South African Tourism is set to launch a revolutionary, world-first product – called Good Times in a Box – to stimulate domestic tourism. Good Times in a Box will soon be available online.
The product, introduced at INDABA, aims to make travel more accessible to the potentially lucrative domestic market, which remains relatively untapped. This is largely because many South Africans have not yet considered travel for leisure, either because they feel they cannot afford to do so, they do not have a culture of travel, or although they already travel, they do not consider doing so for holidays and entertainment.
Good Times in a Box addresses these perceptions by curating a range of experiences, from family getaways, to girls’ weekends and romantic escapes. “The idea is to make travel less intimidating by removing the hassle,” explains SA Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona. He points out that purchasing a travel package “in a box” makes holidaying as simple as buying a loaf of bread – everything is taken care of, from accommodation to entertainment. This means that would-be travellers will not become discouraged at the thought of having to make several phone calls to secure reservations at hotels and tourist attractions; moreover, there is also a single price point that encompasses these costs.
Ntshona notes that facilitating domestic travel in this manner is critical. “Domestic tourism is beneficial for a multitude of reasons. It contributes to the regional economy, supports the diversity of the tourism industry, contributes to the stability of the industry, and allows operators to explore niche areas.” This is because domestic travellers usually stay longer and spend more than their international counterparts, who are more likely to visit multiple destinations during a once-off visit. In contrast, domestic tourists tend to book a visit to a specific village, town or attraction and spend several days there – perhaps even weeks – often returning at another time.
South African Tourism’s findings reveal that domestic travel spend has huge potential to grow because SA Tourism recognises that there is an untapped domestic leisure travel market. While South Africans are currently travelling for a range of reasons like business, and visiting friends and relatives, they are not travelling for leisure. Ntshona says that there are 5.5 million people in South Africa who could be encouraged to explore their country or, if they are already doing so, to discover new destinations within South Africa.
“Our goal is to encourage domestic tourism to the point where South Africans take three million trips during 2017. To achieve this aim, we need to see 300 000 people booking holidays. We would also like to see domestic tourists spend R2000 per trip,” he says. This is important, because in most countries, domestic tourism is the bedrock of the industry, and a thriving domestic travel scene makes for a more successful tourism sector as a whole.
Motivating South Africans to travel requires the industry to strengthen our travel culture by ensuring that the trade packages travel products that are affordable and accessible. In this manner, travel becomes attainable. This is why Good Times in a Box has packaged travel around people and for people. “In essence, we’ve commoditised travel; made it something that is no more complicated to buy than any other item on your shopping list. What’s more, we are the first country to have adopted this approach,” Ntshona says.