South Africa showcases tourism potential at ATM Dubai

Dubai, 20 May, 2024

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The Arabian Travel Market (ATM) took place from 6th-9th May at Dubai World Trade Centre. AfricaNewsAnalysis’ (ANA) travel editor Niels Bartels attended several press conferences during the event. One of them was the South African press conference with Neliswa Nkani who is the “Hub Head Middle East” of South African Tourism.

During the press conference, Nkani highlighted South Africa’s ‘amazing’ offerings in the travel and tourism sector.

Other important topics at the press conference were collaborations and initiatives aimed at enhancing and diversifying travel experiences in South Africa.

Furthermore, in addition to the press conference, workshops were organized by South African Tourism in order to provide detailed training to agents.

Photo: Neliswa Nkani, the “Hub Head Middle East” of South African Tourism/Credit: ANA/Niels Bartels

In reaction to a question as to whether South Africa was not doing enough to attract visitors from the Middle East, Neliswa Nkani  answered: ‘Yes, absolutely,’  adding that ‘That’s the reason why we came here and attended the ATM.

Ms Nkani stressed that South Africa’s presence at the ATM was not enough.

“We have to be present, but not only in Dubai. We need to show up in all the countries in the Arab world. There will be high returns and we need to make sure that we start a dialogue and inform people about South Africa.”

The Middle East, says Ms Nkani,  was not the cheapest market to come in and advertise but we understand the value.

Photo: Neliswa Nkani, the “Hub Head Middle East” of South African Tourism speaking at the press conference/Credit: ANA/Niels Bartels

The South African government, she revealed, has made a commitment to target the Middle East region where the growth would come from. The Middle East, she announced, was a priority region, adding “ We will speak in the language that the people want us to speak with them so that they understand that we take them seriously.”

On whether the South African tourism authorities have any specific package for students ?

Ms Nkani replied in the affirmative and intimated that  “I can always create an itinerary which has a great value and something to remember. I can always give out options to tour operators because we have a lot of youth coming in. It is important how you package it.”

Asked about the strategies of the South African tourism regarding the Saudi Arabian market, she stressed: “Two things will be critical: We need to bring South African products to Saudi. So we are planning a roadshow that will make sure that we bring the South African products to tour operators and hoteliers and all the important people. Secondly after this we will be hosting some people from Saudi Arabia to come to South Africa.”

Ms Nkani told the assembled journalists at the press conference in answer to a question on some packages for four or five days?

She told the journalists “It takes about 8 hours to get to South Africa (from Dubai). That’s two movies (or maybe three movies) and a good meal and you land in South Africa. You could do four provinces within those four days. Between Johannesburg and Sun City it’s a two hours drive. Between Johannesburg and Mpumalanga it’s a four hours drive. If you want to go where the elephants are it’s a 45 minute flight. So those are existing. The key challenge is finding a person who can package what you are able to do within five days. One thing which we realized is: this is a market which is also growing in terms of millennials. They have time, they have money. They will do a quick in and out. We need to cater that.

Photo Credit: AfricaNewsAnalysis/Niels Bartels