Johannesburg – The struggling tourism industry has recorded its highest performance growth in four years as a result of an increase in the number of domestic tourists who visited the country’s key attractions during the festive season.
The Tourism Business Council of SA (TBCSA) said yesterday that its figures for 2015 showed the industry grew more than 20 points in the fourth quarter compared with a similar period in 2014.
The council said the industry achieved a better-than-expected score of 106.5 points in the fourth quarter compared with an anticipated but more subdued score of 94.2 during the same period in 2014. But it warned that the outlook for the first quarter of 2016 would be slightly below the acceptable 100 level, falling to 94.2 points.
TBCSA chief executive Mmatsatsi Ramawela said domestic tourism had outperformed overseas visitors despite a weak exchange rate that could have served as a stimulus for inbound tourists.
Ramawela said the last months of the year had proved to be the money spinner for the industry. “The festive season is typically one of our busiest times, presenting the trade with the opportunity to do some good business when many people, particularly locals, take some time off to travel,” Ramawela said.
“After a tough three quarters of trade, we’ve been anxiously looking towards the festive period for some welcomed reprieve in the market.”
The tourism industry took a huge knock last year following the introduction of controversial visa regulations in June, which required among other things that foreigners who wanted to visit South Africa apply for visas in person at South African embassies abroad. The regulations also demanded that parents travelling in or out of South Africa with minors be in possession of an unabridged birth certificate.
A leading hotelier in Cape Town said yesterday that while it expected an increase in the number of foreign visitors at this time of the year, the bookings were low as potential tourists remained confused about the rules.
“We have not seen a high volume of bookings from our potential clients overseas,” said the hotelier, who refused to be named.
Cape Town – Transnet chief financial officer (CFO) Anoj Singh has been seconded to Eskom in the same role for six months, according to the state utility on Thursday.
Singh’s secondment is effective from 1 August 2015 and he will attend both the Eskom board of directors and the executive committee meetings, Eskom said in a statement.
“He will be responsible for driving all aspects of the company’s finance strategy, including the R250bn funding plan.”
On June 25, former Eskom finance director Tsholofelo Molefe resigned, after being suspended along with three other senior executives, including former CEO Tshediso Matona. He also resigned, along with executive for group capital Dan Marokane.
All the executives were on Wednesday cleared of any wrong doing, the Eskom board announced, after an inquiry into company was concluded. Eskom said the inquiry report was being finalised and would be shared with government in due course.
READ: Suspended Eskom execs cleared of wrongdoing
Singh will be primarily tasked with transforming the company’s finance function, aligning it with key strategic priorities of generation, funding and build programme, while enhancing the approach to tariff applications, Eskom said.
According to Eskom, Singh is a chartered accountant who has been Transnet’s CFO for the past six years. He led Transnet’s treasury operations, which saw the company raising billions in both domestic and international markets, Eskom said.
Singh has extensive experience in financial strategy development and execution, capital projects assurance, treasury, corporate finance, investor relations, tax and funding for regulated businesses, Eskom said.
It added that he has won several accolades in recognition of his outstanding performance and leadership. These include: Public CFO of the year award for two consecutive years in 2014 and 2015 respectively, Strategy Execution Award and Compliance and Governance Award, among others.
Before joining Transnet, he worked as an accountant at a listed company and as an auditor.