TOURISTS from across the globe visited the Nelson Mandela Bay over the December holiday, experiencing what turned out to be a very successful summer filled with various fun holiday activities.
The summer offered ideal weather conditions to perfectly complement the festive events that allowed tourists to experience not only the beach, but also a variety of wildlife, heritage and adventure activities.
â€œThrough marketing an array of attractions and activities available in Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) and a manner in which to make them accessible and affordable, visitors were able to experience these and, therefore, find the destination more desirable for extended stays, which contributed to increased tourism numbers and a successful summer season,â€? confirmed Mandlakazi Skefile, Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism CEO.
While the summer season is not yet behind us, NMBT provided preliminary result indicators that show the local tourism sectorâ€™s success. These results show that approximately 393 615 bed nights were sold in NMB during December 2016 at an average occupancy of 79.34%, which is up by 6.98%.
It is estimated that about 267 848 overnight visitors came to NMB, spending close to R402 766 150, compared to the previous yearâ€™s R357 429 685.
Based on NMBTâ€™s occupancy surveys, it was found that during December 2016, 72 226 (18.35%) of the bed nights sold were foreign, compared to 30 462 (8.72%) last year.
Based on the methodology used by NMBT, from the number of bed nights sold, it can be derived that there were about of 23 033 foreign overnight visitors in NMB during the month.
The foreign direct amount spent in NMB for the month is estimated to be R62 364 102. The top 10 foreign countriesâ€™ visitors staying in formal accommodation, as reported on by accommodation facilities, came from Germany, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Australia, and Brazil.
Therefore, the top 3 foreign countries indicate positive results on the marketing investments NMBT made into these markets throughout the year.
December 2016 saw 321 389 (81.65%) bed nights sold to the domestic tourism market. Based on the methodology from the bed nights sold, NMBT can derive that there were about 241 043 domestic overnight visitors in NMB during the month, spending an estimated R340 402 048, using 2015 indicators.
The success of the marketing and campaign efforts also showed in the increase in the number of Nelson Mandela Bay Pass cards sold.
To date, the festive season has seen the Nelson Mandela Bay Pass sales increase by 131%, generating a total of R226 835 in revenue.
The most popular attractions in NMB over the summer, shown by the usage of the Nelson Mandela Bay Pass, included Adrenalin Addoâ€™s double zipline, the Sundays River Ferry, sandboarding at Sundays River Adventures, as well as surf lessons and beachfront bicycle hired from Ocean Side Surf store.
Many were thrilled with NMBâ€™s offerings and were happy to share and recommend their experiences through the digital campaign called â€œ#Sharethebayâ€?. To date, over 8 000 images have been uploaded with the hashtag.
The campaign created ambassadors and marketers out of locals and visitors, allowing others to be enticed to explore the NMBâ€™s offerings.
Skefile further confirmed, â€œInitiatives such as the Nelson Mandela Bay Travel App, Nelson Mandela Bay Pass, as well as the campaigns, are all tools that assist to effectively market the destination and allow the visitorsâ€™ experience to be enhanced by convenience and affordability.â€?