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Mauritius leads in SA bookings on high-tech system

The countries that have seen the greatest growth in flight bookings from travellers in South Africa in the last 12 months are Mauritius, Thailand and Zimbabwe, according to analysis conducted by Travelport. 



Global distribution systems (GDS) are vast hi-tech reservation networks that allow travel agents, travel management companies and large corporations, among others, to search and book airline seats, hotel rooms, rental cars, and other travel related items. Globally in 2017, Travelport alone processed 1 trillion transactions through its platform.

Guido Verweij, Travelport’s Managing Director for Africa, said: “Mauritius holds great appeal for South African travelers. Just a four-hour flight away and with a multitude of beautiful beach resorts to choose from, the Indian Ocean island offers competitively priced package deals to suit all pockets. Mauritius also offers a number of incentives to offshore investors, which continue to help it attract large South African corporates to set up major offices. While Zimbabwe has long been a contentious destination for South Africans, following its economic and political stabilization we’ve seen a spike in bookings to the country, which boasts stunning destinations like Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe has also seen new carriers like Fastjet introduce direct flights from Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport. Thailand remains a cost-effective getaway with exotic appeal. Straight forward visa laws and a huge variety of package deals available throughout the year for South African travelers makes this location a good value purchase.”

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Turkey completed the top five positions in the table compiled by Travelport. The UAE saw an increase of 9,474 (+17%) in bookings made in South Africa through all GDS. With an increase in bookings of 63% (+6,837), Turkey was the biggest mover in terms of percentage growth out of the ten countries with the largest volume growth. Indonesia was also a big riser, registering a 51% increase (+6,135) in booking from South Africa through all GDS over the last 12 months.

Verweij added: “Travelport has invested significantly in developing cutting-edge analytics products for travel agents and airlines because we recognize the impact they can have on their revenue. Even relatively straight forward booking analysis, like we have done here, can help travel agents evolve the packages they offer in line with traveler demand and support airlines in identifying needs to increase or decrease flight capacity on certain routes. We are already seeing business won and lost through the effective analysis of industry, business and competitive data, and this will only happen more in the years to come as companies become more sophisticated in how they use it.”

Later this week, Travelport will hold its exclusive bi-annual Travelport LIVE Africa event in Cape Town. The event will bring together over 200 business leaders from across the globe to discuss the challenges and opportunities disruptive technologies, like big data, pose to the travel industry in Africa. It will include presentations and panel discussions featuring global, regional and local leaders from Travelport, as well as noteworthy third-party speakers such as Ulrich Homann, Distinguished Architect in the Cloud and Enterprise business at Microsoft.

Fastest-growing destinations for travelers in      South Africa booked through global distribution systems
Rank Destination Vol. Increase % Change
1 Mauritius 17,764 17%
2 Thailand 12,602 27%
3 Zimbabwe 9,506 20%
4 United Arab Emirates 9,474 17%
5 Turkey 6,837 63%
6 Indonesia 6,135 51%
7 United Kingdom 5,154 5%
8 Namibia 4,663 9%
9 China 4,291 10%
10 Netherlands 3,627 20%
This data is derived from Travelport’s interpretation of relevant MIDT data. It reflects bookings made in South Africa through GDS only. Additional booking will have been made directly with airlines, which may or may not also have a GDS presence.

From 1 September 2017 to 31 August 2018, bookings made2 in South Africa through all global distribution systems (GDS) to Mauritius increased by 17,764, up 17% on the previous 12 months. Bookings to Thailand from South Africa over the last          12 months rose by 12,602, up 27%, and to Zimbabwe by 9,506, up 20%.


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