How the Netflix Effect is driving the demand for film tourism in South Africa

Last updated November 9, 2023

The Africa Travel Week Trends report, presented at the prestigious World Travel Market Africa event held in Cape Town in April 2023, revealed a fascinating discovery: travellers are gaining inspiration for accommodation from South African shows. The report highlighted that individuals who had been exposed to South African content on the popular streaming platform Netflix were significantly inclined to perceive South Africa as their ultimate travel destination. Surprisingly, these viewers were found to be more than three times as likely to consider the country their top choice for a memorable travel experience or alternative safari.

As a travel agent, it’s crucial to recognise the significant impact of streaming services and the diverse cultural content they offer. These platforms have the remarkable ability to transcend borders, igniting a sense of wanderlust in individuals worldwide. The captivating South African stories showcased on Netflix have struck a chord with viewers, inspiring a deep desire to engage in film tourism in South Africa.

By tapping into this trend, you can position yourself as an expert in South African travel experiences, offering tailored itineraries that immerse your clients in the vibrant culture, breathtaking landscapes, and rich heritage of Mzansi firsthand.

Viewers are getting inspiration for safari destinations from Netflix

In light of the findings, SA Tourism and Netflix recognised the potential of collaborating to leverage locally-generated narratives as a means to promote international travel to the region and encourage film tourism in South Africa. With the aim of providing a unique and immersive experience to audiences worldwide, they embarked on an investigation of collaborative options.

The result of their collaboration was the creation of a special selection titled ‘Made in South Africa’ on Netflix. This selection was strategically curated to showcase the diverse and captivating narratives originating from South Africa. It aimed to capture the attention of more than 209 million viewers hailing from approximately 190 countries.

Given the travel restrictions and limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ‘Made in South Africa’ selection offered viewers a form of escapism and exploration from the comfort of their own homes — an experience often referred to as ‘armchair travel’.

Among the prominent titles featured in the selection were “Penguin Town” and “My Octopus Teacher.” These documentaries served as captivating showcases of the marine wildlife found in and around Simon’s Town, located in the Cape region of South Africa. “Penguin Town” provided a delightful glimpse into the lives of the adorable African penguins that inhabit the area, while “My Octopus Teacher” offered an awe-inspiring journey into the relationship between a filmmaker and an intelligent octopus.

South Africa is cashing in on the alternative safari trend

Thanks to these Netflix hits, the concept of a traditional safari is being redefined to encompass a broader range of experiences. In addition to the classic land-based wildlife expeditions, a new kind of adventure known as the alternative safari is gaining traction. For example, in False Bay, visitors can embark on unique marine safaris and indulge in kelp snorkelling. These captivating activities allow travellers to explore the mesmerising underwater world and witness the diverse marine life that thrives in the bay’s pristine waters.

For those who are still seeking a more traditional African safari experience, South Africa’s national parks offer unparalleled opportunities. With their vast landscapes and rich biodiversity, these protected areas provide an authentic encounter with Africa’s iconic wildlife as documented in breathtaking detail in series like “Shamwari Untamed”. From game drives to guided walking safaris, visitors can immerse themselves in the beauty and majesty of the continent’s fauna and flora.

When it comes to finding accommodation from South African shows, Global Accommodation ensures that every traveller’s needs are met – whether they are yearning for an alternative safari experience or a traditional game drive featuring the Big 5. Regardless of whether your guests prefer to stay in the heart of the national parks, surrounded by nature’s wonders, or along the stunning coastal areas, Global Accommodation has you covered. From luxurious lodges to cosy campsites, we offer a range of options to suit different preferences and budgets – and we’ll even help you to personalise a travel package that your clients will love. Even when “roughing it,” guests can enjoy the comforts of luxury with custom extras, ensuring an unforgettable and tailored experience.

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