How can travel agents market to the SA domestic traveller?

“We have set aside R100 million that will be utilised to promote domestic tourism. We need innovative ways to market our tourist destinations and product offerings to entice our citizens to travel and experience South Africa.”

It is these words from our Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom that has prompted SA Tourism to join forces with ASATA, as SA Tourism is looking to the South African travel agent for ‘innovative’ ways to market to the SA domestic traveller.


To help you along your way, we want to give you some tips and pointers on how to best market to the South African domestic traveller.

Important to know for example, is that South Africans get inspired to holiday domestically when they hear about the holiday experiences of their friends and family, or when there are are sports or musical events being organised at the destination. Also media promotions will entice the South African traveller.

The BUILD traveller, who hasn’t travelled yet but has the right background to do so, will mainly be inspired by word-of-mouth. However, also he/she can also be inspired by media promotions on the radio, promotional ads in magazines and news about different places. Travellers wish to see and experience what they see and hear through these sources, and they will use the Internet to select destinations. Also other travellers’ photos on social media websites (such as Facebook) help in choosing a destination.

Although the BUILD market is a challenging market for the travel agent to reach, travel agents who do want to reach out to this traveller need to remember that this group of travellers has a strong preference for beaches and seaside locations, but also enjoy holidaying around places with plenty of greenery. The budget this traveller sets aside for a trip of about a week will range between R2000 and R5000 per person.

The CONVERT traveller, who has already travelled but not for leisure, will be inspired by activities (such as diving and swimming) and events. Travel agents wanting to market to this traveller will need to take to social media, as convert travellers mainly refer to travel-related posts on social media along with travel review websites. However, also the brochures and advertisements of travel agencies in newspapers will speak to them.


Travel agents will need to remember that the convert traveller sees the bush, the beach and the mountains as ideal holiday destinations. No technology and no civilisation are some of the characteristics these travellers associate with their dream destinations. The budget this traveller sets aside for a week’s holiday is between R5 000 and R7 000 per person.

The ‘been there, done that’ DEFEND traveller, has travelled extensively, and will find inspiration through word of mouth of friends as well as sports and musical events. They mainly turn to travel review websites to research a destination. Also social media has important role to play, as travellers see other travellers’ photos on social media websites (such as Facebook) and engage with them to get information on their trip.

Travel agents wanting to reach out to the affluent DEFEND traveller, will need to keep in mind that Beach and Islands are the most popular dream destinations as they long for peace and solitude. Also the mountains are a popular getaway, as these travellers like the snow. The budget DEFEND travellers set aside for a week’s holiday is between R10 000 and R15 000 per week.

For more insights on Domestic Tourism, stay posted to ASATA’s newsletter, website and social media…

France and Turkey – what to tell your clients?

The extraordinary recent events in Turkey and France have led the governments of both countries to declare and extend, respectively, a national state of emergency. This follows the terrorist attack in Nice, which claimed the lives of at least 84 people on July 14, and the attempted coup in Turkey the following day.

What do these states of emergency mean for for France and Turkey?

Euronews reported the following measures:

In France, the government says on its website that authorities can:

  • Put under house arrest any person whose activity is considered a threat to security and public order
  • Dissolve groups that take part in, incite or facilitate acts that pose a serious threat to public order
  • Restrict movement of people or traffic in certain areas (impose a curfew)
  • Ban people deemed to be a threat to public order from French territory
  • Carry out searches of property, luggage, vehicles, bags and pockets (without judicial warrants)
  • Break up protests, meetings and close places of congregation or worship.

In Turkey, the measures the state of emergency allows, include:

  • Searches of people’s body, vehicles and property
  • Curtailing right to assembly
  • Banning printing, copying, publishing and distribution of newspapers, magazines, books and leaflets
  • Examining all sorts of writing, image, film, disc, vocal and visual tapes and all sorts of vocal publication, registering or banning them if necessary
  • Censorship of plays and films
  • Closure of restaurants, clubs, bars, hotels, campsites, theatres…
  • Seizing control of businesses in sectors including energy, agriculture, health, retail, transportation…

Although South African travellers tend to be resilient in the face of disasters, the recent events are eroding their hardiness, according to a recent report in TNW. Tour operators report a spate of cancellations for Turkey from concerned travellers.

In light of the recent spate of attacks internationally, ASATA would like to advise South Africans travelling international to take extra care in public places. Be vigilant, follow the advice of local security authorities, monitor media reports and keep up to date with the FCO travel advice. It is advised to arrive at the airport well in time, as increased security measures can be expected.

Although the ROSA website is down until further notice, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation has further also advised that travellers register at the South African embassy when arriving at their destination.

How can we profile the South African domestic traveller?

With a potential 3,6 million South African domestic travellers keen to explore the country, South African Tourism decided to join forces with ASATA and start actively selling holidays in South Africa.

But who is the South African traveller and how can travel agents best target him or her? SA Tourism did the research and revealed there are three important groups of potential travellers in South Africa:

  • BUILD: “I have the means to travel, but am not travelling yet.” There is a need to BUILD the culture of travel in this group.
  • CONVERT: “I travel, but only for work.” There is a need to CONVERT this group to start travelling for leisure holidays.
  • DEFEND: “Been there, done that!” This group is mature in terms of holiday travel, so there is a need to DEFEND and ensure up-sell

By far, the largest group of travellers are the BUILD travellers. They have started dreaming about holidays and would like to de-stress, explore the country and go spend time with their friends and family at the sea. The downside is that these potential travellers have a very limited budget and are not very likely to use a travel agent. They prefer to do their own bookings through travel booking websites.

The convert group probably presents more opportunities for travel agents. These travellers don’t want to stay with ‘oom and tannie’ at the coast. Instead they want to break away from the daily treadmill and really treat themselves by doing absolutely nothing or by exploring the diversity of the country.

Travel agents who want to reach out to the ‘convert’ traveller will need to remember that these travellers like to plan their trips in advance. They are inspired by events and activities, but they perceive South Africa to be an expensive destination. They are also worried about their home and personal security while on a trip, so make sure to highlight the safety of the chosen destination or accommodation.

Finally, the ‘defend’ travellers have done and seen it all, and offer the travel agents great up-sell opportunities. Defend travellers like to get away from home, relax, spend quality time with their families and broaden their horizons during their holidays.

Also ‘defend’ travellers perceive South Africa to be expensive, and say that they can travel overseas at the cost of travelling domestically. However, they can be swayed to take a trip to attend sports and musical events.

For more insights on Domestic Tourism, stay posted to ASATA’s newsletter, website and social media…


The end of the UBC in sight?

South Africans travelling with children internationally will no longer be required to produce an unabridged birth certificate from October 31, according to a recent report in TNW.

Mayihlome Tshwete was quoted as saying that parents would need to apply for a new passport for their children if they want their details printed in the child’s passport. Alternatively, children could travel with their current passports, as long as they present an unabridged birth certificate at the time of boarding, in addition to the necessary documentation if the child is travelling alone with one parent.

“The Department will communicate the changes to airlines and Home Affairs foreign offices once these concessions have been put in place,” Tshwete was quoted as saying, adding that until then travellers with children would still need to produce the UBC.

Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom says a newly appointed immigration advisory board is currently in the process of formulating amendments to the immigration regulations.

Hanekom says the amendments mean that children would no longer be required to travel with an unabridged birth certificate, but adults would be advised that they may be required to prove their relation to the children, should immigration officials be suspicious, for example by producing an unabridged birth certificate.

The regulations will remain in effect until new amendments are gazetted and come into effect. Children travelling to and from South Africa are still required to travel with an unabridged birth certificate.

ASATA raises concerns over TMC contract conditions

ASATA has raised concerns over the conditions of contract for TMC services released by National Treasury earlier this month.  The document will deliver much needed clarity on the way forward for TMCs and Travel Agents when tendering for government contracts.

ASATA has asked government to be involved in assisting with the process and has highlighted the following concerns:

  • The re-imbursement of all supplier revenue to government will place unnecessary pressure on the industry and the erosion of this revenue will prove detrimental. This is something that could be averted if managed correctly.
  • The possibility that National Treasury are looking to appoint a GDS in the future that would have to be used, if a TMC is on a pre-qualified panel, is a major risk for the TMCs who currently work on different GDSs. Many operate on multi-year contracts which will be affected should government choose to proceed with this.
  • There are several technology, reporting, and value-added service requirements that would exclude a number of smaller TMCs and businesses from tendering.
  • It is still unclear how many TMCs will be accepted on each panel per Province. There are a multitude of small and medium enterprises that today enjoy the opportunity to tender for government travel contracts, which may be excluded.


ASATA asserts that these issues may see many businesses being forced to close and job losses, and has requested an opportunity to complete an impact assessment to establish the true magnitude of this situation.

ASATA has also asked National Treasury to indicate exactly where government intends to show real savings and how the methodology of obtaining savings will actually benefit them.

We remind Members that those wishing to submit Requests for Proposals to pre-qualify for panels of Travel Management Companies on both a National and a Provisional level, do so by no later than the closing date of 05 August 2016 at 11h00

Details can be found on the following link, that was provided to you via our newsletter 01 July 2016

Please note: the tender documents can be found under the “Tender Documents” tab, next to the “Contacts” tab, just below the heading “Tender Information”

Domestic Tourism

What prevents South Africans from going on holiday?


Did you know that most adult South Africans have never taken a holiday in their own country? SA Tourism has crunched the numbers and seen that the number of domestic trips, total number of domestic travellers and domestic travel spend are even declining.


So, what is preventing domestic travellers from taking a holiday in their own country?


Affordability is without a doubt the key barrier for South African travellers. They feel their country’s tourism offerings are expensive for the locals – especially during the peak season when everything seems geared towards the international traveller with the strong greenback in his pocket.


Although there is not a lot that travel agents can do about their clients’ lack of funds, they can encourage events during the low season. They can advise their clients to book ahead of time, thereby making the cost of the trip easier to ‘digest’ by first paying a deposit. Travel agents can also advise on affordable airfares, and value-for-money accommodation and destinations.


That brings us to the second obstacle. South African travellers feel they don’t have enough information about what’s on offer in their own country. They’re keen to expand their horizons and explore unfamiliar destinations. Unfortunately, with only ‘word-of-mouth’ recommendations and no ‘real’ information, they end up going to the usual and same-old destinations.


One traveller said: “I can tell you where to find a very nice sushi place in the middle of London but I do not really know about South Africa. I know Margate, Amanzimtoti and all the traditional beach bum places…”


The message for travel agents? Make it clear and easy for your clients, and provide them with as much information as possible. For travellers craving information about destinations within their own country, a deal doesn’t necessarily mean price, but rather, the value of the package and the ease of booking it.


For more insights on Domestic Tourism, stay posted to ASATA’s newsletter, website and social media…


The urge to connect at any cost is putting travellers’ data at risk

Our clients’ urge to connect every minute of the day wherever in the world they are, is putting their data at risk, according to a recent study from Kaspersky Lab.

The impulse to connect immediately on touching down abroad means the majority of people are connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi networks and putting their personal data at risk. The Kaspersky Lab research shows that three quarters of people (82%) connect to unsecured, free-at-use public access Wi-Fi networks (such as at airport terminals, hotels, cafes and restaurants) as soon as they land.

On leaving the airport, nearly half of travellers (44%) are already online, with 50% connected by the time they arrive at the hotel. Most (69%) connect in order to let family and loved ones know they have arrived safely, followed by a need to download travel information (39%) while others feel pressure to connect to meet work obligations. Without a second thought, travellers bank or shop online and transmit confidential work information.

Why would people conduct these dangerous and sensitive activities online?

Half (50%) of people say they simply forget that their connected devices are packed with highly personal and sensitive information – just because they use them for so many other things, such as for calls, cameras, and navigation.

Corporates also say they perceive work devices to be inherently more secure than private communications tools; 41% expect their employers to have set strong security measures.

Travellers are more likely to be mugged virtually than physically…

 This lack of awareness plays right into the hands of cybercriminals. The truth is that although consumers are more afraid of physical crime, they are more likely to be mugged virtually than physically when abroad, with data, rather than travel money ending up in the wrong hands.

The research uncovers other ‘truths’ as well. Almost one in five travellers have left personal devices with hotel concierges (19%), or handed them to strangers to take pictures (18%). Almost three in 10 (28%) have left them unsupervised in public spaces. Without casting aspersions, such statistics appear to demonstrate the casualness with which people guard their devices.

Generally, the report shows people remain disinclined to make allowances for when they are outside the secure bounds of their home communications networks, often even when they are transmitting highly personal data and high confidential business information. This is likely to be down to two things: a lack of understanding of the risks of cybersecurity on unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, which people are more likely to use when abroad; and also a fundamental lack of options (or well-known options) from industry for users to get safely, cost-effectively and easily online when they want to, and need to.

So what should you be advising your clients?

 Share some tips with your clients to keep their data safe and secure while travelling

  1. Update systems and passwords

Don’t forget to update all operating systems and passwords. Having the latest version will help protect travellers’ data. Update passwords as well. Try to use a 10 character password with at least one upper case letter, number and symbol. 

  1. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

Don’t click on ‘too good to be true’ offers’. One of hacker’s favourite tricks during the gift giving season is to post links for free gift cards to get the victim to click and invite the hacker into their system.

  1. Use a VPN when connecting to public Wi-Fi

Use a virtual private network (VPN) when logging onto free Wi-Fi in public. A VPN disguises your IP address, rendering you anonymous while online.

  1. Back Up!

Prior to travelling, ensure that your data is backed up and stored onto media that you safely leave at home or on the cloud.

Domestic tourism

How do South Africans choose their holidays?

Did you know out of the 21.7m South Africans over the age of 18 and earning a personal monthly income, some 3.6m adults would be targetable as holiday travellers by travel agents? That is why SA Tourism would like to team up with ASATA members to promote and sell holidays in South Africa.

Important to know for South African travel agents who want to tap into the domestic tourism niche, is how South Africans choose their holidays. SA Tourism did the research and is happy to share it with you…

It will probably not come as a big surprise that affordability is the most important consideration for SA travellers when choosing a holiday destination. Most South African travellers perceive South Africa’s tourism offerings to be expensive for locals – especially during peak season.

So, travel agents who want to tap into the domestic market, will need to brush up on rand-stretching tips for their clients. Packages are a great option, but travellers say they often feel restricted by the lack of flexibility of travel packages. So, travel agents will need to get creative to attract the budding South African domestic traveller. Make sure however that when selecting affordable options for your clients, you select ‘safe’ options, as this is a major concern for the South African traveller.

Is there a rugby concert in Durban? Is Bieber coming to Cape Town? Sporting and music events are a great inspiration for South Africans to pack their bag and explore the country. Exciting activities, such as diving, hiking or bunjee jumping, can also convince domestic travellers to book that holiday.

Keep your ear to the ground if you want to know what the ‘hip and happening’ destinations are. Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest inspirations for South African travellers. Other travellers’ photos on social media websites also help South Africans make a decision on the choice of their next holiday destination.

Good news for travel agents is that South African domestic travellers tend to book in advance. Most can’t really afford to travel spontaneously; they need to plan according to their budget and work obligations. They’ll do a lot of research online, and some will also book online. But, there are quite a few travellers that want the expertise of a travel agent.

For more insights on Domestic Tourism, stay posted to ASATA’s newsletter, website and social media…

Domestic Tourism

Why do South Africans go on holiday?

‘Why do South Africans go on holiday?’ is an important question to ask for travel agents who want to tap into the domestic tourism market and promote and sell holidays in South Africa. And, South African Tourism is ready to reveal the answer to ASATA members.

It will hardly come as a surprise that the most important reason why South Africans go on holiday is to ‘relax’ and to have a ‘break from the routine’.

Most South Africans also see holidays as the ideal means to reconnect with their families. But that doesn’t mean they want to go visiting friends and family during their holidays. Most South Africans believe that VFR trip are all work and no fun…

Instead of visiting oom en tannie, South Africans rather want to explore new places both internationally and within their own country. They want to experience something ‘different’, and like to participate in exciting activities that will allow them to learn about different cultures and broaden their horizons.

The ‘new’ and emerging South African travellers, who haven’t travelled much before, see a holiday as the perfect opportunity to just get away and have fun. If these travellers can enhance their social status by posting some impressive pics on social media, even better.

The more hardened leisure travellers focus on holidays that will ‘rejuvenate their mind and body’. They tend to have busy work routines, and see their holidays as the perfect time to reward themselves with a trip that will recharge their batteries. The main purpose of their holiday is to reflect, refocus and return as a ‘better person’.

Although quite keen to travel within their own country, most South Africans feel they don’t have enough information about what’s on offer in their home land. As a result, they travel mostly to the familiar and popular destination. And, well… that can get a bit boring.

So, if you want to attract the attention of the domestic traveller, try and find unexplored nature-based destinations where they can experience exciting new activities. And… to let you in on a little secret: the beach is their absolute favourite destination, followed closely by the mountains and the bush.