BREXIT NOT EXPECTED TO AFFECT NUMBER OF BRITISH TOURISTS VISITING SOUTH AFRICA

The South Africa Tourism office in Britain says Brexit will not adversely affect the number of British tourism visiting South Africa in the near term.

Speaking at one of the world's biggest trade shows for the tourism sector, SA Tourism UK Country Head Tolene Van Der Merwe says South Africa continues to be great value for money for British tourists despite a dramatic fall in the strength of sterling after Britain voted to leave the European Union (EU).

She said South Africa experienced an 11 per cent rise in the number of British tourists year on year from January to August and tourism operators were reporting strong bookings through 2017.

It's a crowded market place, with fierce competition, something that is shown each year in the world travel market as countries and regions compete with each other for market share. But this year, South Africa has seen a remarkable increase of 11.7 per cent of visitors from the UK thanks in part to the strength of the pound against the Rand.

While post-Brexit, the pound has plummeted against international currencies, tourism officials insist South Africa's value for money factor will continue to be a big pull.

Van Der Merwe said: "We've just got to keep with our message of you can come to South Africa and you can actually do all your bucket list within the country from hard adventure to soft adventure.

"You can come to South Africa and have a good three-course meal with an excellent bottle of wine for less than you what can do a pub lunch here and you can come and experience our wildlife and still come face to face with sharks."

Despite fears about the UK economy as it negotiates life outside the EU, South Africa's Tsogo Sun group says it has experienced a significant rise in bookings for its South African hotels, but anticipates challenges further into the future.

Company spokesperson Belinda McIntyre said: "I would really say we're sitting on about 30 to 40 per cent growth year on year, so it's encouraging and those numbers are looking to continue through 2017.

"For now the interest remains, for now I think the market is still very buoyant. I think beyond 2017 I think we might begin to see a slight decline."

One of the attractions being highlighted is Cape Town's Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art or MOKA..which will open next year in the historic Grain Silo complex on the city's waterfront.

The nine-storey building will be the continent's first museum dedicated to contemporary art. The new attraction was mentioned by lonely planet which awarded Cape Town second place on its World Best City index for 2017. Leani Jansen Van Vuuren of Cape Town Tourism believes it will attract a new kind of tourist.

"It's opening in September 2017 and already we're seeing other art developments and art experiences and tours developing around this to really position Cape Town as a top arts destination and cultural destination and not just another museum. So we are excited about this shift from not only natural beauty but some depth in the destination with a wonderful art offering," added Jansen.

Source: Nam News Network

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