Safety remains a major part of the decision making process when travellers choose a destination. Knowing that you are able to relax and have a good time while on holiday, makes for an exceptional experience - the value of which is not lost, at least not for South Africa.
‘Understand the value of Tourism’
The visitor experience remains crucial says South African Tourism Acting CEO Sthembiso Dlamini.
According to Dlamini, South African Tourism's campaign We Do Tourism, which started two years ago, is being amplified to show people how to be welcoming to travellers from the rest of the continent and the world.
“People to need to understand the value of tourism," she says if SA and the African continent as a whole want to remain competitive and appealing as travel destinations.
Safety and security continues to be an issue she says, “We are working with stakeholders within government and private sector to ramp-up the safety monitors program to address this. Government is fully aware travellers take decisions based on whether they feel safe in a destination.”
Supporting this as a decision making process is the recent outcomes of the 19th Annual Holiday Barometer by Europ Assist. It looks at the summer holiday plans and travel preferences of respondents in twelve countries across the globe - with budge and safety being the crucial indicators of choice.
it weighs the habits of travellers across 12 different countries, including top inbound markets to Southern Africa from the US and Europe.
Concerns around terrorism have decreased for Europeans (42% down 6 points from the year prior) and Americans (33% down 7 points from the year prior).
Interestingly, Europeans overall indicated they were much less fearful of travel related risks in general with risk of a personal attack (38% down 3 points from the year prior) and the risk of social unrest (29% down 4 points from the year prior) also dropping several points from prior years.
Summer holiday plans on track for most from Europe and US
Europ Assist says this year's survey found that the number of Europeans (63%) and Americans (68%) who indicated that they would be going on holiday this summer held stable (64% and 68% respectively in 2018).
Budget was the top factor when it came to vacation decision-making. There were several interesting differences when it came to responses from Europeans and Americans detailed in the barometer data, related to budget. Europeans are prepared to spend more, 3% more in 2019 driven by France, Spain and Germany.
In Europe, budgets for travel increased by 3 percent in 2019 to an average spend of €2 019 (about R32 768 at R16,23/€), a number that increases to €2 099 when looking only at counties that make up the Euro Zone (excludes the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Poland).
The increase in the European budget this year is mainly driven by France, Spain, and Germany with respondents from each country indicating that their travel budget increased by 10, 8, and 4 percent respectively.
Meanwhile budgets in the United States dropped by almost 10 percent from the year prior to $2 373 (about R34 242 at R14.43/$). Brazil, Belgium, and the United Kingdom all saw 3-5 percent decreases in their travel budgets from the year prior as well.
'Climate and leisure activities influential too'
Americans and Europeans both ranked the climate and the possibility of taking part in leisure and cultural activities in their top-three factors – while Brazilian’s prioritized the risks related to health and terrorist attacks in their top-three decision-making factors.
This year’s Holiday Barometer also found that Americans (28%) are more interested in atypical activities like staying at a local’s home compared to Europeans (27%).
Interesting to note that South Africa is looking to regulate the length of stays for the likes of Airbnb in its draft Toruism Amendment Bill. There has been a lot of criticism from the public leading up to the Bill amendment, with "small businesses most concerned about unfair competition". (The bill can be accessed here).
READ: Thresholds to be put in place, limiting amount of bookable days in South African Airbnbs
While the Euro barometer respondents from France, Spain, Poland, and Portugal were the most interested in new kinds of activities amongst Europeans, respondents from the US are the most adventurous when it comes to nature-based activities – with 46 percent indicating that they will go camping, versus 28 percent of Europeans and 22 percent of Brazilians.
Conversely, just 8 percent of Europeans and 7 percent of Americans will have travellers stay with them and just 6 percent (Europeans) and 5 percent (US) will do a home swap.
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