Tourvest’s status as South Africa’s largest inbound tour operator has opened new opportunities for development and expansion into the rest of the continent, says Martin Wiest, chief executive of Tourvest’s Destination Management division.

Wiest says the group’s commanding leadership position in the market, strengthened further by the recent launch of GoVacation Africa, a partnership between Tourvest and long-standing German tour operator partner Dertouristik, has prompted the group to look beyond southern Africa for further growth opportunities.

Additionally, the group recently consolidated its inbound travel brands comprising Welcome Tourism Services, Your Africa, SST and Focus Tours to create Tourvest DMC, in a move designed to realise greater efficiencies and operational capacity.  It also intends to achieve greater penetration in key source markets including Italy, America, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Switzerland and Austria.

GoVacation Africa through the TDM infrastructure is active in South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda with offices in Arusha, Johannesburg, Mombassa, Nairobi, Windhoek and Zanzibar.  It manages the majority of inbound leisure businesses into these African regions from European tour operators owned by Dertouristik.

According to Wiest, the group has set its sight on Ethiopia, Mozambique and Madagascar to market abroad and plans to be operational in those countries by next year.  “Ethiopia was voted the world’s best tourism destination in 2015 by the European Council on Tourism for its natural beauty, dramatic landscapes and ancient culture.  International tourist arrivals to that country for 2016 were only 868 780 and so we see good growth potential there,” he says.

“Similarly Madagascar, with its beautiful beaches, fauna and flora, grew its international tourist arrivals by 15% to 293 195 in 2016 and this is a destination that’s starting to rival its Indian Ocean peers such as Mauritius and Reunion.”

Wiest says Tourvest has continuously evolved to support the growing demands of its international client base and to impact positively the lives of travellers through extraordinary experiences.  “Our recipe for success is to combine technical solutions with intimate knowledge of a destination to accurately tailor-make experiences that fulfil travel aspirations,” he says.