Tourvest Destination Management will focus on new business in the newly launched GoVacation Africa brand and driving efficiencies, before setting out on a growth path.

Tourvest Destination Management launched the GoVacation Africa brand after entering into a strategic partnership with DER Touristik, which sees the consolidation of the latter’s business to Africa into Tourvest under the new brand.

Sabine Blehle, who was appointed CEO of GoVacation Africa, says its launch will bring in more travel to Africa. DER Touristik, as a holding company, has had the GoVacation brand for the past eight years and mainly used the brand in Asia. As a result, there is an existing customer base selling the GoVacation brand, which includes customers currently not selling destinations in Africa.

Tourvest Destination Management CEO, Martin Wiest, says this presents an opportunity to grow travel into Southern Africa and the rest of Africa, leveraging this brand. “Our sales and marketing strategy is to leverage off those customers that work with GoVacation into different destinations that are not on the African continent and attract them to the continent. “The overall strategy is not to take away from the pie that exists already, but to grow the pie,” adds Blehle.

Wiest says the GoVacation start-up is probably the first tourism venture in Africa to launch with eight offices and within five countries simultaneously. The company has offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Windhoek, Nairobi, Arusha, Mombasa and Zanzibar and operates in South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

The launch of GoVacation also extends to Tourvest operations, by bringing in the coastal destinations in East Africa, says Wiest. He says these destinations have high passenger numbers and offer growth opportunities. Hinting at further growth on the cards, Blehle says Tourvest can also take the GoVacation blueprint to other countries, such as Botswana and

Commenting on the group’s strengthened buying power, Wiest said in the current trading and occupancy environment, Tourvest’s growth driven by GoVacation is unlikely to fundamentally change the group’s purchasing power. He points out that, with the company’s historic turnover, it has already reached its maximum purchasing power. He says however: “We will to our outmost make it work for us.”

The new brand has enabled Tourvest to hire about 80 new staff members in countries including South Africa and Namibia, says Wiest. He adds that it has also opened up career opportunities within the group.

DER Touristik’s decision to enter the partnership with Tourvest is a feather in the cap of destination South Africa, says Wiest, and shows the value the group places on South Africa. Blehle adds that South Africa is currently a trending destination.