Where to head in 2019: Growing destinations for South African travellers

2018-09-25 06:30 - Selene Brophy
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Mauritius is an ideal last minute break for South

The countries that have seen the greatest growth in flight bookings from travellers in South Africa in the last 12 months are Mauritius, Thailand and Zimbabwe, according to analysis conducted by Travelport

This leading travel commerce platform, headquartered in the United Kingdom, states the fastest-growing destinations are indicated bookings made in South Africa through Global Distribution systems (GDS) only. Globally in 2017, Travelport alone processed 1 trillion transactions through its platform.

GDS are vast hi-tech reservation networks that allow travel agents, travel management companies and large corporations, among others, to search and book airline seats, hotel rooms, rental cars, and other travel related items.

The travel commerce platform indicates additional booking will have been made directly with airlines, which may or may not also have a GDS presence.  

While the tropical island escape of Mauritius has always been a firm favourite for locals, just a four-hour flight away, operating in rands as well as visa-free to enter, Travelport says that from 1 September 2017 to 31 August 2018, bookings made in SA to Mauritius increased by 17 764, up 17% on the previous 12 months.

Bookings to Thailand from South Africa over the last 12 months rose by 12 602, up 27%, and to Zimbabwe by 9,506, up 20%. New carriers like Fastjet have also introduce direct flights from Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, putting the iconic Victoria Falls easily within in reach of locals. 

The biggest appeal in YOY percentage growth via its booking data though is from Turkey at 63% growth and Indonesia at 51% growth. Both of these destinations offer similar budget-friendly packages and deals for locals. 

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1. Mauritius

Bookings: 17 764; YOY % change: 17%

2. Thailand

12,602; 27%

3. Zimbabwe

9,506; 20%

4. United Arab Emirates

9,474; 17%

5. Turkey

6,837; 63%

SEE: Quick guide to Turkey: Easy eVisa travel for South Africans

6. Indonesia

6,135; 51%

7. United Kingdom

5,154; 5%

8. Namibia

4,663; 9%

9. China

4,291; 10%

10. Netherlands

3,627; 20%

Guido Verweij, Travelport’s Managing Director for Africa says, “Travelport has invested significantly in developing cutting-edge analytics products for travel agents and airlines because we recognize the impact they can have on their revenue.

"Even relatively straight forward booking analysis, like we have done here, can help travel agents evolve the packages they offer in line with traveller demand and support airlines in identifying needs to increase or decrease flight capacity on certain routes.

Verweij says effective analysis of industry, business and competitive data is vital, as he expects it to become even more crucial in the years to come as companies "become more sophisticated in how they use it".

Travelport  held its bi-annual Travelport LIVE Africa event in Cape Town. The conference saw presentations and panel discussions featuring global, regional and local leaders from Travelport, as well as noteworthy third-party speakers such as Ulrich Homann, Distinguished Architect in the Cloud and Enterprise business at Microsoft.

READ MORE: Four key trends shaping your travel choices: Price, Time, Predictability and Comfort

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