…as SAT wins Travel Trade Marketing Award in Nigeria 2016, to partner Accra Weizo 2017
Mr. Hloni Pitso, West Africa Region Director for South African Tourism (SAT) has revealed that his country recorded an impressive 11.5 per cent increase in the number of Nigerian tourists to their country in 2016, and this is even as the South African Tourism (SAT) office in Nigeria scooped the Travel Trade Marketing award in Nigeria 2016 during this year’s Port Harcourt Bantaba, held on Port Harcourt.
The statistics revealed that from January to December 2016, Nigerians travelling to South Africa increased to 65,599 as against the same era from January to December 2015 which saw 59,002. There was an increase of 6, 597 Nigerians travelling to South Africa, and this marked an increase of 11.2%. the statistics also revealed that Ghana experienced a single digit increase for the same period of January to December 2016 with a total of Ghanaians travelling to South Africa at Ghana at 17,152, as against January to December 2015 which was 16,184, marking an increase of 6 per cent. These are tourists carrying the passport of Nigeria and Ghana and does not cover those with other passports.
The award was presented to the SAT by the joint team of Akwaaba Travel Market and ATQNews.com for its outstanding and sustained marketing efforts in driving growth of tourism trade in Nigeria through valuable partnerships and engagements with the travel trade sector of the country, and in furthering business and leisure travellers movements not only between Nigeria and South Africa but within West Africa and Africa at large.
The award was presented to South African Tourism on the behalf the Travellers Awards Nigeria Committee of Experts in partnership with the Board of ATQNews.com. ATQNews.com is the online platform of African Travel Quarterly, the first travel magazine in West Africa which for over two decades has continued to blaze the trail of promoting travel and tourism related news, products and organizations on the African continent.
The Travel Trade Marketing Award of the Year in Nigeria recognizes the endeavors of a Travel and Tourism Marketing organization within country which has played a significant role in not only driving the Tourism Agenda of his State but also helping forge ties between States in Nigeria and Africa with a view to enhancing National Tourism. SAT had roadshows in Kano, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Kumasi and Accra.
Publisher of ATQNews.com, Mr. Ikechi Uko, speaking during the presentation, acknowledge the unique role and game change in the travel trade since SAT set up office in Lagos. “Things have happened in the environment. Part of what has changed is that your presence, Hloni Pitso and Mohammed Tanko, in the travel landscape”.
Mr. Ikechi also explained that the coming into the scene has changed and positively affected the various tourism associations in the country, and particularly Nigerian Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) and National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents (NANTA).
“The arrival of SAT changed all that! Without SAT adding to the equation the situation would have been different. You have played a vital role in pushing travel and tourism in Nigeria. Hloni, you are even more influential among Nigerians than the South African Embassy. You have done well. But you still need to do more”, Mr. Ikechi said.
He also said that South African Tourism has been a partner for their “trade shows and exhibitions in Nigeria and West Africa.”
“South Africa Tourism has continued to partner with us. South African Tourism is a brand in this travel environment that everyone wants to identify with in Nigeria. You have made great impact in this travel landscape”, he concluded.
Mr. Hloni Pitso, responding to the award, acknowledged the honour bestowed on South African Tourism for both Akwaaba and ATQNews.com to be pay a visit and also for the award.
“Thanks for the honour and for giving us this award. Thanks for your partnership. Thanks for opening our eyes and introducing South African Tourism to the Stakeholders in travel business in West Africa. SAT have platforms they work with in South Africa, Indaba; and in East Africa. In West Africa, Akwaaba is the only platform, and you have benefitted our work. It has become a continuous relationship; a relationship to move the industry forward.”
Mr. Pitso went on to reveal that beyond the drive to see that more West Africans visit South Africa, they are working to create a situation where South Africa can visit and enjoy more of West Africa also. He went on also to reveal that that South African Tourism would partner Accra Weizo in Ghana.
“We are going to see changes in inbound into Nigeria from South Africa. The South African Tourism sees that there is huge opportunity here. They are opening the doors to come into Nigeria for business. We opened our office in West Africa to show our belief and commitment to West Africa. The various platforms here has opened the door for us. Accra Weizo is a platform we are also partnering with as it avails us the opportunity to meet the travel trade people in Ghana.
“We have been coming to Akwaaba. Now, we are looking at accommodating many products from South Africa at Akwaaba. And as the numbers of arrivals grow, we will be able to convince our country to increase our stakes in West Africa”.
Recall that tourists’ figures to South Africa dropped in 2015 following the visa issues, xenophobic attacks on foreigners. In recent times, also, there have been fears in several quarters that the tourist arrivals from Nigeria to South Africa may drop following the renewed hostilities by Southern to Nigerians in their country. But these fears have been debunked by the government of South Africa.
By Renn Offor