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Transformation not a scary word - tourism CEO

May 24 2017 20:39
Carin Smith

Cape Town - Transformation is not a scary word for the tourism industry, according to SA Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona.

"I focus on the business of tourism and the big thing for me is that transformation does not have to come at the cost of growth. There can be growth while new players are brought into the industry as well. Transformation is not a scary word for us," he told Fin24 at a networking event hosted by the Tourism Business Council of SA (TBCSA) at the Table Bay Hotel on Tuesday evening.

"We want to grow the contribution of the tourism industry to SA's gross domestic product (GDP) by growing visitor arrivals. This can be done in two ways: by exploring opportunities in existing core markets and also in new markets. In that way we can bring in new players to the SA tourism industry and expand the depth of visitors' experience in SA by also expanding the reach to more provinces. That will create a balance in the industry."

READ: Tourism Grading Council joins forces with HostEX

Mmatšatši Ramawela, CEO of the TBCSA, said at the event that the private sector is committed to work with government and the TBCSA supports government in its empowerment aims.

"We wake up in the morning thinking about how we can make money. Tourism is the new gold. It is the oxygen for attracting investors to SA," she said.

Partnerships are very important for the TBCSA, especially with municipalities, according to Ramawela.

Travel facilitation is another important issue she raised.

"Broadly speaking, I would like to see it being made easier for people who want to visit SA. We need to open Africa for people to travel here. At the same time we must unlock the barriers in the way of tourism businesses. We need to also remove things that add up to the cost of coming to SA," she said.

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