Zonja Beretta, South African Airways; Rhiannon Grieve, helloworld Travel; Sierra Valente, SA Zonja Beretta, South African Airways; Rhiannon Grieve, helloworld Travel; Sierra Valente, SA

SA: Challenges but steady

The number of New Zealanders travelling to South Africa has held up better than may have been expected with the visa woes and difficulties in the past year, according to Tim Clyde-Smith, country manager Australasia with South African Airways.

 

‘That said, we are looking forward to the introduction of electronic visas and we are glad New Zealand will be one of the trial markets. The pain that people have gone through (to get a visa) has certainly not helped but the numbers have not been affected that badly.’ He says challenges that have been just as significant have included being up against sharp specials and capacity across the Pacific and to Europe as well as Asia. ‘Basically the world is on sale. So when it comes to South Africa I think there has had to be a real driver while things have not been so easy – perhaps it has had to be a real bucket list desire or it is VFR (visiting friends and relatives).’ Clyde-Smith was in New Zealand last week and attended a trade function on Friday – held to touch base and thank key members of the trade.

 

‘The transit time in Perth is an issue for us. We would like to see an improvement and we are working with Perth Airport.’ Clyde-Smith says messages to the trade include SA’s strong footprint in southern Africa and the ease of using Johannesburg as a hub to other parts of the continent. ‘We also remind people of the value of South Africa as a destination. The accommodation and meals are so affordable and it is a delight to travel around – the people are friendly and there is a great level of service.’ He says he always emphasises that South Africa and other destinations nearby are relatively safe for travellers – including those who wish to self drive. ‘Of course safety is something one needs to be aware of anywhere in the world. But it shouldn’t be considered an inhibitor to visiting Africa.

 

More in this category: « AC's key messages to trade

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