A Western Cape hotel group has reduced its water consumption by more than 17% over the past year.
The Tsogo Sun hotel group has introduced a range of water-savings measures. Yesterday (4 September 2017) a visit was paid to the group’s SunSquare hotel in the Cape Town City Bowlby Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, and Anton Bredell, Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning.
The visit marked the official start of Minister Winde’s programme for Tourism Month.
Sunsquare has put the following water savings methods in place:
- Pressure valves on showers allow for a maximum flow of 8 litres per minute;
- Urinal sensors;
- Reduced pressure of hand wash basin taps;
- Back of house shower pressure valves allow a maximum flow of up to 3 litres;
- Extra hot water return line to provide hot water on demand;
- Sheets and towels are not changed unless requested by guests;
- No table cloths are used in restaurant;
- Linen serviettes replaced by paper serviettes;
- Building management system to alert high water usage, leaks etc.
This week the City of Cape Town instituted Level 5 restrictions and a further increase in pressure management. The upper limit of 87 litres per person and the overall target of 500 million litres per day of collective consumptions remain in place. The managers of commercial properties must, with immediate effect, ensure that their monthly consumption of the municipal supply of water is reduced by 20% compared with a year ago.
The average water level for dams across the Western Cape is 33.6%. Dam levels were at 61% for the corresponding period last year, towards the end of the province’s usual winter rainfall period.
Tsogo Sun’s Operations Director for the Cape region, John van Rooyen says, “Tsogo Sun is committed to saving water at its properties in Cape Town. Hotels in the group have introduced several measures to save water. These include installing aerators and flow restrictors on taps as well as low pressure shower heads.
“Staff members are also constantly monitoring water usage against certain targets through newly installed dashboards. The frequency of replacing linen and towels has also been reduced.
“Guests and staff are made aware of the water-saving measures introduced at the hotels, and asked to assist with using water sparingly, through various initiatives including posters displayed in public areas as well as awareness cards containing tips on how to save water that are handed to guests on check-in. Since implementing these water-savings measures, Tsogo Sun’s hotels in the Western Cape have decreased their water consumption by approximately 17.8%, amid increased occupancy levels.”
Garry Reed, general manager at the Southern Sun The Cullinan, highlighted some of these initiatives during the visit.
Minister Winde said: “Research has found that in developing countries, tourists use between three and eight times more water than residents. We know that water is key for economic growth, and central to many tourism experiences. This is why we need the tourism sector to partner with us to conserve water.
“It is important to celebrate business leaders in water savings like Tsogo Sun. You are helping us transfer this message to tourists. By showcasing these best practices, we are urging other establishments to follow your lead. This is a crisis and we need everyone to play a role in conserving water.”
Minister Winde encouraged the sector to sign the Western Cape Government’s draft Economic Sector Water Security Declaration.
Minister Bredell said: “We are seeing the very real effects of climate change. For the past 3 years, we have experienced below average rainfall. The City of Cape Town has its plan in place, and we will be getting all municipalities on board. All high-risk municipalities will go onto level 5 water restrictions. We’re also working with geo hydrologists to manage our groundwater.
“Recovering from this crisis is not going to be easy, but if we work together we can avoid Day Zero.
“We need to showcase and share best practices like Tsogo Sun, everyone must step up and do their bit to save water.”
Throughout the month, Minister Winde will be releasing brief profiles on business leaders who are saving water.
Highlights from Minister Winde’s programme for Tourism Month include:
First Thursday focus on tourism products in partnership with Wesgro
Date: Thursday, 7 September
Venue: 142 Long Street, Cape Town CBD
Time: from 5pm onwards
Khayelitsha-based Airbnb entrepreneurs growing tourism through tech
Date: Monday, 11 September
Opening of Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa
Date: Thursday, 14 September
Provincial Lilizela Awards
Date: Tuesday, 19 September
Journey to Service Excellence awards
Date: Tuesday, 26 September
Viewing of new Sunsquare City Bowl hotel
Date: Wednesday, 28 September
Source: Western Cape Government
BENGALURU: “Saving the tiger seems to be only focus. We need to move eco-tourism away from tigers,” said Dilip Kumar PJ, former director general of forests and special secretary, Union ministry of environment and forests.
Speaking at a consultation on Karnataka’s eco-tourism policy, Dilip said: “Ecotourism today seems to be about going to pristine forest areas and having a gala time. Some tourists even play loud music, thereby disturbing the wild animals. We need to provide visitors other forms of enjoyment like nature walks, treks and farm visits.”
The event saw stakeholders, including wildlife experts, entrepreneurs, resort owners, NGOs and bureaucrats, discuss ways to ensure better forest management. Introducing activities like treks and eco walks, and exploring new destinations will help, they said.
CB Ram Kumar, managing director, Our Native Village, Bengaluru, said over-exploitation of destinations can be avoided by monitoring visitors. “We can’t stop people from entering forests but we should be able to manage them,” he added.
Need better preparation to tackle fires
From MoneyWeb. Story by Unathi Sonwabile Henama, tourism lecturer at South Africa’s Tshwane University of Technology.
South Africa has strong political, economic, cultural and social ties with its former colonizer, the U.K.
The financial markets suffered in the aftermath of the historic referendum to leave the European Union. Brexit has implications for the South African economy, and South Africa must focus on what it can control.
South Africa has been experiencing a currency crisis with the rand losing value against major currencies. This has hurt economic growth. South Africa is likely to enter a recession as the economy won’t grow more than 1 percent this year.
South Africa imports more than it exports, and this has led to a huge trade deficit as a percentage of GDP. The economy depends on foreign direct investment to drive growth, in line with the country’s export-led economic policy. The economy is also suffering from job shedding in mining as commodities prices have plummeted, and labor costs have increased, increasing the cost of doing business. The rand’s weakness has increased the cost of living.
The rand’s value loss means that South Africa becomes much more attractive as a value-for-money destination. Tourism is an export product that is consumed at the destination, because it is a service that is simultaneously produced and consumed. This means that the majority of value addition can happen within the country, in contrast to exporting raw materials and importing the final product — so prevalent in the mining sector.
South Africa has adopted a flexible currency model, therefore when the rand loses value, it’s time to sell South Africa more.
Tourism is the only industry that has the ability and potential to create labor-intensive jobs that can change the gloomy reality of poverty. Tourism is the “new gold” — it produces more foreign exchange receipts than gold mining.
The U.K. is the No. 1 international inbound tourism market to South Africa according to Stats SA’s Tourism and Migration April 2016, with 18.4 percent of all tourists. The U.S. is No. 2. Europe as a whole produces 58.8 percent of tourists to South Africa.
South Africa is the third cheapest destination for U.K. tourists after Portugal and Bulgaria. Tourists can counter the decline in the South African economy.
By Mathias Ringa
The tourism industry in Kenya faces a glimmer of hope with increased international flight bookings for the summer season up by 27.7 per cent compared to last year, according to the latest data from ForwardKeys.
ForwardKeys, a global organization that monitors future travel patterns by analysing 14 million daily reservation transactions, indicates that bookings made for the beginning of May onwards show that nearly all the top African destinations are seeing a soar in international arrivals.
Namibia tops the list, up 31.2 per cent on the previous year, with Kenya in second place, up 27.7 per cent followed by South Africa with an increase of 21.6 per cent.
In a press statement, ForwardKeys Chief Executive Officer Olivier Jager said: “It’s clear that recent events have impacted travel to North African countries, especially Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia which are all showing a marked decline in tourist numbers.
“However, the picture in Sub-Saharan Africa has changed, with most countries showing very positive increases, such as Namibia, Kenya and South Africa.”
On Saturday, Kenya Tourism Board acting managing director, Jacinta Nzioka, confirmed that international flight bookings for the country had increased by more than 20 per cent.
She said bookings for summer July to October were on the rise due to improved security in the country and especially at the Coast.
Ms Nzioka explained that leading tour operators and travel agents from the traditional markets of Germany, UK, Italy, Switzerland and France were now selling Kenya in the wake of peace enjoyed in the country.
She also attributed the surge to the government’s reduction of park entry fees from Sh9,000 per international visitor to Sh6,000 and the waiving of visa fees for children below 16 years.
On the other hand, Ms Nzioka said the Sh1.2 billion charter incentive programme which was announced by the government last year had attracted some chartered airlines from Europe.
SOMETHING TO SMILE ABOUT
She noted that some charter airlines from Europe are expected to resume flights to Mombasa during the summer season thereby contributing to the rise.
Ms Nzioka said Tourism minister Najib Balala and the KTB team had been aggressively marketing the country in both traditional and emerging markets to help revive the sector.
She said the marketing campaigns were done in Germany, UK, Italy, France – among other source markets – to win back the confidence of leading sector players.
In an interview with the Nation on the sidelines of South African Travel Show, Indaba 2016 that began on Saturday in Durban, Ms Nzioka said KTB was also focusing on attracting tourists from Africa.
“We are participating in Indaba, which is the largest travel trade fair in Africa, so that we can woo more African holidaymakers to our country,” she said.
“We expect tourist arrivals from South Africa to increase by 20 per cent this year compared to 30,000 tourists last year.”
Karen Blixen Camp managing director Ronald Mutie, added that international tourist bookings for the summer season had jumped by over 20 per cent compared to last year.
He said the Camp had registered impressive bookings for the summer, mainly from Scandinavian countries: Denmark and Norway.
“We have also bookings from the US, UK and Australian markets, with the visitors coming to the country for safari,” he said.
Since March, several chartered airlines from Europe have entered deals with the government to resume flights to Mombasa during the Summer period and in return they will benefit from the charter incentives.
Lack of life-saving facilities and guards is putting at risk lives of thousands of tourists who visit prominent ecotourism destinations in the district.
Despite the continuing incidents of deaths due to drowning, cautionary boards to prevent entry of tourists to dangerous locations are yet to be put in place.
Seven persons, mostly youngsters, have lost their lives after falling into trenches in trekking areas close to Kakkayam and Peruvannamoozhi dam site in a short span of time. Even people who knew swimming could not save themselves after they fall into water-logged trenches. “Most of the dangerous passages are ignored by tourists who are new to the location and do not have any access to information on the dangerous topography,” says V. George, a resident of Koorachundu.
Beautiful but be warned
Kariyathumpara, one of the prominent ecotourism centres in the region known for its scenic beauty, witnessed the death of youth due to drowning on Friday.
Though some fencing works were done in the area to discourage tourists’ entry to unsafe locations, a guard to desist tourists from entering the dangerous sites was needed, people in the area said.
There is also the lack of facilities to provide basic life support in emergency situations. Tourists who are rescued have to depend on local taxi services from distant locations to take them to hospital. Panchayat authorities say an emergency service vehicle posted in the area could save a number of lives.
TANZANIA (eTN) – Wildlife and tourism stakeholders are skeptical about the Tanzanian government’s decision to abolish retention of funds, collected by wildlife conservation institutions, for other spending, saying the plan would kill the wildlife parks.
Conservationists from Tanzania’s capital city of Dar es salaam and the northern tourist city of Arusha saying that the government of Tanzania should stop meddling with conservation of wildlife by shelving retention of funds collected from tourists for other spending.
Comments from wildlife conservationists were aired after Tanzanian minister for Finance Mr. Phillip Mpango announced through the parliament a plan by his government to abolish retention scheme which allowed public institutions to bank the operational funds for own spending.
Under the new arrangement by the government of Tanzania, all public institutions, including the national parks, will be required to submit all park fee collections to the Ministry of Finance for retention under the central government control.
Conservationists fear that in this case the national parks and wild game reserves failing to execute their duties for lack adequate funding. Tanzania’s government had earlier allowed the wildlife conservation institutions to spend their own generated funds for strengthening anti-poaching operations.
Wildlife conservation institutions in Tanzania are the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) and Wildlife Division, which has been transformed to Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA).
Friends of wildlife conservation and tourist stakeholders have been worried to see the Tanzania’s government sucking the tourist fees, collected by wildlife parks, for other uses outside conservation activities.
An outspoken member of parliament Mr. Peter Serukamba warned the government over consequences ahead of its own decision to siphon funds from wildlife parks, a situation he said would kill the tourist parks through the lack of adequate funds for protecting the wildlife.
In Tanzania, all wildlife parks are managed by the government through the ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, but operating freely through collection of park entry fees collected from visitors, concessions, hunting and other fees remitted by visitors and companies operating inside the parks.
On the other side, Tanzania depends on foreign support for wildlife conservation activities.
Tanzania National Parks is the leading and biggest wildlife conservation institution, commanding and managing 16 parks, which stand as the leading tourist attraction and the source of tourist revenues approaching US$2 billion from 1.2 million tourists, as per recent statistics.
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.
For the third year running, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has published the Africa Tourism Monitor, an annual report on the tourism industry in Africa. This year’s report, a joint publication by the AfDB, New York University’s Africa House and the Africa Travel Association (ATA), is entitled “Unlocking Africa’s Tourism Potential”.
The report offers a comprehensive overview of the tourism sector in Africa, focusing on both opportunities and challenges. It features facts, figures and contributions from key tourism players across the continent, with tour operators, experts and industry representatives shedding light on key issues via a series of case studies.
Strong growth reflected in figures
One of the key findings of the report, as indicated in its introduction, is that the tourism sector in Africa is growing. In 2014, a total of 65.3 million international tourists visited the continent – around 200,000 more than in 2013. Back in 1990, Africa welcomed just 17.4 million visitors from abroad. The sector has therefore quadrupled in size in less than 15 years.
According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Africa’s strong performance in 2014 (up 4%) makes it one of the world’s fastest-growing tourist destinations, second only to Southeast Asia (up 6%).
Africa’s top 3 tourist destinations in 2014
Two North African countries top the list of most-visited countries in Africa. Egypt experienced the strongest growth in the sector in 2014, with 454,000 more international arrivals than in 2013, an increase of 5% in just one year. Second on the list is Morocco, which once again recorded more than 10 million incoming international tourists in 2014 – an increase of 236,000 when compared with the previous year. In third place is Côte d’Ivoire, in West Africa. The country is experiencing a strong economic recovery. Although it recorded “only” 91,000 more international arrivals in 2014 than in 2013, this figure represents a 24% rise in just 12 months. This double-digit growth provides yet further evidence of the country’s vast tourism potential.
This influx of tourists means more money coming into the continent. In 2014, Africa recorded US $43.6 billion in revenue. According to the UK’s World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the international tourism sector now accounts for 8.1% of Africa’s total GDP.
More tourists also mean more jobs. Across the continent, there are around 20 million people working directly or indirectly for the tourism industry. This means that the sector accounts for 7.1% of all jobs in Africa. Jobs supported by the sector include guides, hotel staff, interpreters, aviation staff and small businesses. Yet the economic impact of tourism extends beyond job creation.
The hospitality sector is experiencing particularly rapid growth and is expanding into new countries such as Mauritania, which have, until now, remained largely on the fringes. According to the report, it is Sub-Saharan Africa, rather than North Africa, that is benefiting most from the expansion of hotel chains and the corresponding increase in the number of available rooms. Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country, comes top of the rankings in this respect, followed by Egypt and Morocco. However, the biggest hotel development project in Sub-Saharan Africa can be found in Equatorial Guinea, in the Grand Hotel Oyala Kempinski, which, when complete, will feature 451 rooms.
A wealth of attractions and initiatives
Africa boasts a rich variety of attractions that draw in tourists from around the world. The continent has a wealth of archaeological sites and historic monuments, such as pyramids (Egypt), cave churches (Ethiopia), Robben Island (South Africa), Gorée Island (Senegal) and cave paintings (Tassili N’Ajjer in Algeria and Tsodilo in Botswana). It is also a place of stunning landscapes and scenery, boasting attractions such as Victoria Falls, the Sahara, Namib and Kalahari deserts, picturesque coastlines, mountains, plains, tropical rainforests and bush ecosystems – home to exceptional plants and wildlife and flourishing small businesses.
Recent years have seen the launch of numerous initiatives, across the continent, to attract more tourists. The report is particularly complimentary about recent simplifications to the visa system and regional cooperation mechanisms, including the introduction of the e-visa and the single visa scheme, enabling tourists to visit all Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states using just one visa. Other examples include the “KAZA” (Kavango Zambezi) common tourist visa developed by Zambia and Zimbabwe, and the single visa covering three countries (Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda) launched by the East African Community (EAC) in February 2014. According to the report, these visa simplification schemes and initiatives could boost tourism revenue and job creation by between 5% and 25%.
Vast potential yet to be fully exploited
Transport infrastructure and services is one of the key constraints limiting growth of the tourism sector. As the report indicates, “Journeys in the African continent are not always seamless”. In fact, it is more difficult – and more expensive – to travel across Africa than to get there from Europe, America or the Middle East.
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) launched its Tourism Action Plan back in 2004, with a view to developing sustainable tourism. This followed the ratification, in 2000, of the Yamoussoukro Decision (named after the city in Côte d’Ivoire where it was adopted in 1999), which aimed to open up the continent’s aviation sector to competition. More than a decade on, however, neither initiative has been fully implemented. Yet effective application of the Yamoussoukro Decision, also known as “Open Skies for Africa”, would alone create 155,000 new jobs and contribute US $1.3 billion to the continent’s GDP.
The report also points to other barriers to tourism sector development in Africa, including a lack of dedicated incentive policies, the need for closer regional cooperation, weaknesses in infrastructure and security problems.
Security issues have posed a particular problem for the sector since 2013, especially in North Africa, Mali and coastal regions of Kenya. The report indicates that, of the 80 countries for which travel warnings were issued by the US State Department, 30 were located in Africa. Moreover, although the 2013-2014 Ebola virus outbreak only affected West Africa, it created a climate of fear that spread to many other countries on the continent – even those far from the source of the outbreak.
Many of Africa’s iconic species – animals that attract tourists from across the globe – are on the brink of extinction. According to the report, poaching and the illegal trade in protected species have reached unprecedented levels. The authors call on African countries to recognise the economic value of their wildlife and to strengthen data production capacities in this area. The report goes on to explain that, as well as their effect on the economy, these illegal activities also have a damaging impact on biodiversity.
Although international tourism is on the rise in Africa, the continent currently accounts for just 5.8% of the world’s incoming tourists and 3.5% of global revenue in the sector. As such, the sector still has vast untapped potential – potential that, if exploited, could kick-start rapid economic growth.
Download a copy of Africa Tourism Monitor 2015 here.
For more in-depth facts and figures and a more detailed overview, including infographics, visit Tourism Data for Africa, an online portal developed by AfDB, New York University’s Africa House and ATA.
Next year may be a difficult one for the economy, with fears of Ebola, crime and terrorism keeping tourists away.
According to a survey by the GeoBranding Centre, in partnership with AIG Travel, travellers regard southern Africa to be as risky as Mexico and Central America.
Titled the Global Anxiety Audit, the report found “one in four global travellers ditched travel plans over safety concerns in 2015; Africa suffers most, with 53 percent of leisure tourists unwilling to go due to worries about personal safety and 46 percent fearful of diseases like Ebola”.
This is despite the fact Ebola has been eradicated and the outbreak affected only a handful of countries on the continent. Security is not much of a concern for American tourists. They, however, need compelling reasons to travel.
“A study of 2 000 travellers reveals US tourists are less concerned with crime and security in Africa versus those from Germany and the UK, but Americans are more in need of a ‘real reason to go’.”
All is not lost, though, as some travellers showed a desire to visit the southern tip of the continent.
The report states: “A notable 20 percent would like to visit southern Africa; word-of-mouth endorsements remain very positive about Africa overall; and worries about costs and flights are dwindling, making safety reassurance, compelling offers and unique experiences key to attracting visitors.”
Nigel Vere Nicoll, CEO of the African Travel and Tourism Association, said: “Africa has the best tourism product in the world, and for more reasons than people may think.
“We know of nowhere else in the world where you can get a good meal with wine for such a low cost as you can in South Africa; it is untouchable.”
The launch of a Donkey Tracking Route through the scenic Cederberg mountains has brought jobs and hope for the remote Western Cape community.
The final phase of the Department of Tourism’s developmental project was opened by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom in Wupperthal this week.
The department has established amenities that tie in with the hiking and outdoor lifestyle of tourists to the Cederberg.
Bridges and footbridges were constructed to improve access for tourists and campsites and backpackers lodges have been developed to provide overnight accommodation, and shaded picnic sites with fencing and animal gates were built. Tourism signage has also been improved.
Tourists can book rides on traditional donkey carts owned by members of local communities along the route, which provide a unique, eco-friendly way of experiencing the mountainous terrain. Increased tourism activity along the route will be a major economic boost for the community of Wupperthal, where most families in the village and surrounding areas depend on small scale farming for a living.
The launch formed part of the Department of Tourism’s Imbizo Focus Week. Minister Hanekom engaged with people from local communities.
“Tourists are attracted to South Africa not only as a destination with diverse sightseeing opportunities, but also to experience a different perspective. Wuppertal offers these experiences in great measure,” said Minister Hanekom at the launch.
“The unspoilt, rugged landscape lends itself to hiking and outdoor activities while the history, heritage and culture of the Moravian mission station offers a unique glimpse into rural South African life.”
Partners in the project include the Cederberg Municipality and the Moravian Church, who own the land on which some of the amenities have been established. West Coast Tourism and Cederberg Tourism will help the community to market their products. The assets and profits generated will be kept in a trust for the community.
Minister Hanekom urged the partners to continue working together towards expanding the opportunities that have been created.
“There are challenges that you face as a community but what you have in this Cederberg area is something unique and special, and it should be packaged and marketed to tourists so that the benefit to the community escalates. Only by taking hands in partnership can we overcome our challenges,” he said.
The Minister opened two backpacker lodges and handed over accommodation facilities for 62 tourists and 35 camping sites to the community.
The project has been designed to be socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. The Suurrug and Wupperthal lodges have solar energy power sources, making this the first “green tourism” project in the department’s Social Responsibility Implementation Programme.
Jobs created through construction of the facilities were funded by government’s Expanded Public Works Programme. Members of the community also benefitted from skills development and training to help them operate tourism-related businesses successfully.