S.Africa’s tourism industry in need of a boost - CNBC Africa

S.Africa’s tourism industry in need of a boost

Southern Africa

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The Twelve Apostles mountain range in Cape Town, South Africa.

“Last year, we hosted the South African Travel & Tourism Industry Conference (Sattic). What the summit is doing this year is basically taking the work of the Sattic and combining the work of the private sector at a national level with what is happening at public sector level, especially at provincial level,” Tourism Business Council of South Africa CEO Mmatšatši Ramawela told CNBC Africa.  

“In this summit, we’re collaborating with the Gauteng Tourism Authority, which brings a very important element. It’s one thing to do the discussion and this dialogue at a national level, and leave provincial structures out of the loop, yet tourism happens at a local level.”

Ramawela added that a number of issues in delivering sound service in the country’s tourism sector tended to occur at provincial and municipal levels.

Problems with water and electricity supply, for example, are at the core of delivering the South African experience. Those that delivered these services are also more at a municipal than national level.

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“We have the product, we’ve got the natural beauty, the hotels, that can stand up to the best in the world. All that we require is a warm welcome,” Ramawela explained.

“In the conference, we have [a case study] on Melbourne, how they are working  on domestic tourism to be able to get Australians to travel and experience the country, and how they’re getting the trade to bring in packages that make it more affordable for people to travel.”

Tourism Australia was recently recognised as the best in the world for state tourism and airline partnerships at the 2013 World Routes Awards conference.

The conference attracts up to 3,000 people from across the world from the airline and hospitality industry.

“One of the key things that we need to do as South Africans to open up more - more so because we are a long haul destination - is air connectivity and route development. We don’t have enough airlines coming to this country, and in this day and age airlines are the key to connecting a destination with the world,” said Ramawela. 

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