Travel Industry Review

SATSA BRAINSTORMS TRANSFORMATIONby Sarah Cornwell

THE SOUTHERN African Tourism Services Association has avoided a serious disruption with a leadership challenge put to bed after a landmark annual general meeting at Spier last month.

In-fighting had reached boiling point by the time of the conference. SATSA's executive committee said there was an ongoing challenge to the leadership by a group of concerned members, who demanded the existing committee be disbanded.

The association did not disclose the identities of the opposition group but a summary of voting showed the majority of members voted for the re-election of members of the NEC.

More than 200 members attended this year's AGM, themed Transformation for Inclusive Growth.

Chief Executive Officer David Frost told delegates the association wanted to provide a better understanding of transformation and was looking for practical solutions and product development.

Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa and South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer Sisa Ntshona pointed to the benefits of transformation to members.

She called on delegates to participate in coaching and mentorship programmes. The government "understands you are in business.. we want to create an enabling environment", she said.

The minister added the government had ambitious growth targets, based on the forecast by the UNWTO that the number of travellers from the Middle East and Africa would more than double by 2030.

Funding is in place to support entrepreneurs, the minister said, while the department's women's executive development programme would support another group of 20 inductees in 2018. That number could grow to 40 with the industry's support.

A tourism monitors security programme launched this month to promote awareness of the benefits of tourism amongst young people.

Mr Ntshona reaffirmed SA Tourism's 5-in-5 agenda, a strategy to target one-million domestic and four-million more international visitors by 2020. He said the new national I Do Tourism campaign was an attempt to coordinate government departments and revealed performance agreements had been signed with provincial departments.

Mr. Ntshona warned transformation without growth was impossible.