Amsterdam, January 2023 – Aquila Collection, in partnership with KLM, embarked on an exciting marketing and destination activation trip to the Netherlands to promote Cape Town as a premier city and safari destination. As KLM operates a direct route between Amsterdam and Cape Town, this collaboration aims to create exponential lift to Cape Town from the Netherlands and its surrounding short-haul connections.
The mission to the Netherlands included engaging with trade partners at the annual Vakantiebeurs in Utrecht, a renowned travel trade exhibition. However, the highlight of the trip was a networking dinner in Amsterdam, hosted by Aquila Collection in collaboration with KLM and Spier Wines. Over 50 delegates from the travel trade and media gathered at the Lions Head Restaurant and Brewery to immerse themselves in a traditional South African experience.
The event provided a platform to showcase Cape Town, Aquila Collection’s safari offerings, KLM routes and product updates, as well as the opportunity to indulge in delectable South African cuisine paired with exquisite Chenin Blanc and Pinotage wines from Spier.
Johan van Schalkwyk, Group Marketing and Trade Manager for Aquila Collection, emphasized the significance of such collaborations with international carriers in promoting the ease of visiting Cape Town and dispelling misconceptions about long-haul flights. The event aimed to enhance the understanding of the Dutch travel trade and media regarding the accessibility and allure of Cape Town, including its cosmopolitan atmosphere, exceptional culinary scene, stunning wines, and Aquila Collection’s big 5 game lodges.
Van Schalkwyk also highlighted the historical connection between the Dutch and South Africa, emphasizing that Dutch visitors have consistently ranked in Aquila’s top 10 international visitor data. This loyalty underscores the need for a targeted marketing approach to maximize tourism growth. Notably, Dutch visitors in Cape Town and on board KLM flights tend to be young explorers, adventurous families, and last-minute decision-makers, often booking flights first and planning their stay later.
Recent data analysis by Aquila’s digital team revealed that most travel-related searches for Cape Town originate at Schiphol Airport, indicating a significant opportunity to engage with potential visitors before they travel. This insight highlights the need to ensure comprehensive awareness of Cape Town’s Aquila Collection safari options among Dutch travelers and to secure forward bookings.
The collaboration between Aquila Collection and KLM will continue with a focused approach to attract more Dutch visitors to Cape Town. In the coming months, follow-up trade activations will be hosted, ensuring that Aquila Collection and KLM remain top of mind for travel trade professionals and media in the Netherlands.
The event in Amsterdam, held in January 2023 at Lions Head Restaurant, was attended by South African Tourism officials in Europe, as well as travel trade professionals and media with a keen interest in learning about and promoting Cape Town.