Australia month: What do Australians expect of South Africa?

  • 12 January 2015 | Sarah Came
Melbourne city, Australia

Knowing what tourists want in general is important and can help you prepare for most eventualities. But knowing the needs of specific groups of tourists can help you ensure that their holiday is special.

Australian tourists have their own desires when it comes to what they want from a holiday. Although almost 40% of the Australian population goes on vacation, only 7% travel abroad. This means that an overseas holiday is something special and treasured for Australians – and you can help make it even more so.

As of 2008, Australia had the eighth-highest per capita personal disposable income in the world, so it is in the best interests of our country to make sure our Australian guests have a good time, and come back or recommend South Africa to family and friends.

South African Tourism has identified three categories of Australian tourists to South Africa, each with their own reasons for travel and expectations of their holiday.

Making sure you fulfil their expectations will mean they are more likely to enjoy their stay in our country, and recommend a visit to South Africa to their family and friends.

The three focus segments of travellers from Australia are:

  • Wanderlusters
  • Next Stop South Africa travellers
  • Senior explorers


  • Most wanderlusters travel to other countries for a break from their everyday lives
  • They are independent and adventurous
  • Wanderlusters want to explore new cultures, natural beauty, historical landmarks, and local food and wine
  • The cost of the destination to which they are travelling is often important to wanderlusters
  • Many wanderlusters use stopovers to see new destinations
  • Wanderlusters want to see the Kruger National Park, Victoria Falls and Robben Island, and go on a township tour
  • Wanderlusters associate South Africa with local wildlife, sun and beach, and surfing
  • Kenya is a strong competitor because wanderlusters associate it with natural beauty and local wildlife
  • The deterrents for wanderlusters are political instability and safety fears

Try to recommend ways for wanderlusters to experience the things they feel are important in a holiday – cultural exploration, historical landmarks, natural beauty, and local food and wine. However, remember that wanderlusters are independent and often quite confident travellers, so don’t interfere too much. 

Next Stop South Africa travellers (NSSAs)

  • The average age of NSSAs is 50
  • Most of these tourists travel to take a break from their everyday lives in Australia
  • Many use stopovers for relaxation
  • They are generally not as worried about the price of their trip as other tourists, and they prefer mid- to high-end accommodation
  • NSSAs also believe that exploring different cultures, viewing natural beauty and historical landmarks, and tasting local food and wine are essential parts of a holiday
  • When NSSAs decide where to go for a holiday, they take into account safety and value for money
  • Relaxation is not as important to NSSAs as visiting a memorable destination

Usually, NSSAs are tourists who have a little more money to spend than the average tourist, and who are interested in using their holidays to travel to new, memorable places, rather than just to relax.

Even though they usually have a little more money than other groups of tourists and often choose to stay in four- and five-star accommodation, they are still conscious of value for money, so make sure they feel that their stay with you is worth what they paid for it.

Ensuring that your NSSAs have a memorable experience is paramount – they want to go home with memories that will last a lifetime, so recommend activities and sights that will give them these special experiences. As always, though, don’t be intrusive with your suggestions.

Senior explorers often enjoy tasting our local food and wine

Senior explorers

  • Many senior explorers travel on a packaged tour, the most popular type being all-inclusive tours
  • The vast majority of senior explorers prefer to stay in three- to four-star accommodation
  • The most important holiday experiences for senior explorers include viewing natural beauty, experiencing different cultures, tasting local food and wine, viewing historical landmarks, and viewing wildlife
  • When choosing a destination, senior explorers tend to consider friendly people, the possibility of visiting multiple countries, and ease of travel as important elements
  • Senior explorers want their holiday destinations to be memorable, enriching, friendly and unique.

South Africa has what senior explorers are looking for: our people are friendly, and the country is a memorable, enriching and unique place to travel. All that is necessary to ensure that senior explorers have a good time is to show them what is already here. They like friendliness, so asking them what kinds of things they would like to do will help you to know what to recommend. But again, remember not to be intrusive.

The top three reasons Australians give for wanting to visit South Africa are to go on safari, to see the scenery and beauty, and to experience a different culture. No matter what demographic your Australian tourist falls into, you will probably be able to enrich their holiday if you make sure that you can help facilitate these experiences.