Tourism growth good from Germany


After a long period of reduced travel by Germans, due to the recession in the past few years, they are ready to travel again, and it would appear that the much improved German economic performance, coupled with the excellent coverage of South Africa’s tourist gems during the World Cup, appears to have led to a marked increase in enquires and bookings from Germany.

Southern African Tourism Update  reports that the ADAC Reisemonitor survey, conducted in July amongst a sample of 4 000 ADAC members (similar to the Automobile Association), shows that 71 % of Germans interviewed plan to make a long-haul holiday next year, up by 6 % compared in last year’s survey.  The article quotes a tourism player Dr Martin Buck as saying that “…the tourism industry is picking up speed once again.  The worst of the recession is now over and German citizens are again living up to their reputation as the world’s most travelled nation”.   Almost 60 % of Germans surveyed said they would go on holiday before the end of the year, irrespective of their financial situation, and that they expect the prices of tourism products and services to increase.   The most popular holiday destinations for Germans are Germany, Italy and then Spain. 

It was good to see an advertisement for South Africa in the leading lifestyle magazine Bunte at the end of September, with the headline “Südafrika Hautnah” (South Africa – up close), followed by a sub-headline relating to the Cape: “Zum verlieben schön – das Land am Kap strahlt eine Faszination aus, die seine Gäste nie wieder loslässt” (To fall in love with – Cape Town radiates a fascination, that never leaves its guests).  The ad focuses on German TV presenter Ruth Moschner, sharing her favourite things to do and places to visit when in South Africa.  She mentions Cape Town, with Johannesburg and Durban, but of the six photographs in the ad, two are of Cape Town (Boulder’s Beach and V&A Waterfront), as well as a Cape Dutch house in the Winelands.  Moschner raves about the country as a tourist destination, yet praises its people even more, saying that she has seldom experienced  being welcomed with such heartiness.  The ad is part-sponsored by SAA, and advertises a special package of € 599 from 8 November – 16 December (   A tiny “schoolboard”-style ‘South Africa: Alles ist möglich’ (South Africa: everything is possible) concludes the ad.

A follow-up SA Tourism ad in Bunte last month featured Michael Mittermeier, a German comedian who performed at the Cape Town Comedy Festival last year.  He has been to South Africa three times, and raves about the generous ‘host country’, as he describes it (“Besucher werden in Sued-afrika in den einmaligen Rythmus des Landes integriert” (Visitors are drawn into the unique rhythm of the country).  He expresses the regret that Bafana Bafana dropped out of the World Cup so early.   He highlights the 10 hour travel time between Germany and South Africa, without time difference, as positives, and recommends a safari to see the Big Five, and the beautiful coastal beaches.  Three photographs of the rocks at Camps Bay beach, Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain, and of a Cape Dutch homestead make up half the photographs featured, a weighting towards the region that most tourists describe as the most beautiful of all in South Africa.

During the World Cup the leading German TV station ZDF broadcast an hour-long tourism documentary about South Africa, presented by the charming ex-Miss South Africa Jo-ann Strauss, prior to each match in which the German team played.  Accommodation bookings from Germany flowed in from July onwards as a result, more than we have seen in many years.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: Twitter: @WhaleCottage

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