tourism. It is aimed at encouraging entrepreneurs within the sector from all nine provinces to grow their businesses and empower their communities.

Also on the itinerary was a South African evening for German media and trade, which showcased tourism attractions and experiences from all nine provinces, including golf, wildlife, fashion, culture, heritage and outdoor adventures.

Another highlight was a fashion show by renowned South African designer Bongiwe Walaza, who expressed her pride at Team SA.

“It is important to encourage Germans to visit our country because of the economic impact they have,” said Walaza.

She added that the impact of German tourists could benefit smaller communities across the country because they are keen on experiencing our authentic traditions and cultures.

Theresa Bay-Müller, SA Tourism Country Manager for Germany, said: “We’ve got big plans for the German market, we’ve grown market share and confidence in destination South Africa is stable.

Wine talk

The show would of course be incomplete without a celebration of South African food and wine.

South African wine, a popular product in Europe, saw exports to Germany reaching the number one slot in January 2012, for the first time overtaking the UK market.

Exports of South African wine to Germany increased by 13%, averaging 81 million litres per year, compared to the UK’s 80.9 million litres.

Bulk wine imports have increased generally, by 19% in Germany, 91% to Denmark, 56% to Sweden and 8% to UK.