Most locals travelling from South Africa are painfully aware that going overseas is an expensive business both in terms of journey costs and living and entertainment expenses. However, this fact should work in favour of our local industry, since every shocked comment on relative cost by financially-stretched South Africans is an inadvertent promotion for the markedly lower costs encountered when they are back home. To this end the tourism industry as a whole should be at pains to point out the incredible value which visitors to this country can anticipate – So for a moment, let’s consider this argument from a South African perspective.
When it comes to dining out in South Africa our alternatives are particularly attractive, and the range of cuisine on offer is every bit as wide and diverse as that which a traveller might encounter abroad. Looking at food an average main course being between R200 and R300 and – a steak usually starts at €18 going upwards of €20 and the bottom range for a bottle of wine in a restaurant starts at about €20 a bottle (currently R280 a bottle on the exchange rate) – of mediocre quality.
And then one must consider the cost of hiring and running a car. While car hire itself is reasonably competitive in Europe, insurance and fuel costs are definitely higher. Given that petrol in Europe is presently retailing at about R22.40 a litre, you can get motoring in South Africa for just over half that amount, as the price per litre is still hovering around the R12 mark.
Accommodation is another area where we score, both in terms of quality and price. Often one finds that our 3-star establishments in many cases will match European 4-stars equivalents and in some cases even beat 5-stars in Europe. It’s the details that make the difference, with such items as the finish and facilities of bathrooms for example and overall room sizes that often don’t even begin to bear comparison with South African equivalents.
Our quality and value is just amazing – we serve world class meat and fish and our vegetables, fruit and other produce are top quality.
Combine this with our abundant wildlife, geographical splendour and varieties of flora, we have a destination product that reflects many unique opportunities for tourists that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world. South Africa offers developed world medical facilities and transport infrastructure, sophisticated communications and service coupled with the wildness of Africa – and it remains easily affordable for many.
The fact is that travellers are usually overwhelmed by the quality and value they receive here and the issue is how we communicate this without appearing a ‘cheap and cheerful’ destination. First time visitors are always pleasantly surprised at the value they finds here. This is one of our major selling points that enhances all the other attractions we have to offer. We need to emphasise that South Africa is great value and a high net worth experience!
Linda Pampallis – CEO Thompsons Africa