The German tourist market to Cape Town, estimated already at 150 000 visitors from Germany per annum, could grow five-fold to 750000 per year in 2002.
Germans love South Africa, and the country is one of the trendy destinations. There are several reasons for this. First and foremost is the natural scenic beauty and wildlife they can experience whilst also enjoying the benefits of a first world country. With an exchange rate advantage relative to the Deutschmark, South Africa has become 12 % less expensive to German visitors in Rand terms in the past year.
Cape Town is the desired destination in South Africa, with Johannesburg, and even Durban, being avoided due to safety. Favourite destinations in addition to the Kruger National Park and the greater Cape Town area are the Winelands, and the Garden Route.
Germans are avid travelers, with 44,5 million Germans, of a population of 82 million, having traveled outside of Germany at least once during 1999. Their standard of living is high, and they have disposable income which they spend on travel. On average they spend close to R 1000 per person per day on their holiday in South Africa, making this a close to R 1,5 billion market for Cape Town alone.
Germans enjoy the friendliness South Africans offer, are attracted to the country because they can fly into Cape Town on a direct flight from Frankfurt or Munich, because they remain in the same time zone, and because they do not lose any time to jetlag.
The most popular travel time for German tourists is the October to November period, when one will almost exclusively hear German spoken on Table Mountain, at Cape Point and in the Waterfront.
But it is important to note German preferences: They look for value for money, and are too smart to be ripped off. They prefer twin bedded accommodation with individual rather than double duvets, they demand hygienic and clean facilities, they enjoy a good solid Continental breakfast, and value proactive information and tips they receive from their hosts. Weather information is vital to plan their outings for the day, and they must be reassured about their safety whilst in the Mother City, given the warnings about crime in Cape Town they leave home with.
An inhibitor to the growth in German tourism is flight availability. Already German tourists, who enjoy a very generous leave allowance of 30 working days per year, have to cut short their trips to South Africa because they cannot get seats on flights back to Germany. Further inhibitors are the constant media reinforcement that crime is a problem in this country and their fear of contracting malaria (and even AIDS).
The German economy is being affected by the world recession, and this is leading to retrenchments in Germany. The introduction of the Euro on 1 January may also impact on tourism from Europe generally, as citizens of a host of countries some to grips with a new regional currency. Excessive price increases and inefficient service in South Africa are also deterrents.
New German niche markets are Honeymooners, Language Course delegates and Golfers.