'Despite demonetisation, the Indian market has shown good numbers for South Africa during 2016 as it had a growth of 27 per cent in arrivals that clocked 81,429 by the end of third quarter,' said county manager, South African Tourism- India, Hanneli Slabber.
The average time spent by Indian tourists in South Africa is 11 days and business travellers is 19 days.
Slabber said that Chennaiites have a thing for adventures, so there had been a marked shift from seeing to experiencing. The South African tourism department has customised adventure sports for shorter durations, keeping in mind that the Indian tourists want to experience sports like bridge bungee and skydiving in the very little time they have in hands.
'Also, South Africa is becoming an emerging destination for big fat Indian weddings,' said Slabber. 'The smallest wedding of a Chennai vaasi in South Africa comprised of 60 people while the largest had 550,' she added. It is learnt that most of the inhabitants of Chennai are preferring Cape Town for their destination wedding.
Another change made by South African tourism to invite Indian travellers is providing vegetarian food. 'Lot of veggie tourists from India had been complaining lately, so we made this change,' said Slabber.
Chief Quality Assurance Officer Darryl Erasmus said that the hotels across the country have been given star ratings from one to five. While the comfort level changes, safety level remains the same in all the hotels.
Also, the South African Tourism Department said they hope to cash in on cricket connect. According to them, lots of Indians fly to SA when there's a cricket match. Adding to that, Hanneli says that Indians also seem to be interested in golf courses which are abundant in the country.
With 80,000 Indian nationals visiting South Africa each year, the number is expected to grow henceforth.