The tourism industry in India is looking up, and in the process various players are concentrating on encashing on it. One of the more concerted efforts comes from South Africa Tourism (SAT). In a recent in-country familiarisation conference held by SAT in Goa, the board brought together members of the South African and Indian tourism related trade to work on measures that could help better establish South Africa as a tourist spot in India.
The conference was one of the many steps taken by SAT to increase trade relations with India. Explaining the rationale behind the need to increase focus on the Indian market, Country Head for SAT in India, Lance Littlefield, said, “Tourism as a business is looking good in India and we have had some good experience in the market here. Nonetheless, there is tremendous potential that this market holds and we want to be a part of it.”
The activities by SAT can be divided into two different levels of operation – at the trade level and the consumer level. “We have had road shows and conferences in India to enhance trade relationships,” Littlefield said, adding, “The objective is that we can work out partnerships here, where Indian travel agents are in a position to sell South Africa to the Indian tourists better.”
On the consumer front, too, the board has planned various initiatives. “We have always been conscious of our marketing efforts, and a few examples of that you can see in our previous campaigns and when we signed on Mandira Bedi as our brand ambassador,” informed Littlefield.
He explained that another step for consumers would be seen soon in a contest that SAT had designed to involve the tourist more with South Africa and also be able to create more awareness around the destination.
Agencies partnering with the board for the execution of its marketing initiatives are Contract and Starcom. However, the work of the agencies are quite limited as much of the creatives of SAT are globally designed, while Contract takes care of the production aspect.
Explained Littlefield, “We are very aware that for our marketing and communication initiatives with the Indian consumer there is a need to address specifics. All our activities bear that, but at the same time, the communication needs to have a global feel and uniformity.”
Another point he highlighted was the need for a correct mixture between above the line and below the line activities in India. “We have a good mix of both. South Africa is a relatively new destination and more than just speaking to the consumer, we need to give them an experience as well. Below the line activities help us in achieving that.”