Safari aims to reopen tourism ties with SA

AFTER a three-year absence the WA Tourism Commission is making a concerted push back into the South African market.

The move follows recent research by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing that 14,000 South Africans travelled to WA in 1999. National figures for the same period were about 46,000 from South Africa, with a contribution of $7.8 million, or $1,600 per visitor, to the local economy.

“After an absence of three years from the market, South Africa has emerged as a ‘future’ market for the WA Tourism Commission,” WATC acting chief executive officer Richard Muirhead said.

“Our figures, as well as research recently conducted in-market with the assistance of Westralia Aiports Corp-oration, shows that South Africans have a strong interest in our State as a holiday destination, and it is an area for possible growth.”

Unprecedented demand earlier this year for flights out of South Africa for the August Rugby Union international in Perth forced Qantas to divert an international flight through Perth airport.

The 150 additional seats on the Qantas flight were sold in just 15 minutes.

The previous rugby international staged in Perth between the Australian Wallabies and South African Springboks attracted a sellout crowd of 40,000 people to the Subiaco Oval.

EventsCorp estimates sports tourism generates $7.9 billion every year and provides an ideal springboard for promoting WA as a holiday destination.

To this end, the Australian Tourism Commission has organised The Australian Travel Safari.

“The purpose of our involvement in the Travel Safari is to increase awareness of Perth and WA as a tourism destination among the distributors of travel products in the travel trade,” Mr Muirhead said

The safari will bring together about 500 travel agents and allow staff from the WATC to re-establish relationships with key business figures in the tourism industry in South Africa, including retailers and airline representatives.

The four-day Travel Safari will visit Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.

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