In support of Small and Medium Scale Business in the Travel Industry in Nigeria, South African Tourism (SAT) partnered with South African Airways (SAA) and the Sun International (SI) to give 9 small and upcoming travel agents (trade) executives an opportunity to explore South Africa and have their products at a Brand Expo which took place on 29th & 30th June 2018 at Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria. The 9 travel agencies taken on the trip includes Crew Training Institute, Greater View Travels, Saffron Travels, Apeiron Travels, Vectra Travels, Foshizi Tours, Teeysz Tours, Akenn Tours and Nje Tours.
Taking off in the brand new South African Airways Airbus A330-300 series from Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos and led by Trade Relations Manager, South African Tourism West Africa, Mr Mohammed Tanko Kwajaffa and Mrs Motunrayo Ajomale of South African Airways Nigeria, the trade executives were prepped ahead of the two-week power packed and exciting trip to South Africa. Arriving at the O.R Tambo International Airport in the early hours of the 2nd of August, the travel agents were whisked off on a 30-minute drive to the Maslow Hotel in the heart of Sandton and were welcomed by Mr Didier Bayeye, Marketing Manager, West Africa & Indian Ocean, Sun International.
While SAA was responsible for providing the flight to South Africa, Sun International provided the befitting accommodation at Maslow for the travel agents and SAT provided the experiences & ground logistics throughout their stay in South Africa. The experiences were specially curated to give the agents a chance to experience that culture and the variety of memorable attractions that South Africa offers in & around Gauteng (Johannesburg & Pretoria) & North West (Sun City) provinces which was the coverage area of the fam trip while they sell the beautiful country as a top travel destination.
Unaware of the many robust attractions and world-class locations in South Africa, many tour operators have been limited in offering South Africa as a potential holiday destination to their clients due to negative mind-sets about the country. Through the hosting, the travel agents who went on the trip were able to see a different side of South Africa and also experience the warmth and diversity of her people. From the visit to the Lesedi Cultural Village to the trip to Soweto, home of the legend, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the travel agents had an opportunity to interact with South Africans who welcomed them with warm smiles and were also eager to share their culture with them. At the Lesedi Cultural Village, less than one-hour drive from Jo-burg, they encountered people of Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Ndebele and Basotho origin. From listening to individual cultural stories of the people, to tours of the local houses, the travel agents received a fuller picture of the South African heritage.
While exploring top tourist destinations like Gold Reef City theme park and Sun City Resort, a world-class resort that offers a wide variety of hotels, attractions and events, including the luxurious Palace of the Lost City where they stayed, the travel agents were also able to witness, first-hand, the fun side of South Africa. Boasting of many top tourist attractions with exciting activities, South Africa is a place to go and let your hair down, either alone or with family or friends. Individually or in a group, South Africa has something for everyone. There are also a wide variety of activities from mountain climbing to zip lining to suit different interests and passions. The travel agents were able to take part in these activities as they continued to explore South Africa during their the one-week visit.
Aside from the places visited and the activities they were involved in, the trade had a taste of indigenous South Africa food bursting with flavours and richness in palate. At Maboneng, which boasts of a wide selection of restaurants and artistic stores for visitors to enjoy, the trade tucked into sumptuous meals and they also had an opportunity to experience foot tour of the artistic environment, South African style.
Seeing the beauty in the natural landscape in South Africa while taking a tour of Johannesburg, the trade was convinced that South Africa is the top travel destination which everyone should experience. Conversations throughout the trip was centered around building the capacity of the trade and giving inputs to help them scale their travel business and offer competitive services to their clients.
According to Victoria, MD, Akenn Travels, “This was a huge privilege given us even as a relatively new business, we have taken this with both hands and commit to delivering on the purpose for which this hosting was put together.” while Ms Tina Tinachi, MD, Nje Tours says “The trip was amazing, fun & informative”
On a similar note, Mrs Folasade Adegboyega of Apeiron Travel & Tours confessed “I have been to SA a couple of times, but this experience was exceptional. There was so much to do & see that time didn’t permit us. South Africa is an AMAZING destination. I will sure visit & sell again and again.”
With South Africa as a top travel destination in their minds, the travel agents now understand the key highpoints of the country that their clients must encounter. What better way to sell a location as a potential holiday destination than to have first-hand experience of the fullness of what the location has to offer? The travel agents ended the tripped equipped to increase and diversify their offerings to their clients and curate the best experiences in the travel packages they offer to them.