High season competitors – where else do people go?

  • 05 January 2015 | Sarah Came

December is high season, the time when most people go travelling or on holiday. This means that South Africa’s tourism industry booms, hoteliers have occupied rooms, tour guides are sharing sights and sounds and knowledge every day, and restaurants are packed.

Many tourists come to South Africa to enjoy our nature and wildlife.

This doesn’t only happen in South Africa, though. Tourists are attracted to many places in the world, and many countries compete with South Africa as they offer the same or similar experiences that South Africa does.

The top experiences that South Africa offers travellers are:

  • Beach
  • Nature and wildlife
  • History and culture
  • Adventure

Tourists from different parts of the world were asked some questions to determine differences in opinion regarding the attractiveness of South Africa and competing countries as tourism destinations, based on the quality of several attractions*.

Respondents were asked the question, “How well do the following attributes (listed above) describe each international leisure destination?” The respondents then ranked the several countries using a scale from 1 to 7, where 1 meant “does not describe at all” and 7 meant “describes extremely well”.

Kenya is one of South Africa's biggest competitors when it comes to nature and wildlife experiences.

There were different results from different groups of tourists according to nationality; here are the results collected from Australian and Italian respondents.

Among Australians, South Africa was considered a good destination for beach, nature and wildlife and adventure experiences, but in terms of culture and history, Australians consider South Africa as having little to offer.

For a cultural or historical adventure, it seems that Australians would rather visit the UK, Italy, India, Egypt or China.

Other countries that offered enticing adventure experiences were Egypt and Kenya, and Thailand was believed to also have attractive beach experiences.

Italians believed that South Africa offered appealing adventure and nature and wildlife experiences, but that Australia and Kenya also offered attractive nature and wildlife experiences.

London is percieved as having better history and culture experiences to offer tourists.

Italians had the perception that beach experiences were better in Australia, Cuba, Brazil, Thailand and Kenya.

Italians also believed that Australia and Kenya offered comparable adventure and nature and wildlife experiences, and that India also offered appealing adventure experiences.

Although factors other than what guests can experience also affect where they might go, such as proximity and price, our competitors are mainly determined by what experiences are on offer.

Overall, people tend to be attracted to South Africa for our nature and wildlife, and the opportunity to experience adventure activities. If you offer your guest one or both of these, you may be able to make their day.

You should also encourage your guests to explore some of the other activities for which South Africa is less well-known, this will enrich their holidays and bolster South Africa’s reputation as an interesting destination when they return home, and share their experiences with friends and family.

*Study conducted in 2009