NEWSLETTER - 22 September 2011

The Lions Have Arrived!

After many years of planning and anticipation the Dinokeng Big 5 Game Reserve is abuzz with exhilaration - the lions have finally arrived in the reserve!

According to Ettiene Toerien, Chairman of the Dinokeng Management Association, six lions have arrived at the Dinokeng Big 5 Game Reserve and two more are expected before the weekend. The lions, which originate from the Pilansberg and Welgevonden Game Reserves, are being kept in holding boma's for four to six weeks after which they will be released into the greater reserve area which holds more than enough plains game for the lion to feed on according to Toerien.

Toerien says that the time in the holding bomas gives the lions the opportunity to bond, adapt to their new environment and form prides before being released - the lions are divided into two groups of 2 males and 2 females each. The holding bomas have the same fencing as the perimeter fence of the reserve which allows the lions to discover, and learn to stay away from, the electric fencing which forms the boundary of the greater reserve area. The same fencing used on the perimeter of the reserve is also used for the bomas in order to allow time for testing of the fencing before the lions are released into the reserve. The lions are collared and will be tracked by satellite for at least a year to ensure that they are healthy and well settled within the greater reserve.

Toerien also confirmed that twelve elephants will arrive in the reserve in the 3rd week of October this year, the elephants are being relocated from Makalali near Hoedspruit in Mpumulanga. According to Toerien this will be the first time in over 100 years that lion and elephant roam free in the Gauteng province. The realisation of the Dinokeng Big 5 Game Reserve also makes Tshwane the only metro in the world with a big 5 game reserve within the metro boundaries. The official opening of the reserve takes place today, 22 September 2011 at Mongena Game Lodge within the reserve.

For more information please visit dinokengbig5.com, or e-mail reception@dinokenginfo.co.za or call 086 134 6653.

Congratulations to TTA Secretary

Vanessa Ngwana, TTA Secretary, graduated with her National Diploma in Public Relations Management from the Tshwane University of Technology, on 20 September 2011. Congratulations Vanessa!

Süd-Afrika Magazine's visit to the city

Tshwane had a visit from German tourism magazine Süd-Afrika last week. The journalist Nicole, was hosted by the TTA who arranged her visit and she will be writing an article on the city to appear in the magazine's December 2011 issue.

The tour took place between 12th - 15th of September 2011 and the TTA would like to thank the following members for contributing their time and effort to prepare for and assist with the visit:

  • Ilse Posselt - Freedom Park
  • Franco Jordaan - Court Classique Suite Hotel
  • Jaco Robbertse - Ulysses Tours & Safaris
  • Nelson - Timity Travel
  • Corne Grobler - Nuvo Cuisine Restaurant
  • Ntlotleng - Maropeng Visitor Centre And The Sterkfontein Caves
  • Lyzelle Van Der Merwe - City View Guesthouse
  • Dr. Arend Posthuma - Voortrekker Monument & Nature Reserve.
  • Earl Smith - Sa Lion Park (Pty)Ltd
  • Srinivas Venkatkumar - Arcadia Hotel
  • Charl Pretorious - Kwalata Game Reserve
  • Adrian Amod & Kgomotso Phoofolo - Dinokeng
  • Liza Posthumus - Kwathlano Tours & Transfer Services
  • Ben Rootman - Junxion Communication

Thank you also to all other stakeholders who offered their help and support. Although Nicole was not able to take up all offers we would like to encourage members to continue to participate in such initiatives which we hope to increase and extend more widely in future.

Joint travel and tourism conference postponed

Originally scheduled to take place from 23 to 25 October 2011, the joint travel and tourism industry conference has been postponed to next year.

The conference will be hosted by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) in collaboration with five of its member associations. These are the Association of South African Travel Agents (ASATA), the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (FEDHASA), the National Accommodation Association of South Africa (NAA-SA), the Southern African Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (SAVRALA) and the Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA).

Named the Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Conference Southern Africa, the event aims to combine the annual conferences of the TBCSA's member associations into a single platform where members can address industry specific issues as well as the challenges facing the entire industry.

"Central to our decision to postpone the conference is the current strained economic conditions in which business is operating," says Mmatšatši Marobe, CEO of the TBCSA.

Marobe explained that the current environment was not conducive for the industry to host an event of this nature. "The reality is that right now members are more concerned about keeping their businesses afloat and as associations it is important that we re-focus our resources where they are most needed," she says.

Michel Tatalias, CEO of SATSA concurred with Marobe's view and emphasised that the planning process for the event will still continue. "This postponement does not mean our preparations for the conference have come to a halt. Behind the scenes, we will still be working hard to ensure that we secure speakers of a high calibre and develop a compelling programme for the event."

"We do not want this event to be another industry 'talk shop', but a platform where delegates can walk away from with a strong sense of confidence about the future of the sector. We will be using the additional time afforded to us by this postponement to try and get more associations on board, to make this conference more reflective of the broader travel and tourism industry," Marobe adds.

It is envisioned that the Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Conference Southern Africa will take place in September 2012 and will form part of a bigger initiative to get private sector more involved in celebrating Tourism Month.

Source: SA Conference Directory

SANBI accredited as SA's National Implementing Entity for the UNFCCC Adaptation Fund

South Africa is the fifth country in the world to achieve accreditation for a National Implementing Entity (NIE) for the recently established Adaptation Fund of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The institution now accredited as NIE is the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). SANBI leads and coordinates research, and monitors and reports to government on the state of biodiversity in South Africa, amongst a range of activities including work on climate change and biodiversity. SANBI works closely with national climate change policy makers in government, and has recently led South Africa's Second National Communication to the UNFCCC.

The Adaptation Fund is a global fund of the UNFCCC's Kyoto Protocol, which supports adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries that are signatories to the Protocol. The Fund is financed from a 2% levy on Certified Emission Reduction issued for projects of the Clean Development Mechanism, and other sources of funding such as direct contributions. The Fund became fully operational on January 21 2011, with nearly $50 million worth of grants already approved in 2011. South Africa joins four other developing countries that have accredited NIEs (Jamaica, Uruguay, Senegal and Benin). NIEs are the key bodies that facilitate direct access to the International Adaptation Fund. This exciting new role for SANBI will be formally launched at COP17 in Durban, in December this year.

SANBI aims to carry out a full planning process with the assistance of the Department of Environmental Affairs, which is the National Designated Authority, in order to achieve maximum value through transparency, inclusivity and alignment with national adaptation imperative.

Dr. Guy Midgley, Chief Director of SANBI's Climate Change and Bio-Adaptation Division stated that "SANBI is excited by the prospect of fulfilling the function of NIE for climate change adaptation. The accreditation procedure is the first important milestone in the process of designing and putting into action an Implementing Entity that is responsive to South Africa's needs, informed by the best available scientific and socio-economic information required to prioritize key adaptation projects, and be inclusive and cognizant of a wide range of stakeholder and sectoral views and needs".

SANBI has been at the forefront of developing landscape based approaches to sustainable development and has played a key role over the past two decades in assessing the impacts of, and adaptation options, to climate change. Working through its partnerships and through South Africa's bioregional programmes, SANBI has built experience in developing effective collaboration across sectors and between government, civil society and the private sector - all of which will play a crucial part in developing successful adaptation programmes. In leading South Africa's Second National Communication to the UNFCCC, SANBI helped to develop a broad view of climate change vulnerabilities and adaptation options across key sectors.

SANBI CEO, Dr Tanya Abrahamse, stated that "SANBI is honoured to have achieved this accreditation. It demonstrates the extent to which we have engaged positively with the climate change challenges at home and abroad. SANBI's accreditation will not only strengthen the key role that biodiversity resilience plays in climate proofing the future, but will also bring sustainable development objectives and human wellbeing issues to the fore in pursuing effective and concrete adaptation responses for all relevant sectors in South Africa".

For more information, please contact Dr Guy Midgley on 082 569 2810 or 021 799 8707 and Ms Carmel Mbizvo 012 843 5259.

Launch of the National Minimum Standard for Responsible Tourism

South Africa helped pioneer many of the principles of Responsible Tourism. Now the country has embarked on the next chapter - standardising and formalising these principles.

Launching the National Minimum Standard for Responsible Tourism at the Featherbed Nature Reserve in Knysna on 12 September, Minister of Tourism, Mr Marthinus van Schalkwyk highlighted that Responsible Tourism is about creating better places for people to live in, and better places to visit. It therefore goes without saying that South Africa's natural environment is one of its greatest tourism resources, and therefore the tourism industry needs to be actively involved in conserving and protecting it.

The Minister said that the primary objective of the National Department of Tourism (NDT) is to retain the economic and social advantages of tourism development and growth while reducing the undesirable impacts on the natural, historic, cultural or social environment. "Through the application of responsible tourism practices, we will develop the tourism sector as a national priority in a sustainable and acceptable manner, integrating tourism to the broader social and economic processes in society" Minister emphasised.

The NDT commenced with a process of developing the National Minimum Standard for Responsible Tourism (NMSRT) in 2009 as part of its strategic objective of creating a sustainable tourism industry. South Africa was amongst the first countries to include "Responsible Tourism" in its national tourism policy, the 1996 White Paper on the Development and Promotion of Tourism in South Africa. Following the White Paper, the then Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) also produced the National Responsible Tourism Guidelines in 2002 which emphasised the need to address the triple bottom line of sustainable development (economic, environmental, and social sustainability).

The draft National Minimum Standard for Responsible Tourism was finalised by the department in 2010 where it later underwent a rigorous process through the South African Bureau of Standard (SABS) in order for it to become a South African National Standard (SANS). The draft was then subsequently published as a South African National Minimum Standard for Responsible Tourism (SANMSRT) on the 28 March 2011. The SANMSRT consists of 41 criteria, covering the core aspects of sustainability and divided into four categories, namely: sustainable operations and management; economic; environmental; and social and cultural. This standard serves three purposes:

  1. To establish a common understanding of the minimum criteria for responsible tourism;
  2. To promote responsible tourism in the tourism sector, including accommodation, hospitality, travel distribution system, as well as all organs of state and entities, organized labour and communities involved or interested in the tourism sector in South Africa; and
  3. To establish the minimum criteria for certification of the sustainability of organizations in the tourism sector.

The NMSRT will be utilised by tourism organisations such as Local Tourism Organisations or sector organisations to create awareness amongst their members about responsible tourism, and this document can be used as a benchmark for their members to work towards attaining the goals set by the national Responsible Tourism Guidelines of 2002. It can also be used by tourism businesses and organisations preparing for certification or simply evaluating the organisation's progress in respect of sustainability.

The Minister concluded in saying that the launch marks an important milestone in the promotion of responsible tourism and the raising of awareness amongst tourists on the value of conserving our natural resources for sustainability to ensure continued growth in the tourism industry for years to come.

Member News

Court Classique launches wedding offering
On 2 September 2011, the Court Classique Suite Hotel hosted a Spring Fling in celebration of Tourism Month, Spring Day and the launch of their new Classique Weddings offering. This boutique property offers a complete function & accommodation experience for bespoke weddings. With 58 suites and two exclusive function venues, the hotel can become your one stop wedding venue. Orange Restaurant can accommodate events for a maximum of 70 guests, the underground Wine Cellar has a capacity of 40 guests for cocktail event. Larger wedding receptions can be accommodated in marquis style on the grounds, for a maximum of 200 guests. Court Classique offers:

  • A dedicated event coordinator;
  • A free transfer to and from your church in Pretoria in a luxury vehicle;
  • Bridal Party dressing room (including snacks & sparkling wine)
  • Grooms' Party dressing room (including snacks & refreshments)
  • Preferred accommodation rates for all wedding guests.

For more information, please contact Monique Coetzee on monique@courtclassique.co.za.

Ulysses tours launches new day tour to the bush babies monkey sanctuary
The Bush Babies Sanctuary provides an environment where orphaned and abused monkeys (primates) are given freedom in a natural environment. The sanctuary is situated in one of the many kloofs (gorges) of the Magaliesberg Mountain Range and provides the perfect environment for monkeys from around the world. Visitors walk through indigenous forests with waterfalls and mountain springs on elevated wooden walkways. This wild forest is home to lemurs, bush babies and Spider, Squirrel, Capuchin and Vervet Monkeys. Besides the beautiful setting and educational experience the Sanctuary provides an insightful experience into the geological history of the Magaliesberg Mountains with a beautiful view of the Bushveld. This half-day tour is available 7 days a week. More information at www.ulysses.co.za or jaco@ulysses.co.za.

Guest House Association of Tshwane East (GATE) members get Facebook savvy!
On the 14th of September members from GATE joined the Centurion Accomodation Association for training on how to effectively use Facebook. The training took place at Arbez Home Lodge in Centurion and Disa Smuts and Lientjie Venter taught all present the finer details of managing your own Facebook page.

Upcoming industry conferences and exhibitions

The following conferences and exhibitions may be of interest:
TTA Members Meeting: Quality Assurance - Looking Tourism Straight in the Eye, Protea Hotel Capital, 4 October 2011
Environmental Management in Tourism Conference, Sandton Sun Conference Centre, 9 - 10 November 2011
Convention on Climate Change (COP17/CMP7), Durban, 28 November - 9 December 2011

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