South Africa Tourism (SAT) has conceded that other African nations are “eating their lunch” at a panel discussion for the annual Indaba trade show.
This year Indaba has expanded from a South African showcase to a pan-African exhibition.
“It is co-opetition – we agree to compete but we agree to cooperate at the same time,” SAT chief executive Thulani Nzima said.
Panel chair Richard Quest suggested that this approach was a “dog’s breakfast” but Nzima insisted there would be a market left for South Africa.
“We think it will be our lunch for as long as the size of the market share is not growing at the rate that can accommodate all the players that are there,” Nzima said.
Nzima said air growth, visa regulations and perceptions of Africa constrained South African tourism growth but that in the long-run, a strong African tourism industry would be beneficial for individual countries.
“We have always positioned ourselves as an entry-point into Africa,” Nzima said.
At the panel discussion economist Mike Schussler agreed that Africa is South Africa’s main competition.
“But it’s also a major market for us as the GDP of Africa is growing at twice the rate of South Africa’s GDP,” Schussler said.
“We have got to learn how to work well with Africa and it is very important to make travel to Africa easier,” Schussler added.