The city of Durban, the largest city of KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa is all set to welcome the TAFI delegates with quintessential warm hospitality. “We are very excited to be hosting TAFI in Durban from Februray 24-27, 2013. There are a whole lot of surprises for the delegates in the city. There are tours for the delegates to show them the city and the province of KwaZulu-Natal,” said Thulani Zungu, manager – regional marketing, Durban Tourism. Zungu who was in India recently to participate in the multi-city roadshow organised by South African Tourism in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
Durban that has the highest number of people of Indian origin outside India is surprisingly left out of the itinerary of most leisure travellers to South Africa, who go to Johannesburg, Cape Town and the Garden Route. It is part of the strategy to attract the Indian leisure and MICE market that Durban Tourism participated in the roadshow. “We are focusing on the Asia market now, primarily India and China. As far as TAFI is concerned we have just heard the exciting news that the convention is a sellout and there are 800 delegates who are coming to Durban,” said Zungu.
While the convention will be held at ICC Durban, the TAFI delegates will be put up at the Tsogo Sun hotels in Durban, namely Elangeni and North Beach. Gerhard Louw, sales manager – international inbound, Tsogo Sun said, “India has become one of the key growth markets for South Africa in recent times, and that is why we were quite excited when we heard that the TAFI convention will be held in Durban as it will give an opportunity to expose that part of the country to the Indian market. From our point of view India is quite important for us.” Tsogo Sun has 95 properties across South Africa. Elangani and North Beach in Durban are both four-star properties. “Most of our clientele stay at our four-star hotels in South Africa. The properties in Cape Town and Johannesburg are popular with the Indian clientele. One of the factors why our properties are popular with Indian families is because the hotels allow two adults to stay in a room with two children below the age 18, breakfast inclusive. This works well for the Indian market,” said Louw. Tsogo Sun hotels also attract the MICE crowd from India. “The TAFI convention is a wonderful opportunity for the entire Indian trade to come together and visit South Africa, specially Durban which is not often visited by Indian travellers,” added Louw.
South Africa roadshow
The four-city roadshow this year brought in 63 suppliers from South Africa. “It is different this year for us, last year we had 400 agents from Mumbai and Pune and this year we’ve had 770 from Mumbai alone. This time there are 63 tables and we had to say no to a lot of suppliers,” said Hanneli Slabber, country manager, South African Tourism India. Besides those hotel operators, ground handlers and products, who have attended the roadshows in India in the past, this year saw many new ones, particular in the adventure category. From a non-product point of view is the city of Durban represented in the roadshow, which Slabber believed was importrant as the Indian travel trade could ask questions ranging from plans for TAFI to shopping venues and activities in Durban, the waterfront, etc. “It is important to educate the people before they go,” added Slabber.
One of the products that has done very well and was in the roadshow this time is helicopter trip over Cape Town. The trips vary from 15-20 minutes to 45 minutes. Another interesting addition this year included the Le Quartier Francais – a boutique hotel with a chef who serves nine-course meals (also vegetarian nine-course menu) – which according to Slabber, has taken off with the Indian market. Like previous years all the important game lodges were at the roadshow – Sabi Sabi, Mala Mala, Legacy Lodges, etc. “A lot of the tour operators at the roadshow also represent important lodges,” pointed out Slabber. The Zulu Nyala Game Lodge is among the new inclusions. SANParks represents South African national parks like Kruger National Park, Table Mountain, etc. “South Africa is a big country like India, we do not want people to just go there and spend 60 per cent of their time driving from one place to another. We are encouraging people to do shorter distances, spend more time at a place and do more things,” stated Slabber.