Must-knows for international tour operators considering SA tourism.
We’re Alchemy Group. And we know, just as you’ll know if you follow any media at all, that travel is back. Sick and tired of two years of emotional and physical lockdown, the world’s tourists are flooding out of their homes and into new destinations. But what about incentive travel? What about international tours?
And why is South African tourism such a great solution for travellers?
SA tourism: Nope, this isn’t another vapid ra-ra!
We’re not going to bamboozle you with the stuff you usually hear when people talk to global tour operators about South Africa.
Yes, there are exquisite and swimming-friendly Blue Flag beaches into two different oceans, fiery African sunsets, and life-changing safari opportunities.
Yes, you can choose from foodie excursions, incredible winelands tours, desert festivals, antiquity and archaeology, and even remote mountain breakaways.
And yes, South Africa is home to bustling urban cities, quaint historical towns, and the kinds of expansive landscapes you simply won’t see anywhere else.
But none of this guarantees you or your travellers a meaningful travel experience.
Visits to SA: Making international travel meaningful
Package trips have undermined the meaning that is inherent in travel. As a result, the meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) industry MUST evolve, to focus more on fresh, unique adventures and human wellness.
Part of this evolution, we believe, extends to immersing participants in local culture and educating them about the customs and traditions of the destination.
Think hands-on conservation experiences, behind-the-scenes tours by locals, and experiential, purpose-driven encounters.
Think about unlocking the full potential of a city, neighbourhood or destination, instead of relying on the allure of the destination to do the heavy lifting for you.
After all, in SA, both our secret places and our mainstream hotspots are so rich that we can go deeper, showcasing indigenous food, beverages, fauna, flora, music, fashion, commerce, and more.
SA attractions: Leveraging the amazing variety on offer
There are very few countries – in fact, we’ve travelled extensively and we know of no other – where you can find such a vast array of choices so close together.
In just a few hours you could move from a glass marquee on the beach to a city rooftop; a chef’s private dining room to a local market; an unplugged event deep inside a game reserve to top seats inside a packed theatre.
And South Africa isn’t just “package trip country”, because there’s potential for exquisite tailoring of almost all travel, with fine attention to the tiniest details.
The simple truth is that, beyond the typical tourist attractions you’ll find on travel blogs, listicles and social media, South Africa contains stories, and there’s nothing better than creating meaningful travel experiences around these.
Corporate social responsibility: Giving back when you go
Incorporating corporate social responsibility (CSR) into travel is the new normal, and including activities that make a difference to the lives of those living in the destination is one way to do this. What’s more, CSR experiences help you to expand travellers’ worldviews, enhance their capacity for empathy, and develop their soft skills.
Beyond this, there’s the “community-building effect” that can result between co-workers and management, especially when united in a shared mission.
This is one of the reasons “voluntourism” is such a popular drawcard to SA.
BONUS TIP: Unplugged travel, yes. Tech-phobic travel? Not necessarily.
Technology has become a key part of incentive travel. Because travel happens outside of the office (no kidding!), apps are a natural organisational tool.
Consider event apps that make it easy to organise activities, share adventures with photos and posts, and unite people on a common platform. Push notifications can keep the agenda on track and digital maps can serve to make navigation easier.
SO WHAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE?
Well, that depends. At Alchemy we’re big believers, as professional corporate travel creators, in the value of selecting a destination and designing an experience that pushes people out of their comfort zones and introduces new viewpoints.
Our best tip is this: Explore unconventional options and open yourself up to interesting possibilities. Don’t just stay off the beaten track – reject it entirely. Aim to connect your team members meaningfully with the destination and each other.
About Alchemy Group
Alchemy Group is all about cultivating connection, via incentive travel, destination management, live events, virtual events, brand activations and more. En route, we provide creative strategy, communication, content design, show production, logistics, guest management, and OHS compliance. Here’s more info.