South Africa

German operators to expand package offers

German tour operators plan to expand offers for South Africa in the 2015/16 season in response to rising demand although prices will also go up.

Demand for South Africa has clearly risen in the last few months following a slump last year when consumers avoided the destination due to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa – even though this was thousands of kilometres away. Overall, however, the country welcomed 10 million international visitors last year, a 6.6% rise.

German tour operators attending the recent Indaba travel fair in Durban reported higher bookings and confirmed plans to expand their offerings.

Dertour, the largest German tour operator to South Africa, is planning a moderate increase for the forthcoming season. “There will probably be 2-3 more tours,” said product manager Petra Fraatz. There will also be adjustments with the offering of hotels and lodges. Sister brand Meier’s Weltreisen wants to profit from current demand and has released a 17-page special brochure for trips in winter 2015/16 ahead of the main winter brochure which appears in July.

TUI will definitely increase its offering for South Africa with a double-digit increase in the number of brochure pages. “The size of the brochure will increase for the first time in years,” said product manager Martina Horter. There will be new tours both in South Africa and neighbouring countries covering themes such as experiencing the country and meeting local people, gastronomy and wellness.

FTI plans to slightly update its existing programme and add new destinations in southern Africa, according to product manager Ulrike Schäfer. The Munich-based tour operator suffered a drop in bookings last winter but is seeing rising sales again at present.

However, all tour operators will have to put up their prices for South Africa for next winter. This is the result of 7-8% inflation in the country and a less attractive exchange rate due to the weak euro which will particularly affect countries such as Botswana and Zimbabwe where tourism procurement is done in dollars rather than euros.

Meanwhile, hoteliers in South Africa are investing in new properties and modernisation measures at present. For example, Carlson Rezidor will open a new ‘Radisson Red’ in Cape Town at the end of 2016, and the Tsogo Sun group will open two neighbouring hotels with 500 rooms in the city centre in September 2017.