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Disruption of SA tourism will come from outside - CEO

Aug 02 2017 07:16
Carin Smith

Cape Town - What keeps him awake at night is that he believes disruption of the SA tourism industry will come from the outside, Sisa Ntshona, CEO of SA Tourism (SAT) told MBA students at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB).

He pointed out that globally there was a total of 1.2 billion arrivals in 2016 and this is the market from which SA's tourism industry must "fish".

"SA has a unique problem in that it has to try and include tha majority in the economy, whereas in other countries the challenge is to try and include minorities," he explained.

That is why he sees the tourism industry as a way of creating transformation, inclusivity as well as empowerment and sustainability.

"Tourism is a priority sector for SA's economic growth plans. The only way SA can get out of junk status is through trade and tourism can lead the way in this regard," he said.

It is important for him to look at spreading the beneficial tourism impact geographically to all provinces in SA.

"We have tended to profile the country as 'beach, berg, and bush' only and this makes it difficult to attract people to visit a second time," said Ntshona.

READ: Tourism is SA’s new gold rush

At the same time quality assurance is very important in the tourism industry.

He also wants a special focus on domestic tourism. It is lagging as 40% of South Africans polled said they cannot afford to travel, mainly due to unemployment. Many also indicated that they had no reason to travel.

"How do we get people to move and explore? We have so many tourism offerings. If people feel included they will start to protect the industry," he explained.

"Yes, there is room for growth, but at the same time we want inclusive growth. We want to start showcasing a suite of activities and offerings."

For him it is important not just to "sell a bed", but also an experience. This leaves space for more small business entrepreneurs to enter the tourism industry.

During a presentation by the MBA students, they shared that dynamic pricing rather than a dual pricing system should be used to address the affordability issue in SA.

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