STATE OF TOURISM: MEASURING SOUTH AFRICA’S DESTINATION COMPETITIVENESS & LEVERAGING FURTHER OFF OUR STRENGTHS
The National Department of Tourism (NDT) recently released its latest series of the State of Tourism Report. The report aims to inform government, industry decision makers and businesses about the performance of the Travel and Tourism sector. The report also provides a holistic view of the environment that the sector operates in whilst taking into account the challenges and opportunities associated with external factors affecting the sector and the country.
In this and the following few newsletter editions we focus our attention on unpacking and discussing the report. This week we take a closer look at a key section of the report titled South Africa’s Destination Competitiveness and how it is measured:
- With reference to the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competiveness Report for 2017, South Africa ranked top in Africa for performing well in a business environment, ICT readiness, tourist service infrastructure, environmental sustainability, price competiveness, natural resources and the prioritization of travel & tourism.
- South Africa’s biggest competitors with regard to source markets were UK, Germany, USA, and India. Although SA is ranked top in the sub-Saharan region for Travel and Tourism Competiveness, there is still much room for improvement when compared to its bigger competitors, especially with regards to international openness. SA is on par though with its competitors with regards to safety and security, health and hygiene, human resources & labour, prioritization of travel & tourism, price competiveness and environmental sustainability. It is noted that an improvement in safety and security prioritization will most likely result in an increased number of tourists visiting the country.
- It is also recommended that more attention be given to services and infrastructure since this has an overall effect on the tourist’s experience and will ultimately improve South Africa’s competiveness in tourism services.
- The report lists a number of inherent strengths South Africa possesses that should be prioritized to gain advantage over competitors:
- Wildlife: South Africa boasts the Big Five as well as a variety of other species
- Wine and Food: SA is known as a world-renowned fine wine-producer, and also possesses a number of specialized and world class restaurants
- Number and quality of conference centres: SA has a number of international standard conference centres and is currently ranked 38th of 127 destinations on the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) ranking.
- Other strengths listed include Exchange Rate and value for money; that English is widely spoken; Adventure tourism; Service quality, and Cultural diversity.
- Some close attention should also be given to improving the following elements so that South Africa can become an even more competitive destination:
- Cost of airfare and regulations
- Long haul flight elements
- Tourist safety and health risks
- Public transport
Click here to view the State of Tourism Report 2015/16