I was reading an article a couple of days ago about a plan to create a deep water harbour in Durban to accommodate, amongst others, ocean going cruise liners. It got me thinking about the value, to South Africa, of water born tourists.
So here’s an observation and a plan.
Air travel versus Sea travel to South Africa.
If we assume that our tourist has 14 days to play with then it is a no brainer.
Air travel – 14 hours to get here and back and 13 days to enjoy South Africa, travelling around, staying in our hotels, visiting our outstanding game reserves, visiting our wine farms, visiting the Drakensberg, diving off our spectacular coast, playing a round or two of golf on any one of our world class golf courses, dining out (airline food is generally so gross that most flyers can’t wait to sit down to a decent meal), spending a little time on Rovos rail, hiring cars. Bottom line – minority spend to transport provider, majority spend with South African service providers.
Sea Travel – 11 days to get here and back and less than 1 day on land (probably just a few hours between breakfast and dinner), if they can drag themselves away from the on-board restaurants, swimming pools, casinos, floor shows and duty free shops. Our tourist industry makes money from having bums in seats, not bums on boats. Bottom line – major spend to transport provider and virtually nothing to South African tourism. What little spend there is is likely to be within 10 kms of the port.
Sell SA Airways to a competent company and let them run it as a commercial airline, not the fiefdom of free-loading politicians. I have always been a tad confused by the need for politicians to fly around the country. Our election system is one of proportional representation. Politicians don’t have constituents to report back to so where do they fly to on ‘official’ business ?
Stop spending mountains of money on deep water harbours for cruise ships. If the cruise lines want better terminal facilities, how about they build them. We should concentrate our spend on facilities and infrastructure to improve tourist playgrounds. Let’s start with Durban and Cape Town.
Start advertising tourism aggressively. South Africa has amazing opportunities to offer tourists.
Are the advertising agencies doing their job properly ?
The market research is a breeze. Give every air traveller a form to use to enter a competition. The winner gets a case of the most delicious Barry and Nephews pot still brandy. The competition is simply to submit 2 photos of any Bill Boards advertising South Africa that they see in London, Paris or New York. When was the last time you saw an SA promotion billboard in any of those cities ?
Am I living in Noddy Land ?
What a breath of fresh air to have tourists travelling the length and breadth of our magnificent country providing employment opportunities to so many. If only it were so easy and if only there were fewer free-loaders with their snouts in the trough. What is the value of the work to dig out the old Durban aiport for a deep water harbour ? Plenty of dodgy tender potential there.
Tell us what you think, submit a comment.