The current marketing campaign of South African Tourism in Nigeria is not centered primarily on the forthcoming FIFA World Cup being held next year in South Africa, but is aimed at using it as a tool to further drive tourist arrivals into the destination after the event, so stated Phumi Dhlomo, SA Tourism regional director of Africa and domestic markets.
“Speaking about the forthcoming FIFA World Cup, people tend to believe that our global advocacy is about the World Cup… no! To us, the competition is only just a tool to serve as the hook for drawing tourists into South Africa,” Dhlomo explained to Nigerian trade and media partners at SA Tourism’s annual Africa Trade Workshop held last week Wednesday at Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos.
According to him, “We are using the competition to say look – apart from the World Cup. There is a lot you can see in South Africa; a lot in terms of South African wines; its unique and breathtaking sights. We want them to come and stay beyond the competition and still want to call back after then.”
Reviewing SA Tourism’s global marketing drive, Dhlomo said Africa has become the centerpiece of its destination marketing efforts owing to the fact that statistics of visitors from Europe indicate that arrivals from the European continent have reached its peak.
“Most European markets have reached their peak, and that is why we are focusing more on the continent. We have begun [an] intensive marketing drive in the continent, and Nigeria is very critical in these efforts,” Dhlomo told his audience at the trade and corporate breakfast, which was the prelude to the three-pronged events that took place that day.
Dhlomo said Nigeria, with 11 percent of total arrivals from Africa, has become a unique and important market to SA Tourism because of what he termed “consistent improvement in arrival figures from Nigeria recorded in the last seven years.”
He further disclosed that, “All arrival indicators from Nigeria have shown appreciable improvements in all classes of travelers from Nigeria. Nigerians are the biggest spenders in Africa, apart from Angola. Most visitors from Nigeria are business travelers, making Nigeria a core market, and we intend to make them stay longer than their business trips.”
In his presentation, South Africa Airways’ (SAA) head of north, central, and west Africa, Aaron Munetsi, said the airline is scheduled to open a dedicated Premium Passengers’ Lounge in September at Murtala Mohammed International, Lagos as part of its efforts to improve on its ground services to premium-class passengers.
Munetsi dislosed that Nigeria is an important country in its global network, which has been making a profit for the airline since it began flight service to the country from South Africa in 1998, adding that “the country is one of the only two countries where the airline flies the Boeing 747-400 aircraft configured in three cabins of first, business, and economy.
He listed other achievements SAA has notched in Nigeria since 1998, to include an increase in the number of flight frequencies between Lagos and Johannesburg from two to six weekly, adding that efforts are being made to not only increase it to seven but to secure three more frequencies to serve the Abuja route.
Activities at the one-day event began with a trade and corporate breakfast forum and trade workshop, where SA Tourism organized capacity-building sessions for its Nigerian trade partners who also had the privilege of forging a mutually-rewarding, networking session with their South African trade partners on destination marketing.
This was followed by a media roundtable in which SA Tourism’s regional director of Africa and domestic markets, Phumi Dhlomo, and SAA’s head of north, central, and west Africa, Aaron Munetsi, held discussions with selected journalists on topical issues centering on the preparations for the forthcoming World Cup in South Africa, xenophobic attacks, security of tourists, and destination marketing.
A consumer activation was later held at Silverbird Galleria, a stone’s throw away from the Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos where the trade workshop was held, and where information on available leisure activities in South Africa before and after 2010 were distributed to the media and consumers, including, supporting collateral such as 2010 lifestyle guides, as well as 2010 maps to help them plan their holiday to South Africa.
Consumers and the media, as well as visitors to the Galleria, were enthralled by the scintillating performance of the rhythmic Diski Dance, South Africa’s uniquely popular football dance steps by a Nigerian troupe, which attracted guests, many of whom learned the dance, while others tried to improvise with their own moves.