We’re happy to announce the establishment of the partnership between Shake To Win (STW) “赏游” – a digital platform working to build a bridge between Chinese Free Independent Travellers (FIT tourism) and the rest of the world – and Without A Doubt agency, as their regional partner for South Africa.

Camps Bay – Photo by Sebastian Canaves on Unsplash

Before the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted international travel (along with most other industries), China was considered the world’s largest outbound travel market, and is currently ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to response and recovery as domestic travel is already on the uptick

Boulders Beach – Photo by Jack Young on Unsplash

On the other hand, South Africa’s tourism sector is a key driver of the economy, contributing about 9% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP)In 2018 the number of tourists in South Africa amounted to 16.44 million and was recently voted the most popular ‘post-COVID destination escape’, according to Getaway magazine

There is a good reason why South Africa is a popular destination – it offers everything from nature adventures with its safaris, mountains and beaches; to urban comforts like coffee shops, gourmet food, art exhibitions and cocktail rooftop bars.

Photo by Robert Keane on Unsplash

Trends have shown that nature-abundant countries will be first-choice destinations, in response to the confinement of Lockdowns and as social distancing is likely to remain a reality in the long-term – which is of course good news for SA.   

But even as SA’s tourism sector prepares itself for the revival phase – with Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane post-COVID-19 recovery plan predicting the return of international tourism in 2021 – reaching the Chinese market remains a challenge for most local travel brands. 

Blyde River Canyon – Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash

This is due to a phenomenon called the ‘splinternet’, which refers to the splintering and dividing of the internet due to various factors like technology access and culture. 

For example, even if your business has a digital presence across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, the chances are you’re not reaching the average Chinese tourist; who instead prefers to browse social media platforms Weibo (550 million users) and WeChat. 

Bo-Kaap – Photo by Claudio Fonte on Unsplash

According to reports, China is one of three most probable places of origin for the first tourist groups to travel abroad as sentiment improves, which means that SA’s tourism sector simply cannot afford to miss out on reaching this segment. 

A report by McKinsey & Company shows that ‘young, single, and experienced travelers’ are expected to travel first, and STW has significant insight into the likes and dislikes of the young Chinese, millennial traveler – and go to great lengths to curate authentic destinations and unique, cultural experiences on their app. Added to this, they translate all content into the Chinese language and are able to successfully bridge the “splinternet” by reaching them on appropriate channels.

Photo by Tembinkosi Sikupela on Unsplash

As Without A Doubt embarks on the Travel From Home campaign, we will soon be sharing exciting content as part of this collaboration and look forward to a long-standing, rewarding partnership with STW.