South Africans’ wanderlust for travel may be above the global average, but the market’s travel purchasing behaviour falls below that of other markets.
This according to the world’s largest survey of travel intentions from leading PR consultancy group Travel Lifestyle Network (TLN) which was compiled for TLN by Thrive and market intelligence firm AudienceNet and released this week.
Some 179,446 people in 28 countries, including South Africa, were surveyed by Global Web Index during the first quarter of 2022, revealing that value for money and a relaxing experience were the key global drivers when choosing a holiday destination.
Value for money certainly featured highly amongst the South Africans polled, with 43% indicating that this would have the most impact on their destination selection, compared with 26% of their global counterparts. At least 27% of South Africans indicated that their destination choice would be made based on the experience being relaxing, while 20% were looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience and 23% a special offer or deal.
“Interestingly, we saw the percentage of South Africans who see travel as a personal interest (58%) was above the global average of 46%, while 64% of South Africans identified with ‘I like to explore the world as a describes-me statement’ compared with the global average of 46%.
“However, when you look at the actual percentage in the survey results that travel, whether locally, regionally or internationally, this is below the global average,” says Natalia Rosa, CEO of Big Ambitions, which is the South Africa member of the Travel Lifestyle Network.
Only 5% of South Africans surveyed had travelled for leisure overseas in the past three to six months, while 15% had bought a travel ticket in the same period. The survey revealed that only 9% were planning to holiday overseas and 19% were planning to buy a travel ticket.
With the launch of South African Tourism’s Sho’t Left Travel Week in September, a real opportunity exists for domestic travel, with the survey indicating that 67% of those polled have a domestic holiday once a year or more; and 22% once every six months. At least a quarter of South Africans are planning on taking a domestic holiday, according to the survey.
The global outlook for domestic holidays in comparison is the same, however only 13% have plans to travel internationally, according to the report.
When consumers were asked what factors tended to influence their decision as to where they travelled, value for money emerged as the number one consideration (26%); having a relaxing experience (21%); the weather/time of the year (20%); a cultural experience (15%); a once-in-a-lifetime experience (15%); being able to visit friends/family (13%); and good facilities for children/families (12%).
In the context of the evolving cost-of-living crisis, with inflation rates soaring in many countries, the travel industry needs to contend with consumer concerns relating to the price of travel. With value for money the factor that has most impact on decisions about where to travel on vacation for just over a quarter (26%), affordability is likely to have a significant impact on travel-related purchasing in the second half of 2022 and into 2023.
Overall, the survey discovered that wanderlust abounds with a strong desire to seize the experiences that travel offers in the post-Covid climate. Asked if they were “someone who likes to explore the world”, consumers were highly positive in all regions: Middle East and Africa (60%); North America (51%); Europe (49%); Asia-Pacific (44%); and Latin America (43%).
Survey respondents were asked what they had missed most during the pandemic and cited: exploring new places; a change of scenery; spending time with loved ones; relaxing or sunbathing; and eating different foods.
Says Virginie Le Norgant, Travel Lifestyle Network President: “Our report clearly shows how the rising cost of living is influencing every travel decision made today. This global survey highlights how an increasing number of consumers are seeking value-for-money when booking their leisure trip. Price, not necessarily quality, is going to be a key differentiator to attract consumer spend in the remainder of 2022 and in early 2023.”