The countries that have seen the greatest growth in flight bookings from travelers in South Africa in the last 12 months are Mauritius, Thailand and Zimbabwe.

This is according to analysis conducted by travel commerce platform Travelport.

From 1 September 2017 to 31 August 2018, bookings made 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%.

Guido Verweij, Travelport’s MD for Africa, says: “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%) 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 10 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 adds: “Travelport has invested significantly in developing analytics products for travel agents and airlines because we recognize the impact they can have on their revenue. Even relatively straightforward 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.”