Searching for a perfect holiday these days is just a click way and eNCA is looking at exactly how the internet is helping boost South African tourism.
Travellers have now turned to websites like tripadvisor.com, which has around 200 million new visitors every month, to compare flight, hotel, and tour prices from around the world.
“The biggest thing about online is that 90% of travel decisions today are being made online. So people are using everything from Tripadvisor to Facebook to inform their choices. And what’s exciting about that is the information is rich. So we’re not just seeing someone share and image, they’re talking about what they’ve experienced, who’ve they’ve experienced it with and what they look forward doing next in travel,” said SA Tourism’s William Price.
Local tour operators are also taking advantage of the online boom. Shaheed Ebrahim won the 2012 entrepreneur of the year award because of his simple concept of installing wifi in his vehicles and offering free calls to the US.
“[It is] critical for tourists coming to South Africa to know that if they are traveling on a vehicle or if they’re in a guest house or anywhere that there’s always wifi connectivity. We traveled abroad and we find out how easily wifi is available, in coffee shops, in restaurant, wherever it may be. So I think from selling SA as a destination, if we can project out there that we have very good wifi connectivity I think we definitely do wonders to the numbers of people coming to SA,” said Ebrahim.
Wine farms are also joining the online frenzy. “It’s quite a thing to have a 328 year old legacy and then we’re bringing in Facebook and Twitter, Youtube and Instagram. It’s very good for us in terms that it gets the word out there and I think a lot more people are starting to understand the actual age of the farm because of what we’re doing online,” said Grant Newton of Groot Constantia.
And because of the web, the Love Cape Town campaign got 13 million mentions in the first 48 hours of its launch after foreigners visited the city and blogged.
“I think blogs are perfect because they provide the inspiration to go to a certain destination and then when the inspiration is there, they also provide the information. And the inspiration comes basically from a personal perspective,” said Travel blogger Keith Jenkins.
It now seems these days, with high travel costs and so many options it takes more than an advert to convince tourists.