South African Tourism Roadshow a Smashing Success

New York, NY, September 2006…South African Tourism launched a brand new trade initiative, with a stimulating series of interactive workshops that were conducted in eight cities across the USA, in partnership with more than 35 suppliers and operators. The show launched in New York City September 12th and hit Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tampa, Boca Raton, Atlanta and Washington, DC before closing in Chicago on September 21st.

The shows introduced record-breaking numbers of travel agents to the “new” South Africa product and confirmed their desire to learn about the destination. In fact, with more than 250 agents in the midst of the trade show portion of the evening in Boca Raton, the entire grid experienced a complete blackout with no power for thirty minutes. As a true testament to the devotion of the Floridian agents to South Africa, not one guest left the event!

“This was a significant new trade initiative in our effort to strengthen our relationship with the trade,” said Dr. Felicia Suttle, President, South African Tourism-USA. The Roadshow presented an exclusive opportunity for carefully selected agents to gain first hand knowledge of the destination. Some 2,000 agents interacted with 26 South African tourism suppliers who traveled from South Africa expressly to meet with them including representatives from our nine provinces. “There are enormous opportunities for these agents to grow their business and earn high profits by selling South Africa and our experts showed them how to,” said Suttle.

The suppliers represented a variety of sectors, including lodges and hotels, car rental agencies, the provincial tourism boards as well as US tour operators and South African Airways. The sessions immersed the agents in the South African experience, providing them with great new ideas and packages for selling the destination.

And less than one week after the close of the tour, the fruits from the efforts are already growing. “The road show was absolutely amazing and the emails have already started rolling in BIG TIME from the people that I met! Which is fabulous. We will definitely be participating in the next one,” stated Caroline Duncan, Protea Hotels.

“We all felt enormously proud to be South African as the road show combined so many unique people, stories and experiences and gave our USA Travel Partners a truly memorable taste of what a journey to the Southern tip of Africa would be like” stated Robert More, Lion Sands Private Game Reserve/The Cape Cadogan Boutique Hotel.

What is a South African event without a true immersion into its culture? South African recording star, Khanyo, whose credits include the lead role in the movie Sarafina as well as performing on the soundtrack for the smash musical, The Lion King, got the audience dancing to true South African rhythms. She was brought in especially to entertain the travel agents throughout various parts of the evening’s presentation – her performances were riveting and left the audience spellbound. In Atlanta, the audience was treated to an authentic Zulu dance performance, another immersion opportunity to experience Zulu culture.

South African Tourism is the organization mandated with the international tourism marketing activities of the country. For travel and tourism information on this world-class destination, the ideal place for both business and leisure, contact South African Tourism at 500 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2040, New York, NY 10110; Tel: 212-730-2929; Fax: 212-764-1980; email newyork@southafrica.net or visit www.southafrica.net.

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