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South Africa baits Indian tourists

July 08, 2012 20:53 IST

South Africa is all set to bait Indian tourists with an offer that may be irresistible for anyone -- a 3-star holiday for 15 days inclusive of to and fro airfare for just Rs 1 lakh.

Disclosing this in Lucknow on Saturday, South Africa Tourism Country Head Hanneli Slabber said, "Let this offer not be misunderstood -- low cost does not mean inferior in quality, variety or comfort."

Talking to Rediff.com, Hanneli said, "What we include in this package is two weeks of fun, frolic and pleasure with a rich taste of all that South Africa has in store -- wildlife, adventure sports, exotic cuisine and of course nature's bounty."

She said, "While our 3-star hospitality is world class, for those who are looking for greater comfort or luxury, we have a 4-star package for Rs 1.25 lakhs and 5-stay stay for Rs 1.5 lakhs."

The packages were worked out specially for Indian tourists, for whom South Africa has emerged as among the favourite foreign destinations over the recent past. "Between 2010 and 2011 alone, the number of Indian tourists to South Africa has gone up by 26 per cent", points out Hanneli, while adding, "And that is what has made this country one of our core focus markets for growth."

With that in mind, the South African tourism ministry chose to undertake a unique training program for travel professionals in India. "Currently we are running a 46-day such program designed to promote, plan and organise attractive packages to South Africa as per their client's varied needs and interests", added Hanneli.

The program was started in Thiruvananthapuram on June 12 and will conclude at Surat on July 28, covering 24 major Indian cities that depict sizeable potential to attract Indian tourists.

"Our current training module for travel professionals aims to provide in-depth knowledge on the Rainbow Nation, in a more interactive session which allows travel agents to better understand South Africa as a preferred travel destination and therefore enabling them to cater to the wide-ranging requirements of Indian travelers"

That was the reason, special packages have been designed to offer something for every member of a typical joint Indian family -- three generations together. To top it all, much emphasis is laid on easy availability of vegetarian food, which is often difficult in many popular far-east destinations.

According to Hanneli, "There are over 300 Indian restaurants offering good vegetarian food across South Africa."

Refuting allegations about insecurity in that country, she further pointed out, "Well if that was the case, it would not have prompted more than 40 per cent of first-time Indian tourists to visit South Africa for a second time."

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow