How SA Tourism plans to make domestic travel more accessible

South African Tourism is set to launch a world-first product to stimulate domestic tourism and it will soon be available online.

Good Times in a Box was introduced at the Tourism Indaba, and aims to make travel more accessible to the potentially lucrative domestic market, which remains relatively untapped. This is largely because many South Africans haven’t considered travelling for leisure, because they can’t afford to or it isn’t something they associate with entertainment – they travel only for business reasons or to visit friends and relatives.

Good Times in a Box addresses these perceptions by curating a range of experiences, from family getaways, to girls’ weekends and romantic escapes.

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“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 would-be travellers won’t be discouraged at the thought of having to secure reservations at hotels and planning visits to tourist attractions, among other things. Another attractive feature of the package is that a single price point encompasses these costs.

Ntshona notes that facilitating domestic travel in this manner is critical.

“Domestic tourism is beneficial for many 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,” he says.

Our goal is to encourage domestic tourism to the point where South Africans take three million trips during 2017

This is because domestic travellers usually stay longer at a destination and spend more money than their international counterparts, who are more likely to visit multiple destinations on a once-off visit to the country. Domestic tourists tend to spend several days, perhaps even weeks, in a village or town, often returning at another time.

South African Tourism’s findings reveal that domestic travel spend has huge potential to grow. Ntshona says there are 5,5 million people in South Africa who could be encouraged to explore the country or, if they’re 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, we need to see 300 000 people booking holidays. We’d also like to see domestic tourists spend R2 000 per trip,” he says.

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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.

Motivating South Africans to explore the country requires the industry to strengthen its culture of travel by ensuring that packages are affordable and accessible.

“In essence, we’ve commoditised travel, made it something that’s no more complicated than buying any other item on your shopping list,” Ntshona says. “What’s more, we’re the first country to have adopted this approach.”

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