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The Tourism Growth Strategy marks a new beginning for South African Tourism. Over the past nine months we have done intensive research to understand the international tourism and travel markets and make critical choices about where we should spend our marketing time and money in order to achieve our country’s objectives for international tourism.
The old Satour was hamstrung and limited in its effectiveness by the absence of proper data and market intelligence. As a result, the organisation was unable to make the kind of informed choices about where to spend its limited marketing resources, and how it would best be able to maximize returns on those resources.
The growth strategy development process has turned that legacy around, and lays a key strategic foundation for the new SA Tourism to take up the lead in strategically deploying its resources to secure growth from tourism markets which hold the greatest potential to deliver against its objectives for tourism growth.
In doing this, SA Tourism recognizes that the process of arriving at a strategy involves choices. These choices about which markets to focus on, which segments within these markets to target, with what message and through what medium, are all choices which must be informed by deep insight and understanding about markets and customers
As South Africa moved into the era of democracy, the nation was captured by the promise and potential for tourism and the benefits it would bring to the people of our country. The strong growth we saw in overseas arrivals in 1996/7 convinced many that South Africa was on an upward swing that required relatively little effort to sustain. The optimism of the period was perhaps most strongly reflected in government policy documents which
suggested targets for tourism arrivals as high as 15% growth per year for the period up to 2010.
Certainly, South Africa has seen growth in foreign arrivals which have been unprecedented. For the period 1994 to 2000 the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) was 8%. However, the period after 1998 has been more sobering when the CAGR dropped back to a mere 0.4%.
In part, this fairly dramatic slowing of the arrivals growth rate is driven by the systematic declines in arrivals from Lesotho and to a certain extent Swaziland as well. As the employment of Lesotho and Swazi nationals in South Africa has slowed, and in fact declined, in South Africa (particularly in the mining sector), trips by friends and relatives to
visit these foreign nationals