Welcome to the NEW 5th edition of the Curious Curator. We’ve been away for a couple of months as we were busy focusing on ensuring all of your lovely clients’ had a great time down here in Southern Africa over our high season. We are starting to go into our traditionally quiet time for stays, but it’s also the season which provides the best value for money, and the weather is just perfect (sunny, warm with blue skies) in the Kruger and The Drakensberg – albeit a bit chilly at night, and Cape Town still has a fantastic Mediterranean climate. So don’t be afraid to recommend Southern Africa in low season (May – September), your clients will love it!
Nasreen Yousaf, Emirates Holidays (one of our newest clients). A huge value booking covering Cape Town, Winelands, Garden Route, Safari, and then a flight to Durban for a stay on a KwaZulu-Natal beach.
Suzy McGhee, Trailfinders, London. The highest value ‘Cross Border’ booking including Botswana and Zambia!
Katie Grant, Trailfinders, Brighton branch. A lovely multi-centre to Russia with our sister company followmeRUSSIA.
Helen Jones, Lotus, Croydon branch. The highest value ‘Cross Border’ booking.
Jenn O’Neill, Africa Sky. A fabulous mix of elements on this tailormade booking, including Eastern Cape, Garden Route, Winelands, Cape Town, Madikwe and car hire.
Claire Kyprianou, Trailfinders, Bournemouth branch. A wonderful cross border booking with Desert & Delta Safaris and Victoria Falls. It even included the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park (Leroo La Tau).
Orsa Jackson, Trailfinders, London. A nice Moscow and St Petersburg booking with lots of tours and transfers.
WELCOME MICHAEL TO OUR TEAM:
We are delighted to welcome Michael Creighton to our Cape Town office. He is our newly appointed Head of Product who will be responsible for ensuring we stay ahead of the game with our product and services on the ground in Southern Africa. He comes with a wealth of tour operating and contracting experience and has worked in senior product roles for Travel2, Travelbag, Stella Travel Services (now dnata) and most recently Imagine Holidays. We wish Michael a long and happy career with the followme2 family, and we also congratulate Tony Brink on his new role as our Commercial Director/General Manager.
Michael headed off to Hermanus for the weekend in search of some R&R pre-whale season and here’s what he had to say: http://www.followme2africa.com/inspired/hermanus/
USEFUL FACTS FROM SAT:
We joined South African Tourism last month for an update on the previous year and the year ahead and this is what they concluded. It’s worth noting that OTA’s/Bed Banks have lost market share year on year, so it highlights the massive opportunities that specialist tour operators have to sell South Africa and to take more market share:
- Total UK outbound travel to the world grew 3% in 2017 and is expected to grow at the same rate in the next 4 years
- Lead time (bookings days before actual flight date) – 58% of the bookings are made at least 3 months before the actual travel date
- During off peak, Brits tend to book slightly later than usual
- 43% of the bookings are made through Retail Travel Agency/Face to Face (5.4% growth from 2016)
- Online OTA lost share in 2017 and accounted for 22.5% from 23.5% in 2016
- Booking signs – There is enough interest shown on SA as a destination, as roughly in a year, a total of 630k pax are booked. The challenge is that many pax are either cancelled or partially cancelled (roughly 26% drop off completely)
- The main driver of travel to SA has always been VFR (Visiting Friends and Relatives) but this has been dropping since 2014
- ‘To go on Safari’, experience SA’s different cultures and a need to explore their heritage in SA has grown
- ‘To see the natural scenery’ has always been the 2nd biggest driver of travel to SA
RENOVATION WORK AND CLOSURES:
Pumba Game Reserve have advised that they will be doing general maintenance at their properties over June and will close for the following dates:
- Pumba Water Lodge – 11-16 June 2018 (incl.)
- Pumba Bush Lodge – 04- 09 June 2018 (incl.)
Illyria House have decided to no longer sell their ‘Hideaway Annex Classic Rooms’ to the International Market but will continue to sell them to the Domestic Market. They will however still be contracting the Main House Luxury Suite and Main House Maria Suite with Jacuzzi for the International Market.
Inzolo Exclusive Game Lodge will be closed for scheduled maintenance between 11 June – 09 July 2018.
EXCLUSIVE SPECIAL OFFERS:
We continually seek to offer you the best value for money, combining rates, offers and service, and often we negotiate some exclusive offers which your clients’ can’t get elsewhere. We automatically display most offers via our website and XML connections, but we thought we’d remind you of our exclusive offers with The Collection by Liz McGrath.
We are offering 4 nights for the price of 3 at all three of their properties – The Cellars-Hohenhort in Cape Town, The Marine in Hermanus and The Plettenberg in Plettenberg Bay. For stays between 01 October – 15 December 2018.
Not new as such, as this restaurant has been a favourite amongst tourists and residents for a while, but Beluga is now under new ownership and they’re offering a sea food platter for 4 people for R990.00 which includes langoustines, west coast crayfish and a bottle of wine. followme2AFRICA clients receive a 10% discount when dining here.
We’re delighted that travel within South Africa keeps improving. Airlink are now offering direct flights between JNB (Johannesburg) and PLZ (Port Elizabeth). Effective 6 May, the new service will be served by one of Airlinks recently acquired 74 seat Embraer E170 aircraft. The flights depart from OR Tambo International Airport at 18.10 arriving at Port Elizabeth International Airport at 19.40, Monday to Friday and Sundays. The return flight departs Port Elizabeth at 06.45 arriving at Johannesburg at 08.15, facilitating onward connectivity to multiple domestic, regional and international destinations. On Saturdays, the flight departs Port Elizabeth at 08.00 arriving into Johannesburg at 09.30.
South Africa has an amazing ‘art’ scene and we’re pleased to announce that another art gallery has just opened. Located in the Steenberg area of Cape Town, adjacent to Table Mountain National Park, the Norval Foundation combines the experience of art with an appreciation for nature. It will house one of South Africa’s largest private collections. http://www.norvalfoundation.org/
Snorkel and swim with the ocean’s friendliest creatures, the Cape Fur Seal. If you have clients’ wishing to experience this amazing underwater excursion, let us know and we can provide more details on how to reserve a space on this trip.
Wacky Wine Weekend: we have so many great festivals and events throughout the year, but up soon is the Wacky Wine Weekend. If you have clients who will be in the Western Cape from 31 May until 3 June, this is a fun event which they may like to consider. Wine tasting, cellar tours, live music, arts and crafts and country cuisine can all be experienced. For more information and tickets go to http://www.wackywineweekend.com/
IN OTHER NEWS:
General Data Protection Regulation is a new law that regulates how the personal data of EU citizens can be collected, used, and processed by businesses. This comes into effect on the 25th May, so we will shortly be sending you a separate e-newsletter requesting that you opt in to remain on our distribution list. Unfortunately if you don’t do this, we will no longer be able to send you our e-newsletters after this date. We really hope you subscribe and continue to allow us to update you with useful news on Southern Africa and our company.