Emirates Holidays to lobby South Africa to boost ME promotion

Guest Writer

Emirates Holidays is lobbying tourism representatives in South Africa to better promote its attributes to the affluent Middle East market in 2011.The tour operator says the destination’s performance during 2010 was “disappointing” and blames apathy within South Africa towards promotion in the Middle East as one key reason for this.”South Africa did well during the World Cup and there was so much hype, but then the World ended - there was nothing after the World Cup - it was a huge missed opportunity,” Emirates Holidays Regional Manager, Destination Development, Middle East, Africa & Indian Ocean, Bruno Hivon, told TDME at last week’s World Travel Market (WTM) in London.”We have been lobbying the South African tourism board [to better promote itself in the Middle East] for more than a year now but they do not realise the potential of this market.”Despite this apathy, Hivon said some of the provinces within South Africa were being more proactive in their Middle East marketing plans.”My plan is to keep pushing South Africa [to the GCC market] in 2011 because I believe it has the same potential as Australia.”Emirates Holidays is also planning to heavily promote Kenya in East Africa in 2011, which started to show growth in sales for the tour operator this year.”I want people to know that you don’t need to be Indiana Jones to travel there,” said Hivon.”It’s a very family-friendly destination and it’s so close to the Gulf that you can visit there for the weekend.”Hivon said that destinations such as Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon also under-performed this summer, even though Emirates Holidays tried to push these as hotspots during Ramadan.The reason, he believed, was that even though more people were visiting these countries, because they were familiar Arab nations, those travelling there often booked Emirates flights but made their own ground arrangements.

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