Terror concerns, weak rand, pique US interest in Southern Africa

Camps Bay

Travellers in North America are showing interest in Southern Africa as a tourist destination as a result of the weak rand and growing terror concerns in Europe, operators have reported.

“In North America both Canada and the US are seeing great interest. Canada does not have the advantage of a great exchange rate as their dollar is not as strong as the USA, however Canada is showing great interest in the Group and FIT segments,” says Glenn McKeag, CEO of Springbok Atlas.

“Southern Africa has always been a huge interest out of the US market,” says Craig Drysdale, General Manager of Global Sales at Thompsons Africa.

Terror threat around the worldWhile destinations in demand include Botswana and Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls, South Africa and Namibia are benefiting most with rand-based pricing. “Dollar-based product in our other neighbouring countries are not enjoying the advantages of increased interest through weak currency,” says McKeag.

Drysdale adds that, apart from the great rate of exchange, tourists are able to get value for money.

Kathryn Monaco, North America Sales Manager of Springbok Atlas Tours & Safaris, says that along with travel publications, entertainment media is also contributing to the driving interest around Southern Africa. “You can do a bucket list destination more affordably than ever, and not only include an amazing safari, but also the scenic beauty of Cape Town and one of the wonders of the world with Victoria Falls.”

Although US travellers may opt to travel to Southern Africa as a safe destination distanced from possible terror areas in Europe, McKeag remains wary. “We have to remain aware that terror attacks can take place anywhere in the world and Southern Africa is not immune to such incidences.”

Drysdale says it is difficult to determine what exactly is driving the increased traffic from the US into Southern Africa and that it may be a combination of both the rate of exchange and terror concerns.

It is never good when one country benefits from terrorist attacks in another country but South Africa is experiencing growing interest, says Monaco. She also points out that US travellers have two hubs from the US, serviced by South African Airways, without having to go via Europe to make the trip.

Source: www.tourismupdate.co.za