For South Africans, local is still tops when it comes to holidays. Most of them take two to three short breaks a year, with only 12% spending these trips abroad. These are just a few of the findings of a travel survey that we recently conducted into the traveling habits of South Africans.

Although they only spend an average of 18 days on holidays per year, the older market of 60-69 year olds understandably spend the most days on holidays (22 days). The economic state of the country unfortunately clearly comes through in the almost two-thirds of South Africans that are only willing to spend between R5 000 and R20 000 (between €280 and €1120) on their shorter holidays per year. Only 2% are willing to spend more than R100 000 (€5600) while a substantial 17% will spend less than R5 000 (€280). Interestingly, participants are also prepared to spend substantially more money on a one-week holiday overseas than on all their local holidays combined, which shows that the majority still aspires to go abroad.

When it comes to trips longer than five days, almost half of South Africans take one longer holiday per year but again local is tops with 80% of South Africans traveling inside the borders of the country when going on these longer holidays.

Almost 70% rely on recommendations from family and friends when seeking inspiration for their holidays. Only 33% say that advertising on TV, radio, online and in print will influence their decision while 57% will browse the internet for inspiration. But even though advertising does not play the biggest role in shaping decisions, one of our clients in the travel industry recently recorded a 650% increase in sales generated by TV when they started tracking and optimising their TV campaigns, so it clearly does still play a very important role in the media mix.

When the time comes to book their holidays, the statistics show that 41% of South Africans do currently use online booking sites for their holidays with 51% planning to book their next trip like this. So the country has come a long way in its adoption of the internet for transactions which is very encouraging for digital brands in South Africa!

Relaxation and adventure tops the list of priorities for South Africans with 74% who would choose a beach holiday and 50% seeking adventure. More than half of South Africans don’t tend to go on holiday on the spur of the moment and book their holidays between three and 11 months in advance. Some are a bit more impulsive, with 11% admitting to booking less than a month in advance.  

Through these types of surveys we gain a lot of insights that helps us to assist our clients in the online travel booking industry to incorporate these insights into their marketing plans. Because we strongly believe in using data-driven solutions to help companies grow!

General insights gained from the survey include:

  • 80% of South Africans want to feel that they have broadened their horizons when they come back from holiday
  • 76% have a specific budget for their holidays and try to stay within that budget
  • 77% agree that holiday is about escaping their daily lives
  • 70% want to experience nature when they go on holiday
  • Only 20% like to impress other people with their holiday experiences.