SA Tourism holds first roadshow in China since COVID

South African Tourism held its first roadshow in China since the pandemic, with events in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou this month.

The theme of the roadshow was ‘A Journey of Diversity and Inspiration’, and was attended by Gcobani Mancotywa, Regional Manager for Asia, Australia & New Zealand, and Middle East at South African Tourism, and Melusi Khumalo, Regional Marketing Manager for Durban Tourism.

In each city, there were 36 exhibitors from the tourism trade who were mostly South African-based, and about 300 trade members from China who attended to meet with the exhibitors in one-on-one meetings, Masa Yamawaki, Sense of Africa Market Manager for Asia informed Tourism Update.

The exhibitors included South African ground operators, hotels, tourism-related product suppliers, and airlines. Nearly 70 domestic travel agencies participated, according to Chinese publication, That’s Mags.

The publication said, with the reopening of the country’s outbound travel, the international travel demand from Chinese tourists was surging.

South African Tourism reportedly plans to host another consumer event in mid-October in Changsha.

“The South African Tourism Roadshow delivered exactly what we were expecting,” said Yamawaki. “It came at a great time as business from Asia had a slow start to recovery compared with the rest of the world, but we are seeing that business from Asia is really coming back strongly. It was a great opportunity to meet new and existing trade partners in China to share local South African knowledge as well as some of the challenges they are facing.

“The trade partners in China are really enthusiastic and are feeling positive about a strong recovery post COVID-19. Some of the common issues raised were visa issues, the lack of Chinese-speaking guides, as well as the high prices of long-haul flights compared with pre-COVID. As the market recovers we are positive that some of these issues will be sorted out in order to see this market grow beyond the numbers we saw in 2019,” said Yamawaki.