Topics
Publishers
Add to bookmarks Add to subscriptions Share
Travel Industry Review (TIR) Southern Africa
| Tourism & Travel 2009-06-30 18:00:00
Page 1 of 2
  • Add to bookmarks Add to subscriptions Share
    Page 1

    ?Economic rollercoaster ride not changing direction yet BY MELANY BENDIX INDUSTRY heads have revised forecasts for the timing of an upturn in travel sales. Late last year Standard Bank economist Danelee van Dyk predicted that the cumulative effects of the credit crunch would build up to pull South African outbound travel to rock bottom by mid-2009, after which business would most likely start to pick up (TIR, October 2009). Mid-2009 is here and, although many industry heads are cautiously optimistic that the worst is over, most believe it will still be rough going for a few more months. ?Being an optimist I would really like to think Ms. van Dyk's predictions were correct, but I think overall we will have a few slower months to come,? said Wally Gaynor, Club Travel Managing Director. ?I think there?s still some way to go before we bottom out in South Africa,? agreed Will Puk, Travel Counsellors SA General Manager. Johann Strydom, World Leisure Holidays Managing Director, is also not convinced the tide is turning just yet: ?In a sense, it is wishful thinking (that the industry has already hit rock bottom) because if we have, then the upturn is just here.? Uniglobe Travel Chief Executive, Mike Gray, reckons it?s possible the leisure industry could start recovering from a mid-year low, but he stressed that the corporate sector ?has definitely not hit the bottom yet?. ?We are finding that many of our corporate accounts only started taking drastic (cost cutting) action in April, and therefore foresee the next year being even worse in terms of average spend than this year,? he said. Bad, but could be worse? Although this paints a bleak picture, in actuality the South African market is not faring too badly, especially in comparison to markets like the UK, where PriceWaterhouse- Coopers last month warned continued on page 2 STILL FLYING HIGH AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: Virgin Atlantic Airways celebrated its 25th birthday last month and marked the event with a recreation of the airline?s first flight to New York, complete with 1980s themed music, movies and meals. The airline?s offices globally also celebrated the day, and South Africa was no exception. Pictured at Virgin?s Johannesburg birthday party were: (from left) Richard Myerscough, General Manager for South Africa; local celeb Lee-Anne Liebenberg; singer Danny K; and Caren Parkinson, Marketing Manager; While overall visitor arrivals to Australia have declined over the past year, South African tourism numbers are growing. Turn to the Australasia feature on pages 8 and 9 to get all the details. Ever been stuck in an airport for a night? Find out how you or your clients can make the most of an unexpected airport stay-over in this month?s Webwalker column on page 4. Travel Industry Review Published Published by TTG TTG Southern Southern Africa Africa THE COUNT DOWN BEGINS?Last month?s Confederations Cup kick-off marked the one-year countdown to the showstopper event, the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The Protea Hotels team celebrated the countdown with a bit of vuvuzela trumpeting in their specially built ?2010 Room? at the hotel group?s head office in Cape Town: (from left) Tumeka Marala (front), Peter Immelman, Anastasia Edinberry, Benjamin Memani and Celeste Hull. Apavou Holidays closes BY MELANY BENDIX APAVOU Holidays?the dedicated tour operator for Apavou Hotels in South Africa? has become the third mainstream tour operator to close its doors in the South African market this year. But, unlike its counterparts Top Holidays and Infinite Horizons which collapsed suddenly and left agents and clients in the lurch, Apavou Holidays? closure was a strategic decision by parent company Apavou Hotels and planned for accordingly. By the time the tour operator continued on page 13 READY, SET, BID! Times may be tough, but newlyweds are refusing to cut back on honeymoon travel. Read the annual Wedding and Honeymoon Travel feature on pages 10 to 12 to find out more about this lucrative travel sector. THIS year marks the 75th Anniversary of Skal International, the global travel and tourism networking and fundraising organisation. To celebrate this milestone, Skal Cape Town and TIR have teamed up to launch our first-ever online auction to raise funds for the club and the Florimond Volckaert Fund, the charity it supports. There are some fabulous auction items for you to bid on, including a Rovos Rail trip, Kenya Airways tickets, a stay at Cybele Forest Lodge & Health Spa and a 4-ball entry to the Skal Golf Challenge at Pearl Valley Golf Estate on October 16. NEED MORE REASONS TO JOIN THE AUCTION ACTION? Well, aside from the fact that all funds raised go towards Skal Cape Town and its charity the Florimond Volckaert Fund, chances are you?ll be able to score these fabulous auction items at a fraction of their going price. During these tough economic times, do you need another reason to get out your bidding card? LOG ONTO TIR 360? E-NEWS (www.tir.co.za/enews/) every Monday from July 6 to join the bidding fun!

  • Add to bookmarks Add to subscriptions Share
    Page 2

    On the News Digest Ground? Samantha Blood TIRED of always listening to what the travel industry?s Chief Executives, Managing Directors, and Chief Operating Officers have to say? Then it?s time to find out what the people who deal hands on with clients every day think about important issues/decisions affecting all levels of the trade. TIR puts its ear to the ground to bring you the latest scoop! By RICHARD HOLMES This month, TIR speaks to Samatha Blood from Travel Associates in Cape Town?s Wembley Square about the positives and negatives of the recession. Q: Interest rates are dropp i n g a n d t h e r a n d h a s strengthened. Do these indicators give you hope that the economy is heading for recovery? A: Yes, I really do hope the economy is heading for recover y. I always look on the positive side and even though we are going through a recession it amazes me how many people are still travelling! Q: Have you noticed any signs of recovery in your day-to-day business? A: Yes, there?s definitely been an increase in enquiries. Especially as times are tough for the airlines, we have some very good specials that have helped to boost our business. Q: So far, what has been the most difficult challenge that has resulted from the economic slowdown over the past year or so? 2 TIR Southern Africa ? July 2009 A: I think the increased cost of fuel at the onset of the recession has affected international and domestic travel. The biggest challenge has been to approach these hurdles creatively and we?re lucky to have a great product contracting team who give the sales staff products that are really what our clients want. Q: Has any good come out of the challenges? A: Yes, I appreciate my loyal clients at recessionary times like this, but at the same time giving service that is second to none will entice my clients to come back to book and refer business. Q: What?s the most important lesson you?ve learned from this experience? A: Not to give up when times are tough out there. It might be a bit more hard work, but you will see the rewards as an end result. That hard work will only make your business stronger and grow from strength to strength. What I have learned from this experience makes me appreciate my business a whole lot more! Economic rollercoaster ride not changing... continued from page 1 their travel industry to prepare for up to five years of recessionary suffering. In contrast, many South African retail groups and tour operators seem to be doing quite well considering the harsh trading environment. For example, only five out of 10 large retail groups and tour operators canvassed by TIR reported their business was down a bit year-on-year, while the other half (Uniglobe, Travel Counsellors, Sure Tours, Club Med and Travel Vision) said business is up, with Club Med reporting an impressive 35 percent growth between January and April alone. And, unlike the UK market where a recent study showed a 145 percent year-on-year increase in travel company insolvencies, South Africa has suffered comparatively few failures, with only three mainstream tour operators closing shop in 2009 so far. IATA will not release information on agency defaults?not even to ASATA?making it practi Mantis takes on The World THE Mantis Group has been appointed as Sales Ambassador for The World, a 644-foot vessel billed as ?the globe?s largest private yacht?. Also known as ?the only private residential community at sea?, The World comprises 165 apartments across 12 decks. This concept, according to the yacht?s owner ResidenSea, enables residents and guests to travel the world without leaving the comforts of a luxury private home. Appointed Sales Ambassadors (the Mantis Group is one of only 20 worldwide) can assist clients in purchasing an apartment or booking a holiday onboard the super yacht. However, apartments with ?For Sale? signs on are hard to come by (all officially sold out in 2006), and as such the yacht operates much like a hotel apartment timeshare scheme, only on a far more exclusive level. The apartments are sold or rented on an ?by-invitation only? basis, but the invitation comes at a price, with nightly rates for studio accommodation starting at US$1,600 (about R13,000). cally impossible to accurately report on travel agency closures in the local market. However, anecdotal evidence from several dominant retail groups indicates that there have been a number or closures in 2008/2009, but these still amount to only a handful for each of these groups. Some industry bosses pointed out that the number of closures has been minimal because several travel agencies have consolidated to avoid going under. ?We know of a number of travel agencies who have joined forces rather than close down and we feel that this is a very creative way of dealing with the downturn in business,? said Terry Munro, Beachcomber Tours Managing Director. Temporary upturn around the corner? The other somewhat good news for the trade is that the leisure market should begin picking up from this month onwards. But, before anyone starts popping champagne to ALL GROWN UP?.2009 is an important year for Three Cities, as it marks the group?s 21st year of operation and the growth from three to 38 hotels and tourism properties in its rapidly expanding portfolio. To celebrate this milestone, the hotel group is offering guests the chance to win a getaway for two people worth R21,000 (visit www.threecities.co.za for full details). In the meantime, the Three Cities Central Reservations team is celebrating the hotel group?s coming of age: (from left - back) Amanda Naradh, Dianne Naidoo, Kanandree Pather, Heather Wynne, Avika Somaroo, (front) Deshni Govender and Zelda Eberle. BRIEFLY Greek carrier Aegean Airlines has been accepted as a future member of the Star Alliance. The airline is expected to become a fully-fledged member in about 12 months, following the successful completion of an integration process. Qantas Airways? economy class passengers seeking more legroom are now able to purchase exit row seats on celebrate the end of the recession, be warned that this is a historic pattern and does not necessarily indicate an end to the bad times. Louis Venter, Travellers Choice General Manager, explained: ?The second six months of any year should always be better than the first because you have three school holiday periods here; July, September and December. Lower interest rates and a stronger rand may help increase bookings, but it does not change this historical fact.? On the other hand, Otto de Vries, Holiday Tours General Manager, does not expect the lowered interest rate and the strengthened rand to drive bookings in the near future. ?Lower interest rates usually take up to 18 months to filter through to the market,? he said. Mr. Strydom agreed: ?Demand will lag behind the economic turnaround.? In fact, other factors are likely to boost bookings in the short term more than the successive interest rate drops will . Aside from the impending school holidays, Elaine Youngleson, Club Med SA Managing Director, believes bookings have increased and will continue to do so largely because ?people are desperately seeking happiness amongst all this gloom and they need to escape from the daily pressures?. Future is a mystery? While tour operators and travel agents differ in their predictions of how long it will take the market to bounce back from the economic turbulance, all are in agreement about one thing: it has become almost impossible to make any accurate booking predictions. ?Traditional booking patterns are all but non existent,? said Mr. de Vries. Mr. Munro pointed out that ?not even forward bookings are an indicator at the moment because bookings are becoming closer to the time and seat availability is not as critical as it has been in the past.? Photo: Hannah Keal selected international flights. Frequent flyer members can also purchase the seats using accrued points. Exit row seats on long haul routes (including South Africa) cost an additional A$160 (R1,050) or 20,000 frequent flyer points, while short haul seats cost an additional A$80 (R525) or 10,000 points. The seats are only available to passengers who fulfil the safety regulations for emergency exit seating. >

  • Add to bookmarks Add to subscriptions Share
    Page 3

    News Digest TIR Southern Africa ? July 2009 3

  • Add to bookmarks Add to subscriptions Share
    Page 4

    Airline News Jet Airways appoints GSA ROGERS Aviation South Africa has become the official gsa for Indian carrier Jet Airways and its domestic subsidiary JetLite. The appointment also covers gsa representation for Swaziland, Namibia and Lesotho. This follows Rogers Aviation?s Mauritius-based head office being appointed as official gsa for Jet Airways and JetLite on the island, while its sister company, Ario Ltd, represents the two airlines in Madagascar, Reunion and Mozambique. Rogers Aviation Marketing Manager, Annick Corroy, said the company?s appointment in South Africa will benefit local travel agents booking the Indian carriers. ?South African travel agents will be given full support to boost their knowledge and sales on the Indian routes and via India to connect to the rest of the BRIEFLY Qatar Airways will make its first entry into the Australian market before year-end, starting with a three times weekly service to Melbourne scheduled to launch on December 6. The new route will be operated by a new-delivery Boeing B777-200 aircraft. Qatar plans to increase the service to daily in early 2010 following the delivery of a second B777-200. At the same time, the airline has confirmed that it will increase flights between Doha and Paris to double daily, effective October 25. world through Jet Airways? international routings,? she said, adding that the company has a permanent office in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, which is backed up by a sales team based in Johannesburg and Durban. In terms of reliability, Ms. Corroy pointed out that agents will be hard-pressed to find an airline gsa with a more established track record: ?Rogers Aviation was the first company to be appointed general sales agent for some prestigious airlines as early as 1945.? The company started off as the gsa for Air France in Mauritius in 1945?a contract it holds to this day?followed by SAA in 1948. Rogers Aviation has since grown its gsa portfolio to include Air Austral, Air Seychelles, Kenya Airways, Airlink, Saudi Arabian Airlines and, most recently, Jet Airways and JetLite. ????????????? ??????????????? ?????????????????? 4 TIR Southern Africa ? July 2009 JET AIRWAYS AT A GLANCE BASED in Mumbai, Jet Airways is India?s second largest international airline after Air India and, together with domestic subsidiary JetLite, operates over 440 flights daily to 63 destinations within India and beyond. Jet Airways operates routes to key destinations in North America (New York and Toronto), Europe (Brussels and London) and Asia (Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Colombo, Bangkok , K a t hmandu and Dhaka). The airline also has an extensive network in the Middle East, including routes to Kuwait, Bahrain, Muscat, Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. In addition to JetLite, Jet Airways operates Jet Airways Konnect, its nofrills, low cost subsidiary operating on domestic Indian routes. Jet Airways Konnect links five major metros?Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru and Kolkata? with several destinations across India. ???????????????????????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????????????????????????? ????????????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????????????????????? > Singapore Airlines will deploy the Airbus A380 on the Singapore/Hong Kong route on July 9. The daily A380 flights will replace the Boeing 777-300ER currently operating on the route, a move that will increase capacity by 10 percent. Hong Kong will become the second Asian city that Singapore Airlines is operating the superjumbo aircraft to. The airline launched the A380 on its Sydney route in 2007, followed by A380 services to London, Tokyo and Paris. By RICHARD HOLMES Times are tough, the recession is biting and travellers are cutting costs wherever they can. So what about snoozing in the airport instead of an expensive hotel? Budget travellers will love this site for airside slumbering? Web address: http://sleepinginairports.com Why it?s useful: In a nutshell, it?s the ultimate guide to sleeping in airports. Whether you?re a skint traveller saving a few sheckles or have simply been stranded by flight delays and missed connections, this website will give you the lowdown on the best airports in the world for grabbing forty winks. Best features: The core of the site is reviews of airports across the globe and their ?sleep-ability?. Regular travellers who?ve sacked out in terminals from Azerbaijan to Zagreb share their tips for finding a comfortable seat, keeping luggage safe and which is the best terminal to head for overnight. Singapore?s Changi airport comes out tops.We love the list of ?Sleep in an Airport 101? tips, which will have you snoozing in comfort before you can say ?pack a pool lilo?. Other hilarious hints include ?Stick postit notes all over yourself saying ?Wake me at 5am??! Niggles and nags: Postings can be out of date for smaller, out of the way airports. We?re also not thrilled by the navigation, which can make finding your way around the site tricky. A few more pics wouldn?t go amiss either. It?s obviously not for all clients, but budget and youth travellers will love the insider advice you can give them on saving a few pennies. And who knows, when that next flight is delayed you can thank your lucky lilo for sites like this! TIR rating: 6/10 Have you found a great online resource that you want to share with your colleagues? Let TIR know and we?ll review it. Email: melany@tir.co.za BA hangs tough in SA BY MELANY BENDIX THERE?S no doubt British Airways is struggling under monumental financial pressures?so much so that the airline last month took the unprecedented step of asking staff to work for ?mahala? for a month. Despite this, BA is ?more than holding its own? in the South African market, according to Ashley Cowen, Area General Manager for Asia/Pacific and Africa, who reckons the ?slowdown in the global economy has not impacted our South African routes to the same extent as it has others around the world.? Speaking during a recent visit to Cape Town, Mr. Cowen said the airline?s South African routes are continuing to operate at ?fairly good load factors??partly due to events such as the Indian Premier League and the British & Irish Lions Tour, for which BA is the official airline, as well as the Confederations Cup. But he stressed it is not all sunshine and roses in the local market either: ?Our yields reflect the contracting market conditions.? The major challenge the airline faces in South Africa, he said, is an excess of capacity in a slowing market. Nevertheless, BA still went ahead with plans to introduce five new flights on its Johanneburg route last month (in addition to the existing doubledaily service). This brings the airline?s South African schedule up to a total of 26 flights per week, which will increase to 33 in October when the double-daily Cape Town summer schedule begins. ?Introducing more capacity in a recession isn?t something that we?d normally choose to do, but in this case there?s a bit of history,? said Mr. Cowen, explaining that the airline has been arguing for more flights into the country since 2002, but were only granted additional rights about a year ago. ?Unfortunately by this time we were already faced with falling load factors and rising fuel costs. Despite this, after so many years of arguing for more services, we decided to take the opportunity to expand our Johannesburg schedule.? Mr. Cowen added that, although the circumstances are not ideal, he remains bullish that BA will be able to sustain its market share, largely due to the airline ?introducing tactical specials and working with trade and corporate partners?. He also believes that the additional capacity places BA in a good position to take advantage of the expected upturn in the inbound market during next year?s FIFA World Cup. ?????????

  • Add to bookmarks Add to subscriptions Share
    Page 5

    News Digest

  • Add to bookmarks Add to subscriptions Share
    Page 6

    www.tir.co.za EDITORIAL DIRECTOR John Wardall MANAGING EDITOR Melany Bendix melany@tir.co.za Cell: 082 200 7088 ASSOCIATE EDITOR Dominic Wardall CONTRIBUTORS Richard Holmes Hannah Keal Jane Keys Nikki Benatar Hendri Pelser PUBLISHER John Wardall DESIGN & LAYOUT Erika van Breda ADVERTISING Dominic Wardall Tel: (021) 789-0053 Fax: (021) 789-2666 Cell: 083 456 2591 dominic@tir.co.za Andrew Watson Tel: (021) 447-3036 Fax: (021) 789-2666 Cell: 076 303 2977 andrew@tir.co.za CIRCULATION dominic@tir.co.za ACCOUNTS Beverley Gough ADMINISTRATION Nerina Nicholson HEAD OFFICE 9 Ruby Terrace Noordhoek, 7979 P.O. Box 745 Noordhoek, 7979 Tel: (021) 789-0053 Fax: (021) 789-2666 travgaz@iafrica.com REPRESENTATION UK: MW Media mjw.wingham@virgin.net Europe: Ray Lampard Intl. intmedia@aol.com Thailand: World Media Co. media@worldmedia.co.th Malaysia: Raffles Int. Media geraldsaw_raffles@yahoo. com PRINTING Formeset TTG Southern Africa 2009 Published by: TTG Southern Africa c.c. Reg no: 1995/030913/23 Got a HOT story? Contact TIR?s news hotline: melany@tir.co.za 6 TIR Southern Africa ? July 2009 COMMENT Tough times separate the wheat from the chaff EVERY industry and every sector of every industry has taken a beating in this current recession. The real estate market at the top and at the bottom and Mercedes and BMW as much as Hyundai and Kia. In the travel business, the well-heeled, who we originally thought would sail through the storm unaffected, have become more cautious about their travel expenditure than has been experienced in the past 20 years. The high-yield business on which so many suppliers depend has softened to an alarming degree, illustrated graphically by the forecasts now coming out of the airline industry. Corporate travel, meetings and incentives?usually stable customers?have weakened as Consultant?s Corner IN the last of a two-part Consultant?s Corner column, Dr. Mornay Roberts-Lombard from the Department of Marketing Management at the University of Johannesburg, provides some more guidelines on how to use word-of-mouth communication as a referral marketing tool. In last month?s column I discussed how word-of-mouth communication can build or ruin the reputation of your business and gave some tips on how you can go about using this as an effective marketing tool for your travel agency or tour operator. To sum up the tips so far: you need to create a formal and informal network of word-of-mouth marketers, who are able to reach your target market. It is crucial to then compile a database of these networks. Once these networks are established, you should undertake the following steps: Maintain contact: You should continuously provide the word-of-mouth marketers of your business with new information. This information should relate to new product development, special offers and organisational, structural and administrative changes which will improve your business? level of service delivery. Such communi- much, and in some cases even more, than leisure business and a lot of front?end flyers have suddenly found themselves sitting at the back ? and even that is often only when a conference call would not suffice. But there is certainly some sunlight on the horizon in what are becoming changed markets in which every participant is going to have to adapt, domestically and internationally. The Tourism Minister and the Western Cape Tourism MEC have both urged domestic suppliers to temper their pricing in order to attract the local and regional markets. It is a recognition that, in the immediate future anyway, international inbound markets are going to be under pressure cation can be done via telephone (a phone call or SMS), by computer (email), newsletters or annual reports (especially where the business is part of a franchise), seminars, social functions and personal contact with the wordof-mouth communicators. Dr. Mornay Roberts-Lombard Reward your loyal communicators: Always be sure to reward word-of-mouth marketers for the positive referrals that they deliver on behalf of the business. Rewards can be in the form of special offers (i.e. cash discounts on a flight ticket, cruise, accommodation or car hire) or providing a travel package to a specific destination. Large prizes such as a motor vehicle can be sponsored for Some local suppliers are finally starting to report an increase in domestic business as regular international travelers explore the possibilities available in their own country, during the current economic slowdown. It has opened their eyes to the potential in the domestic market but also the resistance of internationally experienced local customers to ?international? pricing. and many potential outbound travellers are going to be looking closer to home. Maybe it is also a belated recognition that we have too much overpriced product anyway, focusing all of its attention on the supposedly bottomless pockets of international visitors. There is now even more competition for customers and, as the recession starts to recede, as it is, that will become even more so as suppliers strive to re-establish their traditional markets in an environment where customers have become more demanding and are seeking value like never before. For many destinations, this comes at a time when South Africans are faced with an escalating cost of visa fees Using word-of-mouth To promote your biz the communicator who recruited the largest number of customers for the business, thereby ensuring the biggest, additional income generation through positive referrals. Always get feedback ? good and bad: In event that a word-ofmouth,the communicator no longer wants to promote the products and services of your business anymore, it is important to find out why by using post-referral communication as a technique. Post referral communication refers to exit interviews conducted with the word-ofmouth communicator to establish the reasons for his/her unwillingness to continue as a positive referral marketer. I honestly hope that the guidelines provided in both my columns on this topic have made you think about the value of using your satisfied customers (willingly of course!) to promote your products and services. If this can add value to your business through income and customer growth, why not give it a bash? Remember, you will only ever know if you try! D r . M o r n a y R o b e r t s - Lombard has done extensive research on marketing and service related trends within the travel and tourism industry. He can be contacted via email: mornayrl@uj.ac.za THE GOOD? THE BAD? THE UGLY? An armed robbery at Port Elizabeth?s football stadium, British fans robbed on their way from Johannesburg airport and a foreign journalist robbed at gunpoint during the Confederations Cup, plus other non-reported incidents. It hardly paints a welcoming picture for prospective World Cup visitors and reports from overseas state the biggest deterrent to visiting South Africa is violent crime. and burdensome procedures, a situation which is, at this point anyway, causing widespread resistance. It is going to take some time for many to accept it as the norm. The established and trusted brands in the marketplace, which were here before, are here now, and are confidently expected to be here in the future have a distinct advantage. So the challenge for new entrants will be significant. Even so, it is encouraging how few travel businesses have fallen by the wayside during this financial crisis. And the relationships they establish with the trade will be of paramount importance, as will relationships between retailers and clients. Throw- ing up a site on the internet will, on its own, not cut it in the coming, post-recession era. The old rules still apply, of course. The strong and well managed survive and prosper into the future, the chaff is shaken out, and that means the travel industry itself will emerge stronger than ever, if changed, from these uncomfortable times. FANTASTIC PRIZES UP FOR GRABS! CONGRATULATIONS to Pamela Frazer from Giltedge Travel in Cape Town, who is this month?s Spotted with TIR competition winner! Pamela was Spotted with TIR in Mauritius during a Beachcomber Tours educational last month. She explains the photo: ?We had a fantastic ed and I was the only consultant who took my TIR with me as I was determined to be photographed with it zip-lining, but then had a panic attack and refused to go! However, I was finally persuaded to do it, so I was able to get the photo taken.? For overcoming panic attacks to get this great Spotted with TIR photo, Pamela wins a 61-centimetre Sirias Twista trolley suitcase (the one with the nifty wheels that spin in any direction you walk) and the tamper proof Luggage Glove, which will prevent the Sirias Twista from being damaged or pilfered during her travels. The prize, valued at a total of R1,200, is kindly sponsored by the Luggage Warehouse. We want to know about all the weird, wonderful and even ordinary places TIR readers catch up on the latest travel trade news. So, whether you read TIR while lazing on the beach in Mauritius on a fam trip, flying to a fabulous destination or just hanging out in your local coffee shop or at your desk ? send us the photo and you?ll stand a chance of winning a fabulous prize each month! Send your ?Spotted!? with TIR photograph to melany@tir.co.za today! Corruption, mismanagement and incompetence continues to blight the image of Robben Island, one of South Africa?s iconic visitor attractions, and ongoing problems with surly, ill-informed and badly trained guides pestering tourists for a handout. Maybe it should be reopened to house the seemingly endless number of Merc-driving crooks tarnishing public institutions.

  • Add to bookmarks Add to subscriptions Share
    Page 7

    News Digest

  • Add to bookmarks Add to subscriptions Share
    Page 8

    Facing up to tough times BY RICHARD HOLMES DESPITE tough times in the travel industry, Australian tourism authorities are expecting strong growth from the South African market over the next two years. That was the word from Geoff Buckley, outgoing Managing Director of Tourism Australia, at the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) held in Melbourne last month. Although South Africa is one of Australia?s smaller source markets, Tourism Australia is hoping for visitor numbers to increase by more than five percent over the next 24 months. ?We?re seeing some nice g row th out of South Africa already, and the extra air capacity on the South Africa route has certainly contributed towards that,? said Mr. Buckley. Despite this growth, he said there are still no plans to re-establish a tourist office in the country and South Africa will continue to fall under Tourism Australia?s UK operation. Explaining the strategy of utilising the UK office, Mr. Buckley said: ?What we?re trying to do with countries like South Africa, which bring in under 100,000 people per year, is to service the market more regularly. Rather than estab- lishing a small tourist office that would be relatively limited in its capacity, we?d rather have the flexibility of using this hub-and-spoke approach.? Also speaking at ATE, Rob Gurney, Group Executive Qantas Commercial, said the airline is bracing itself for tough trading conditions ahead: ?The tourism and travel industries face significant challenges? we have reduced capacity on our domestic and international Geoff Buckley, outgoing Managing Director of Tourism Australia, speaking at last month?s ATE in Melbourne. routes, and aggressively attacked our cost base.? However, the South African route seems to be bucking the cost-cutting trend. Qantas increased its frequencies between Johannesburg and Sydney to six flights per week in December 2008, and plans to offer a daily service starting later this year. ?We have the rights for an additional flight, but no fixed date has been set for the daily service to start,? said Qantas spokesperson Sophia Connelly. Additional air capacity will help to grow the market to Australia even further. In the year to March 2009 international visitors to Australia fell 1.6 percent yet in the same period South Africa sent 65,500 travellers to Australia; a one percent increase. While this bodes well for the South African market, forecasting what is in store for the travel industry is still a ?black art,? said Mr. Buckley. Cautious consumers are generally choosing to book their travels later, he said, making it difficult to predict the full fallout from the global financial crisis. ?My gut feel is that there is more bad news to come,? he predicted. Consumers? confidence to travel has been hard-hit by the global financial crisis and?in Australia?s case - swine flu, but Mr. Buckley was bullish about the prospects for recovery: ?I?ve been in the travel industry for a long time and we?ve seen these challenges come and go. The travel industry is a resilient one, and bounces back.? ...AND MAKING THE MOST OF IT EXTRA air capacity, discounted deals and value-add offers are enticing more South Africans to visit Australia. TIR spoke to three Aussie experts to find out more about the latest travel trends in the land down under: KAY ELLISON, Thompsons Holidays Product & Contract Executive: ?In this tough market all of the suppliers are very receptive to ideas around marketing and creating packages to stimulate demand. I?ve noticed a lot of ?free night offers? are available.? THERESA BIRTLES, Sure Tours Product Manager: ?More passengers visiting family and friends are booking extended breakaways within Australia and New Zealand. (As a result) we are selling more land arrangements, tours, passes, car hire and motor-home rentals, whereas previously most passengers to Australia and New Zealand were only booking airfares and staying for the full period with families or only booking the minimum land required to qualify for an IT airfare.? JANE DAVIDSON, Development Promotions Managing Director: ?With the global financial crisis operators are hurting, and they are now much more open to tactical pricing and special offers, even in the higher end of the market. I think the South African market can look forward to seeing some really good deals and special offers coming out.? We offer Self Drive Packages, Guesthouses, B&B, Motels, Motorhomes, Car Hire and Cruising Tel: +27 21 410 3800 8 TIR Southern Africa ? July 2009 ATE - SA BUYERS PERSPECTIVE TIR REPORTER RICHARD HOLMES HIT THE TRADE SHOW FLOOR AT THIS YEAR?S AUSTRALIAN TOURISM EXCHANGE (ATE) TO SPEAK TO THREE SOUTH AFRICAN BUYERS ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE AT AUSTRALIA?S BIGGEST TRADE SHOW. 1. What has been the highlight of your ATE? 2. What exciting new products have you come across? 3. How does ATE compare to Indaba? 4. What tips do you have for agents selling Australia? VANESSA BUTLER: Infinity Holidays - Product Manager Far East & Australia QANTAS Airways has introduced two new customer services; International Advance Seat Selection and International Online Check-in. International Advance Seat Selection is available exclusively to the airline?s loyalty club members, giving them advance access to preferred seating based on their Qantas Frequent Flyer tier status. These passengers can request 1. This was my first ATE, so definitely meeting so many new people and new suppliers. Appointments at ATE are pre-arranged, so you end up getting to know so many people and learning about so many products. 2. We?re especially looking at new product for our student market, and I?ve found some fantastic scuba dive operators. There?s also great new product for our premium leisure brand; such as wine tours in the south of Australia and food tours. I think South Africans will love those. 3. Indaba is more relaxed, but because you make your own appointments you often end up meeting the same people that you already know, and not always discovering new product. 4. You really have to know your market and know to whom you are selling. There are so many products available in Australia, and you have to carefully tailor your product to your market. JANE DAVIDSON: Development Promotions, Managing Director 1. What stands out for me is the enthusiasm from the suppliers. The Australians have so much passion for their product and providing good customer service. 3. Out of all the trade shows I?ve attended this is easily the most professional, well- organised show I?ve been to. Having pre-set appointments is wonderful. 4. Agents in South Africa have often regarded Australia as almost entirely a VFR (visiting friends and relatives) market, or thought that it?s so similar to South Africa it?s not worth booking. In fact there are so many unusual destinations and activities on offer in Australia that the South African traveller wouldn?t have experienced before. KAY ELLISON: Thompsons Holidays - Product & Contract Executive 1. The fact that it was held in Melbourne has been a real highlight for me. I was in Perth last year and it?s so interesting to see the contrast between the two cities. 2. The new golf course on Hamilton Island looks fantastic ? as far as I know it will be the only golf course in the Whitsunday Islands. 3. I only work with outbound travel, so don?t attend Indaba, but ATE is certainly better than both the North American Pow Wow and WTM in London. 4. Don?t just sell the air ticket. Get your clients to pre-book their holiday, even if they are coming to Australia to visit family. They are missing out on so much by not booking their travels in advance. Tell them to go walkabout in Australia! Qantas bumps up its extra services a seat or change their seat through their travel agent or via qantas.com up to 24 hours prior to their flight departure. ?Travel agents will continue to view seat maps in the same format through their GDS system. Different seat choices for international flights may be observed depending on a customer's individual tier status,? explained Michaela Messner, info@suretours.co.za 5 Nights from R14 380 pps Qantas Manager for Africa. ?Existing handling processes for seat requests via QIC or telephone sales remains unchanged,? she added. The other new service, International Online Checkin, enables passengers to check-in online between 24 hours and two hours prior to their flight departure, provided the first sector of their itinerary is with Qantas. Explore Sydney and the Winelands Terms and conditions apply. E & OE. Includes: Flights, Accommodation & Car Hire

  • Add to bookmarks Add to subscriptions Share
    Page 9

    Tourism Australia?s ASP takes off OVER 120 South African travel agents have qualified for the Aussie Specialist Programme (ASP) since it was reintroduced online in January this year, while a further 266 agents are currently in training. The ASP is a free of charge t raining programme for travel agents interested in increasing their knowledge of Australia as a holiday destination. After qualifying as an Aussie Specialist, agents are kept up to date with the Sydney and Melbourne are bitter rivals when it comes to attracting tourists, but with its multicultural population, modern museums, mouth-watering restaurants and outstanding natural beauty, TIR reporter Richard Holmes reckons the state capital of Victoria comes out tops. Here?s what your clients shouldn?t miss in Melbourne? Get sporty Melbourne is Australia?s sporting capital, hosting dozens of major events each year. The Australian Grand Prix and Australian Tennis Open are the two highlights, but in between there?s fantastic cricket, Aussie rules football, swimming and horseracing to enjoy. Visitors can also get a sense of the city?s sporting past at the National Sport Museum, situated at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. Federation Square An excellent meeting place right opposite the historic Flinders Street station; the ber-modern ?Fed Square? is the cultural hub of Melbourne. Along with intriguing outdoor art installations, it is here that you will find two of the city?s top museums. The National Gallery of Victoria boasts over 20 latest travel information from across Australia and can also access useful resources such as the marketing tool kit. Qualified agents also have an advantage when it comes to training and fam trips. For example, eight South African Aussie Specialists were chosen to travel to Corroboree in May, undertaking a fam trip to Sydney and the Blue Mountains before meeting up with 300 other agents for training workshops. ?Corroboree 2009 was awe- separate galleries dedicated to the best of Australian art, while right next door the Australian Centre for the Moving Image celebrates the best of Australia on screen. To the market Melbourne and the state of Victoria are famous for their fresh produce and you?ll find the best of what?s on offer at the 130-year-old Queen Victoria market. Half of the market is made up of delicious fresh produce (perfect if clients are self-catering), while the rest is filled some!? enthused Mark ter Stege, an independent agent from Travel Counsellors and one of the eight ?chosen ones?. ?With all the hands on info and meeting of suppliers in Sydney and on Hamilton Island, I?m very positive about selling more of Australia. All this valuable info and knowledge I gained will benefit my business and leisure travellers.? Lisa Kruger from Pentravel Somerset West agreed and said: ?I have to say that I with crafts and souvenirs. Explore Hidden Alleyways As in most cities, it?s discovering the hidden secrets that makes the best memories. Unless clients know a friendly local, the ?Hidden Secrets: Lane & Arcades? tour will lead them down alleyways they would never find and into quaint shops and restau- Art meets graffiti in Melbourne?s hidden alleyways. rants the locals love to keep to themselves. They?ll discover gritty urban art, designer boutiques, the city?s best architecture and get to meet Joan the lift-lady. Unmissable. am, for the first time, absolutely confident in selling Australia as a leisure destination, as opposed to just a place where you visit family.? She added: ?I don?t think the average agent in South Africa realises the potential market in Australia as a leisure destination, or simply doesn?t have the tools to sell it as such. Knowledge is power though, and having attended the workshops, I find it is much easier to sell Australia.? Out and about in Melbourne Photo: Richard Holmes Bird?s Eye View T h e E u r e k a S k y d e c k (A$16.50 / R105 per adult) is the tallest observation tower in the southern hemisphere, perched on the 88th floor of the striking Eureka building in the heart of Melbourne?s bustling South Bank district. Those who are feeling brave can fork out an extra A$12 (R76) for ?The Edge??a three-metre glass cube that juts out of the building almost 300 metres above the ground! The Skydeck is open from 10h00 to 22h00 daily. Hit the (China)town Hit the streets of the city?s ethnic districts and discover some of the best restaurants Melbourne has to offer. Wander down Victoria Street for Vietnamese cuisine straight out of Hanoi, or explore colourful Little Bourke Street ?home to a vibrant Chinatown where you?ll find great dim sum and Peking duck. Alternatively, hop one block over to the Greek precinct in Lonsdale Street (Melbourne is home to the world?s largest Greek population outside of Greece), while nearby Lygon Street is home to a clutch of authentic Italian restaurants. ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ??????????????????? ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? To make your dreams a reality, just visit your favourite travel agent for a brochure, log on to ?????????????? or Free Call ???????????? HOTEL Hilton South Wharf, Melbourne, Australia RATING: 90 75 90 80 90 75 Accommodation Facilities Food Location Attitude Value Service Attitude Value By RICHARD HOLMES AS business hotels go, the brand-new Hilton South Wharf ticks nearly all the boxes. Opened in April this year, the latest addition to Melbourne?s skyline is conveniently located in South Wharf, an area set to become the city?s newest (and hippest) business precinct. A construction boom dulls the glamour at the moment, but when the remaining skyscrapers are built and roads resurfaced the area should be Melbourne?s answer to London?s Canary Wharf. The hotel is situated on the banks of the Yarra River, with the vibrant South Bank district and bustling inner city an easy walk or short taxi ride away. The acclaimed Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre is right next door, and provides meeting and conference facilities for the hotel. The Hilton?s 396 rooms?a mix of rooms, suites and serviced apartments ?are decorated in a modern city-chic style that will appeal to design-conscious business travellers. Flat-screen TVs and outstanding city views come standard and there?s WiFi broadband access throughout the hotel, but at a pricey A$29 (R185) for 24 hours. The hotel is also set to become one of the city?s fine dining destinations, with Michelin-starred Ramon Freixa at the helm of the flagship restaurant Nuevo37. The relaxed Sotano Wine & Tapas Bar is the ideal spot for an after work drink or evening meeting, and boasts a seven-metre glass wine wall that?s home to 2,200 bottles. So, what about the boxes it doesn?t tick? Well, this Hilton is perfect for business travellers, but offers little after 5pm or for an accompanying spouse/family. The hotel?s leisure options are limited, with no swimming pool and no spa. There is the Hilton Harmony In-Room Spa on offer, but let?s be honest?it?s not quite the same as a dedicated facility. And there?s no swimming pool to cool off in during the hot Melbourne summers. It also means no outside area, unless you?re one of the lucky few allowed into the Executive Lounge with its small terrace. Those few niggles aside, if your client?s in town to do business, get a goodnight?s sleep and be assured of excellent service and good food, then the Hilton South Wharf is a modern, attractive hotel that?ll tick all their boxes. 90 90 75 OVERALL RATING: 84/100 TIR Southern Africa ? July 2009 9

  • Add to bookmarks Add to subscriptions Share
    Page 10

    Weddings at sea now even more appealing COUPLES keeping a sharp eye on their wedding and honeymoon budget would do well to consider tying the knot at 20 knots, say cruise operators. Weddings and honeymoons at sea have long been seen as a cost effective option, but in this tough economic climate these packages are becoming even more attractive as competing cruise lines slash prices and add even more extras to the already all-inclusive packages. For example, in addition to a special discount for honeymoon couples, Costa Cruises is throwing in extra items such as robes, a silver plated frame with the couple?s wedding photo and a bottle of Prosecco. Another major selling point, according to Emma Momberg of Cruisemasters, is that the cruise line arranges just about everything so that brides literally only need to pack their dress, partner and get on board. ?It?s a more romantic option and when you arrive for the cruise, all the details have been taken care of,? 10 TIR Southern Africa ? July 2009 she says. If budgets are really tight, clients don?t have to spend extra on international airfares to get hitched on the high seas, as Starlight Cruises offers couples the romance of a nearby Indian Ocean destination wedding aboard the Melody. Tracey Krog, Cruises International Product Manager, agrees that convenience and value for money are the two star attractions of weddings at sea, but she adds that couples will also be hard-pressed to find a resort that can match the myriad of activities onboard large cruise liners such as Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Crystal Cruises. ?Where else in the world can you ice skate around a sun-drenched Caribbean island, go rock-climbing high above the rooftops of Venice, or relax in a spa in the middle of a tropical rainforest? The best part of all is these activities won?t dent newlyweds? wallets as they are virtually all included in the price,? she says. And the activity doesn?t only have to start after the wedding?couples can also opt for an adventure wedding with Royal Caribbean?s Explorer Weddings, a unique programme that combines a cruise with an exotic destination or themed wedding. Couples can exchange their vows either onboard or onshore in a variety of distinctive settings?on top of an Alaskan glacier, midair in a hot-air balloon, in a medieval castle or even beside Freedom of the Seas? FlowRider surf simulator. Another growing trend, according to operators, is couples holding vow renewal ceremonies onboard cruise ships with a group of friends. Cruise lines such as Holland America are staying on top of this trend by offering specialised vow renewal packages. Entry level packages are priced reasonably and include a corsage for the bride, a photo album, a celebration with live music, wine, champagne and hors d?oeuvres and, after the celebration, a dinner for two. moreexclusive moreinclusive BRIDES ENJOY UP TO 50%* OFF THEIR STAY 0860 CLUBMED 011 840 2600 sales@clubmed.co.za *Terms and conditions apply Many newlyweds are cutting back on luxury in order to visit their dream destination Brides-to-be refuse to sacrifice honeymoons BY MELANY BENDIX THE recession may be forcing cash-strapped couples to forfeit a few extras for their big day, but honeymoon travel isn?t one of these, according to a new study. The online survey conducted by hotel booking site Hotels.com showed that the economic gloom has not put a damper on post wedding travel plans, with 98 percent of brides-to-be canvassed saying they still planned to go on honeymoon. However, the survey also showed that couples are being far more practical about their honeymoon expenditure as a result of the economic slowdown, with almost 50 percent of all respondents saying they will be closely watching their budget and only spending what they can realistically afford. Of course, there are still those few who will happily leap into the red to ensure they have their dream honeymoon?with one in four respondents saying budget is not a factor because their honeymoon should be a ?once in a lifetime experience?. Although the survey focused on the European market, feedback from local tour operators indicates that these trends are also prevalent in the South African travel market. ???????????? South Africa?s Most Exciting Conference Venue ?? ?????????????????????? ?? ?????????? ?? ????????????????????? ?????????????????? STARLIGHT CRUISES www.starlight.co.za Couples are still taking a honeymoon, says Lauren Christelis of wedding and honeymoon travel specialist Dreams Unlimited, but they are ?definitely spending less?. ?We have seen the build up to this over the past few months, with a definite decrease in honeymoon budgets,? she says. ?I have found that most couples have saved or set aside a particular budget for their honeymoon, and they are generally being realistic and considering the economic pressure that they may be under and being cautious about over-spending on their honeymoon.? That said, Ms. Christelis has noticed that most couples are still insistent on going to their ?dream honeymoon destination?, even if it means they have to forego luxury and opt for mid-range packages to make this possible. David Randall, Club Med Marketing Manager, says the group has also noticed a few honeymooners downgrading their room category, but he points out that this is ?the only concession they are making?. Beachcomber Tours? Silvana Polo adds that, although there has been noticeable slowdown in honeymoon sales, bookings are coming in later and later: ?It is not unusual to see ?? ?????????????????? ?? ?????????????????????? ?? ????????????????????????? ????? JOHANNESBURG 011 798 3600 CAPE TOWN 021 555 3005 PRETORIA 012 342 4496 DURBAN 031 303 3572 Photo Courtesy: Beachcomber Tours honeymoon couples booking within a month of their wedding date now.? This is in line with the late booking trend being reported across the market, which is largely attributed to travellers holding out for the best deal, both in terms of amount and value adds. Interestingly, nearly two thirds of those surveyed in the Hotels.com study said they planned to hunt for the best deals, as they are very much aware that hotels and tour operators are in tough competition as a result of the recession. South African honeymooners also appear to be barg a i n h u n t i n g o r, m o r e a p t l y, looking for the best overall deal. ?Honeymooners may not necessarily be spending less but are definitely looking for more value for their spend and thus Club Med?s total all inclusive options are proving to be very popular,? says Mr. Randall. Ms. Polo agrees that value is the deciding factor at the moment and points out that Mauritius remains an extremely popular honeymoon destination because of the extras include in the packages and the fact that these packages are generally all-inclusive. ?This way they know exactly how much they will be spending,?

Page 1 of 2

Please wait