Growth potential for outbound travel market

Research released at World Travel Market Africa 2017 by Grant Thornton and Reed Exhibitions points to growing opportunities for outbound travel in South Africa, with much of the growth coming from intra-Africa leisure travel.

Traditionally, outbound travel from South Africa has not been well tracked, says Otto de Vries, CEO ASATA. “This research is the first step to enhancing the insights our members have around patterns of leisure travel by South Africans.

“As part of ASATA’s approved strategy for 2017 / 2018, we are commissioning a Travel Market Index Report to provide members with insight in to South African traveller behaviour. We would encourage all companies involved in the business of outbound travel to participate so that proper intelligence can be shared for the benefit of all.”

The research indicates increasing opportunities for outbound travel from South Africans, driven predominantly by the growing wealthy and middle classes.

Gillian Saunders, deputy CEO Grant Thornton, says South Africans in general are not adventurous travellers, tend to travel to the same destinations which are affordable and are not big bookers of independent travel.

“The opportunities lie in showing South African travellers that there are new and different opportunities for travel worldwide other than the destinations they currently travel to. We are however challenged by exchange rates, the current economic climate and visa restrictions that are making it a challenge for South Africans to travel overseas.”

Otto indicates that this is a great opportunity for South Africa’s travel trade to guide South African travellers and grow the market by providing professional service and on-the-ground destination knowledge so that they can Travel with Peace of Mind.

According to Grant Thornton, South Africa’s total outbound travel market was set at 5,5m travellers in 2016 for all forms of travel. However, of that amount, only an estimated 300,000 travellers travel for leisure internationally.

“As a travel industry, we have to work together to grow the market so that more South African travellers have an opportunity to experience their own country as tourists and the many destinations that are welcoming South Africans to their shores,” concludes Otto.

Grant Thornton and Reed Exhibitions’ research indicates those key drivers of outbound travel to be connectivity to markets and products, the cost of travel, a culture of overseas travel and ease of travel and booking.

For more information on outbound statistics click here