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Robben Island heritage experience gets R10m make-over

Cape Town – After two financial years filled with promises of development on Robben Island, the National Department of Tourism (NDT) has finally taken steps in getting the ball rolling.

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The NDT has issued an R10m destination development grant for the island, aimed at enhancing the visitor experience through supporting identified and planned components.

Trevor Bloem, NDT spokesperson, told Traveller24 the funding is aimed at enhancing the visitor experience through supporting identified and planned destination development components.
“While the current support focus is on capacity development for tourist guides, digitisation of heritage information and archives, improving visitor information services, increasing existing and introducing additional food and beverage facilities, and a craft centre, the department is also exploring ways in which more South Africans can gain access to, and experience attractions like Robben Island through initiatives such as open days,” Bloem says.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

In implementing the grant to good use, Robben Island World Heritage Site will focus on the following core purposes:

– Implementation of an integrated management approach and tools for the site

– Enhancement of universal access

– Improved visitor experience through effective visitor management

– Improved interpretation and public programming

– Review and implementation of policies for the management of the site

– Ensuring the significance of the site through sound conservation management strategies

– Providing an opportunity for sustainable economic empowerment

These improvements form part of SA Tourism’s R100 million investment in domestic tourism, aimed at getting locals to travel more.

SA Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom in his annual Tourism budget speech in May this year said the NDT will make a concerted effort to Go Green in 2016.

The same was said during the 2014/2015 Tourism Budget speech. But this most recent NDT development grand to Robben Island seems to be a concrete step in the actual implementation of the goal.

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Source: traveller24


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South Africa makes play for international MICE tourism

Derek Hanekom, minister of tourism for South Africa, outlined how South Africa, as a world-class business events destination, will respond to the next decade in the face of rising interest in the African continent.

Speaking at ibtm world in Barcelona, Hanekom outlined how South Africa hosted 124 international association conferences in 2014 alone which attracted just under 70 000 industry professionals.

Of these 124 conferences, 81 per cent were international rotating events.

He also reminded all that the South Africa National Convention Bureau has only been in existence for three years.

Looking to the future, SANCB has secured 163 bids for South Africa between 2016 and 2020, from industry sectors as diverse as mining, health and agriculture.

Collectively they are expected to bring over 150,000 delegates to South Africa and contribute approximately R3.1billion to the economy.

“The potential of Africa for the MICE industry is exponential.

“The tide has turned, we can see that our growth opportunities are now also within the African market.

“There are 770 registered African Associations on the ICCA database.

“Some 178 of these are based in South Africa and 592 on the rest of the continent and 218 regional conferences were registered on the continent in 2014 resulting in 610 events over the last five years.

“South Africa only hosted 63 of these events in the past five years,” said Hanekom.

The first African Association Society of Executives, which was formed this year, will hold its first AGM at Meetings Africa 2016, SANCB’s signature business events trade shows held annually in February at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Other new developments include identifying and collaborating with a key strategic partner to oversee the management of the tradeshow going forward.

Source: breakingtravelnews


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London World Travel Market boosts travel to South Africa

There were 227,323 visits from Britain to South Africa between January and June, an increase of 17% over the same period last year.

Global arrivals increased fractionally to 1,149,253, but Britain is the most important market followed by Germany, France and the Benelux countries. These figures were revealed by Derek Hanekom who, once again, was among only 10 tourism ministers, out of almost 100 attending, to speak at the Global Summit.

In a debate on marketing, he said that South Africa’s slogan A world in one country was proving highly effective. There was some criticism of a fellow-speaker, Walter Mzembi, from Zimbabwe whose small pavilion included 13 exhibitors.

The pavilion of South African Tourism brought together 30 exhibitors, including Tshwane, Johannesburg and Durban (launching its plans for 2022) as well as the Voortrekker monument.  Various hotels and chains sent representatives as did Thompson’s destination management. South African Airways joined the others, but Rovos Rail had an independent booth next to an operator of tours in Ethiopia and Sudan.

Four safari companies and a combined total of 15 wildlife areas exhibited. Nopasika Mxunyewa from Eastern Cape Parks & Tourism Agency said, “This is my first time here, but WTM has everything I need. It is possible to meet buyers, compare products and spot the consumer trends to use the right marketing tools”. 

Dianna Martin of Northern Cape Tourist Authority spoke at a seminar, and Heidi van der Watt, director of ICRT, Southern Africa, was among four experts talking about the impact of governmental touristic policies on local communities.   South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance publicised its recent awards for responsible tourism. Abercrombie & Kent won this year’s Ubuntu Award from South African Tourism.

Also highlighted at WTM was the current Cairo to Cape cycling race whose competitors include Mark Blewett, captain of the SA Cycling Team. The African Travel & Tourism Association had its own stand, but the continent fared badly at a crowded conference on safety.   A speaker from the National Counter-Terrorism Security Office in London said that the world’s most hazardous countries for holidaymakers were Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia. Nigeria did not exhibit this year, but Egypt occupied double South Africa’s area which was not much larger than those of Kenya, Morocco or Tanzania.

Angola and Namibia were absent but the total of 53 African exhibitors did include Malawi, Senegal and Uganda as well as Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique.   Madagascar and Reunion were present too, and so was Swaziland whose representative, Bongani Dlamini, said “This show provides us with a lot of opportunities to meet tour operators, mainly British ones. And we are on the right track for getting more airlines to our new international airport”.

Africa altogether took one-tenth of the space at WTM, as much as that for countries of the Near and Middle East. Criticism of the expenses and location, however, mean that next year’s show at ExCel will be shortened from four to three days. With 50,000 participants and 9,500 exhibitors from 186 lands, it still rivals ITB in Berlin, but Africa’s premier travel fair, Indaba International Expo, was getting registrations for its next show in Durban from 7-9 May.

Source: thesouthafrican


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‘DAMAGE DONE BY VISA REGULATION IS WORSE THAN EXPECTED’

Grant Thorton says the tourism industry suffered more damage than they had expected.

JOHANNESBURG – The consultancy that first warned the tourism industry would suffer massive losses when new travel regulations were introduced, says the damage they did was worse than they had expected.

On Friday cabinet reversed an earlier decision by the Department of Home Affairs to introduce regulations requiring biometric visas for tourists and unabridged birth certificates for children travelling to South Africa.

Grant Thornton advisory services’ Lee-Anne Bac says the tourism industry suffered more damage than they had expected while these regulations were in force.

“Looking at what has happened to our tourism industry, we are estimating that, due to immigration regulation, [we could have lost around 500,000 tourists this year].”

While political analyst professor Sipho Seepe says there are lessons here for government about making policy.

“The arrogance of ministers working in isolation and not wanting to be interfered with should be a thing of the past.”

Tourism minister Derek Hanekom has said he’s grateful that these changes are now being made.

At the same time, the tourism industry says it’s going to take time and money to rebuild the markets it lost during these time controversial travel regulations were in force.

Bac says there’s hard work ahead for the tourism industry.

“It’s going to take a lot on time, energy and money to restore our reputation; to get the communication out there out there about the changed regulations.”

Seepe says this episode may not actually damage Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.

“He is young so he is going and in government you learn and make mistakes. But what is good for him si to climb down.”

Gigaba had strongly defended the regulations saying they were required to stop terrorism and child trafficking.

Source: ewn


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Meet South Africa during Tourism Month

September is Tourism Month in South Africa, and this year’s celebrations were kickstarted with an official launch on August 16 by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, at Euphoria Golf Resort in the Waterberg region of Limpopo province.

“During Tourism Month, we focus our efforts on domestic tourism in particular, using the period as an opportunity to encourage all South Africans to get out and explore this unique, beautiful and diverse country,” said Hanekom.

As part of his address at the Tourism Month launch, Hanekom pointed to a new domestic tourism marketing campaign – A Million New Experiences are a Sho’t Left Away – which will be the theme for this year’s Tourism Month as well.

The new domestic campaign, informed by consumer insights research conducted by South African Tourism, encourages South Africans to take a leisure break away from home and start travelling their own country. The campaign premise is about the joy of discovering new experiences for the first time, thus highlighting that South Africa has myriad tourist experiences to be discovered, whether one is a new or a seasoned traveller.

Tourism Month celebrations rotate among the provinces each year, with a different province given an opportunity to host the celebrations. During this month all provinces are encouraged to showcase their leisure experiences on offer so as to inspire domestic travellers. Tourism Month coincides with Heritage Month in South Africa, fitting for this year’s choice of Limpopo as the host province.

Limpopo is a culturally rich and diverse province that boasts attractions such as the Modjadji cycad forest, the Mapungubwe Heritage Site and the Ribolla Cultural Route, to mention but a few.

“Limpopo is a wonderful region of the country to explore. Its warm, friendly culture makes one feel truly at home. It is a must-visit destination for any South African who wants to learn more about South Africa’s cultural heritage,” added Hanekom.

He explained that domestic tourism is critical to the long-term growth and sustainability of South Africa’s tourism industry.

In 2014, tourism contributed some 9.4% to the nation’s gross domestic product and accounted for close to 10% of all employed people in South Africa. Last year, 35% of all adult South Africans took a trip domestically. Domestic trips increased by 11% to reach 28-million last year. The revenue generated by domestic tourism alone in the same year was R26.8-billion in 2014, an increase of 11% on the previous year.

“We have ring-fenced significant budget to invest in growing this specific sector and to enhance our marketing efforts. It is important to us that all South Africans become ambassadors of their own country, and the first step to achieving this is to travel, discover, learn, and fall in love with South Africa’s beauty and tourism offerings. Making domestic travel affordable and accessible will encourage South Africans to explore and experience their own country,” concluded Hanekom.

Source: southafrica


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Opening address by the Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, to the SAACI Congress: 3 August 2015

These events bring people into our country, and when they have a truly memorable experience, which is largely the result of experiencing excellence and quality contact with people.

Officials and members of the South African Association for the Conference Industry, congress delegates, media representatives, ladies and gentlemen.

It is an honour and a privilege to be in the company of key players in the business events industry.

This year’s theme: ‘It’s business – it’s personal’ really resonates with me. I firmly believe that the best business done is business driven by passion, conducted with personal integrity, and [with] sincere belief in the greater good. On the other hand, the personal experiences we provide in the tourism sector must be backed up by a high level of professionalism and excellence.

This is particularly significant when one considers the immediate impact and the ripple effect of the work of the conference and meetings industry.

These events bring people into our country, and when they have a truly memorable experience, which is largely the result of experiencing excellence and quality contact with people, they will spread the word about our amazing offerings around the world, and many more people will want to experience it for themselves.

And this, in its turn, contributes to our overall tourism performance, and allows tourism to continue supporting one in every ten South Africans in employment, and to continue contributing about 9.5 percent of the country’s GDP in total.

Your commitment to making our national tourism sector successful, and making our country globally successful, is an inspiration to all of us. This is demonstrated by the pledge you took three years ago, when we adopted South Africa’s Business Events Strategy. You expressed your commitment to work together as an industry, and to include government to ensure that we accomplish big milestones by working as a unit.

These milestones are about your personal and business achievements, and about those of the entire country as well. After all, the growth of this industry is also about the growth of our nation.

The effect of your work is far-reaching. You have been able to create businesses that touch the lives of people in significant ways.

When the strategy was conceptualised four years ago, you had a pretty good idea of the type of skills needed to grow and strengthen our country. Six priority economic sectors were identified in which the business events industry can play a meaningful developmental role. These were: Manufacturing, Mining and Metals, Business Process Outsourcing, Creative Industries, Life Sciences, and Information and Communication Technology.

As an industry, you had the foresight to understand that attracting conventions in these key sectors would assist our country in advancing towards a more knowledge-based economy.

You vowed to take the entire industry, and our country, to new heights. For that, I salute you. Your success equates to our country’s success, and that is what we so badly need – growth and success for our country, and for our continent.

Meetings Africa, our hugely successful regional business events trade show, has generated quick wins for the business events industry on the entire continent.

To strengthen and grow collaboration on the continent, the South African National Conventions Bureau developed a dedicated corporate buyers’ programme at Meetings Africa, and this created new opportunities for the industry. This was in keeping with the global trend that national and corporate meetings events are just as important as international business events in growing the industry.

Exhibitors have already secured business deals directly from participating in the programme.

All of you here today have affirmed the world’s confidence in South Africa as a capable business events destination. It is because of your professionally managed international convention centres, smaller business event facilities, and your well-known hosting capabilities, that we occupy the 32nd spot on the ICCA rankings.

We continue to hold the top position for Africa and the Middle East. This is no small feat, considering the fast-evolving and dynamic global environment that we operate in.

Ladies and gentlemen, I do not want to downplay the many challenges you face in securing association events for our country.

It is imperative that the industry works together with key decision-makers in government to identify and try to overcome the barriers that impact on hosting events in our country successfully.

Factors such as the safety of delegates, affordability of our offerings, air access and ease of entry into our country all impact on the success of the industry.

We are all aware that the recently introduced visa regulations have had an impact on tourism. You will also be aware that cabinet has decided to establish a team of ministers to consider and review the unintended consequences of these regulations.

While this process is under way, we should all reaffirm our commitment to work together, and make the best of the growth opportunities emerging around us.

The international association industry is a very competitive market, and it is driven by membership-growth opportunities. Many of these rotating conferences have never been to the African continent, and Africa offers them a growth opportunity that cannot be matched by any other continent.

The African continent hosts, on average, about 350 of the 12 800 international association meetings held around the world. Hosting more of these events in Africa will make the continent more globally competitive. South Africa’s stature as the leading host destination for international association meetings is well established. Our ICCA rankings continue to get better, and this is a powerful endorsement of our country’s professionalism and excellent infrastructure.

South Africa is also well represented in the international association industry. For the first time in the 50-year history of ICCA, an African and Durbanite, Nina Freysen-Pretorius was elected president of this prestigious organisation.

The value chain of an international association meeting consists of many key elements, and a wide range of stakeholders without whom it will not be possible to organise these type of events. This ranges from professional conference organisers and venues to convention bureaux and support services, who all need to play their part in staging world-class meetings. South Africa is fortunate to have globally recognised service providers who allow us to stage highly successful events.

Ladies and gentlemen, I want to assure you that you have the full support of government, and in particular the National Convention Bureau (SANCB).

This year we introduced the Tourism Incentive Programme, which is geared towards supporting market-access opportunities for the industry at international trade shows. Participation at these shows is already subsidised by the Conventions Bureau as a value-added service to the industry.

Under the leadership of this bureau, South Africa has already secured 177 international association conferences for the country over the next five years, which will attract over 253 128 professionals. This will create 753 event days and generate an estimated R3.5-billion in economic impact.

I remain convinced that we are a nation of visionaries, and that our intellectual capital reaches far and wide. But we are also a nation of doers, giving life to our aspirations with creativity and innovation.

We have invested heavily in the conference and business events industry – and these events continue to be good for business and to inspire our knowledge sector. The strongest evidence lies in the huge number of professionals in different sectors who attend association events hosted in our country. Many of these professionals would never have had the opportunity, or the means, to attend an international conference. This demonstrates the wide-ranging impact your initiatives have had in securing these conferences for our country.

Ladies and gentleman, taking on the task of hosting an international conference is an enormous responsibility. I am confident that we have the right formula for success, and that, with your valuable contribution, we will achieve our aspirations for the tourism industry.

It is a great pleasure to declare that this congress is now officially open.

I thank you.

Source: southafrica


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Robben Island to switch to solar power

Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom says Robben Island, one of the world’s top tourist attraction spots, will soon generate its power from solar panels.

The island, which once held the likes of former President Nelson Mandela and struggle stalwarts Walter Sisulu and Ahmed Kathrada, amongst others, will be a pilot

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site for the department’s plan to roll out solar power to botanical gardens, South African National Parks and World Heritage sites during the current term of office.

Delivering his department’s Budget Vote Speech on Thursday, Minister Hanekom said the installation of solar power at the island will take place during the current financial year.

“The exciting part of the retrofitting programme is that it contributes towards our countrywide effort to reduce the electricity demand and to start shifting towards efficient energy use and renewable energy use.

“We will be introducing this component of the incentive programme on a pilot basis this year and it will involve the introduction of renewable energy at mainly our botanical gardens, at SA National Parks and at some of our world heritage sites.

“It will also include some of our community-based projects, particularly those that don’t have immediate access to the grid,” he said.

The retrofitting programme is part of the R180 million Tourism Incentive Programme, aimed at advancing the sector’s transformation, growing enterprises and developing tourism attractions.

As part of the retrofitting programme, the department will assess the needs of these establishments and then install photovoltaic panels (PV).

The Minister said the panels will be South African intellectual property-owned technology and the bulk of the components will be South African components.

“One of the pilot sites will be Robben Island and this will be done this year.

“Robben Island as we speak depends entirely on diesel generated electricity. We will shift them completely from diesel generated electricity to solar generated electricity,” he said.

The Minister also said while R180 million will be spent on the Tourism Incentive Programme’s pilot phase, an additional R368 million has been budgeted for the following years.

He said during the 2015/16 financial year, the programme would support tourism enterprises to access new markets by subsidising some of the costs of attending travel shows, as well as costs associated with being graded by the Tourism Grading Council.

Arrivals on the rise, tourism contributes to growth

The Minister said tourism has contributed 9.4% to the country’s gross domestic product over the past year.

He said the sector’s value chain now supported one in every ten jobs in the country.

“Growth in international tourist arrivals was recorded at 6.6% between 2013 and 2014.

“The 9.5 million visitors welcomed into South Africa last year contributed to creating a better life for all South Africans.

“The Department of Tourism will leverage the 2015/16 budget of R1.8 billion to create job opportunities and implement programmes that will take the sector forward in an inclusive and sustainable manner,” he said.

The Minister said his department had set an ambitious target of attracting 12 million international tourists arrivals by 2017/18 and increasing domestic holidaymakers from 2.8 million in 2014 to 4.1 million by 2020.

“With this level of growth, the department was on track to achieve the National Development Plan’s target of creating 225 000 jobs within the sector by 2020.

“About 54% of the budget will be allocated to South African Tourism for international and domestic marketing.

“An amount of R100 million has been ring-fenced for domestic marketing this year,” he said

Source: Environment.co.za


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Eco-Centre to Boost Conservation, Tourism in Betty’s Bay

Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom says the new Stony Point Eco-Centre in Betty’s Bay, in the Western Cape, is an important asset to tourism which will contribute towards efforts to conserve endangered species.

The eco-centre, situated alongside the On The Edge Restaurant, will also go a long way in benefiting local communities through job creation.

The Minister said the project was a perfect example of how social, economic and environmental responsibility can come together to create a workable and sustainable solution.

“This is a community project and the leadership of the community is central to the success of the project.

“When we launch a project, it is something that deserves a celebration. There are years of hard work that go behind a project that may seem small but are significant to our country. We have got good things to tell the world and we must tell it,” he said.

The launch of Stony Point is part of government’s National Imbizo Focus Week which is a platform for political principals to articulate messages around the priorities of government as outlined in the State of the Nation Address.

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Minister Hanekom said it was important for government to invest in projects like Stony Point as it will, in the long run, contribute to domestic and international tourism.

Stony Point was in the past used as a whaling station, which Minister Hanekom said was an unsustainable practice.

Johan West, the chairperson of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve Company, said the area held huge potential for eco-tourism.

He said of the 11000 marine species that are known around the world, 3500 were endemic to the area. The area also has 1400 plant species per square kilometre, making the area one of the most bio diverse place in the world.

Stony Point Peninsula is adjacent to the Betty’s Bay Marine Protected Area and forms part of the Overstrand Hope Spot. The Overstrand coast is home to an important seabird colony which includes five endangered species.

The African Penguin is one of these species, and is experiencing a catastrophic decline in the global population. The Stony Point Colony is the only population of African Penguins that is increasing in numbers.

“I am glad that government invested in this area and this project will benefit people from this area,” said West.

The project was funded by the national Department of Tourism through the Expanded Public Works Programme, which is one of government’s programmes aimed at providing poverty and income relief through temporary work for the unemployed.

It was developed in partnership with the Mooiuitsig Community Trust. The Trust holds the commercial rights to manage the eco-centre and the restaurant.

The On The Edge restaurant is staffed by members of the nearby Mooiuitsig community, who underwent training prior to the opening.

As part of the project, a parking area, paving and walkways, as well as ablution facilities were built. This is expected to enhance the experience of tourists.

About 70 members of the community were provided with jobs and skills training during the eco-centre and restaurant construction phase. Upon completion, the workers were all able to find work.

Solly Fourie, head of Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, said any successes of tourism in the province were celebrated as they contributed to the region’s economy.

He said the project was a clear job creator and will be a vehicle for small and medium enterprises to participate in the local economy.

“Tourism has been elevated as one of the 3rd growth drivers in the Western Cape.

“Any development within the tourism space carries the full support of the Western Cape government.”

Source: All Africa


 

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R600m plan to help SA grow its tourism sector

A series of new incentives to help tourism establishments grow their businesses and to improve South Africa’s tourism attractions were announced by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

The investment of around R600-million will help establishments to become graded and seek new markets for their products, and will later include retrofitting key with renewable energy sources. South Africa’s tourism sector had performed very well in the past two decades, Hanekom said.

“The pace of growth in the tourism sector has outstripped the growth in the overall economy significantly. We are now well positioned to do more, to continue growing, and to transform the sector by making it more inclusive and sustainable.

“It is estimated that tourism supports 1.4-million direct and indirect jobs and contributes 9.5% of South Africa’s total Gross Domestic Product. ”

“Tourism has enormous transformative power,” Hanekom said. “Tourism has a very strong multiplier effect on host communities and has a supply chain that extends deep into the economy.”The Tourism Incentive Programme represents an investment of R557-million over the medium term to support tourism enterprises to reach their full potential, Hanekom said.

The programme will put tourism businesses in a better position to make sustainable contributions to the growth of the industry and to the country’s economy, making South Africa a more competitive global destination, Hanekom said.

The programme will start by focusing on creating better access to new markets and customers, encouraging greater participation in the grading system, and making catalytic investments in key tourist attractions.The programme comprises:

  • A subsidy towards the costs incurred by tourism establishments to participate in trade exhibitions and marketing roadshows. This will include a capped reimbursement towards pre-determined expenses such as airfare, accommodation and exhibition fees for participation in marketing platforms supported by South African Tourism.
  • Support for owners of establishments who want to be graded by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa in the form of a structured system of retroactive discounts or rebates on the assessment fee for grading. This aims to make grading more affordable for smaller businesses, and encourage more establishments to become graded.
  • A pilot project to retrofit facilities at state-owned destinations and attractions such as World Heritage sites and National Botanical Gardens with renewable energy technology. This will guide the design of a programme to help make establishments, including those in the private sector, more environmentally sustainable.

The Tourism Incentive Programme supports the objectives of South Africa’s overall industrial policy, which includes creating jobs, building the local industrial base and transforming to a green economy.

Source: SA.info


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Committee appointed to review SA Tourism

SA Tourism, the entity responsible for marketing South Africa as a domestic and international destination is going to be extensively reviewed, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom has said.

SAnews.gov reports Hanekom has appointed a ministerial committee to review SA Tourism’s institutional alignment and strategic focus in the context of the broader public and private sector landscape for tourism marketing and tourism sector governance.

“The tourism sector operates in a dynamic and constantly changing environment. Technology is developing rapidly and is changing the way that we communicate and market ourselves, consumer preferences are evolving, and source markets are shifting,” Hanekom said.

“Continual change in the operating and market environment requires us to review how effective our organisational structures are to deliver against their mandates,” he said.

According to the report, tourism has been identified as a key sector with the potential to contribute to economic growth and sustainable employment in the National Development Plan.

Several tourism, marketing and governance experts are part of the review team: 

•    Mr Valli Moosa (Chairperson)
•    Dr Crispin Olver (Deputy Chairperson)
•    Mr Mavuso Msimang
•    Ms Kate Rivett Carnac
•    Dr Tanya Abrahamse
•    Ms Nunu Tshingila-Njeke
•    Ms Jeanine Pires

The panel’s analysis will include “a study of international best practice that guides tourism governance and marketing; the division of roles between national tourism administrations and destination marketing organisations, and key performance indicators of comparable destination marketing organisations”.
The review is expected to be completed by the end of April 2015. This will precede the appointment of a new Board which will assume duty on 1 June 2015.

Source: Traveller 24


 

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