NEWSLETTER - 27 September 2013

Feedback from Parliamentary Tourism Summit held on 17 & 18 September 2013

On 17 & 18 September TTA Board Member, Rosemary van Staden, represented the TTA at the tourism summit in parliament. Entitled "Removing Barriers for Tourism Growth to Fulfill the National Development Plan" the summit had an exciting program and you can read Rosemarie's feedback here:

Good day fellow TTA Members,

I am back, safe and sound after spending two exciting days in Parliament! It was almost winter all over again with both days being cold and rainy in the Cape of Good Hope.

Sadly the only speaker listed on the programme that was actually there in person, was Minister van Schalkwyk. The others (conveniently) chose to send replacements. Some speakers spoke longer than their allocated time slot which resulted in other speakers (that were actually really worth while listening to) not having enough time to finish what they had to say.

But...We now have the ear of the Director General of Cooperative Governance. They deal with the local governments. We requested that municipalities DO NOT see 'Tourism' products as the proverbial "low" hanging fruits but rather work together, understand what Tourism is about, understand the value of a Tourist and we suggested tax breaks as a possible incentive as opposed to taxation.

  • As Minister van Schalkwyk said, "Our competitors are not asleep. We are struggling to become number 1 in the world - we must improvise. All aspects of destinations need to improve."
  • Here are some highlights & important points of the Tourism Summit below:
  • We need to create jobs, expand infrastructure, improve quality of service and excellence
  • Sustainable tourism is very important
  • Domestic Tourism was very high on the agenda. On the domestic level the costs of flights are a problem. Airline capacity and tariffs are also a priority
  • Government needs a strong partnership with the private sector
  • Minister van Schalkwyk said that tourism is creating more jobs than the mining industry
  • Minister van Schalkwyk also mentioned that E-passports are around the corner
  • We need to create a tourism culture within the country
  • Challenges:
    1. Budget
    2. Poor infrastructure
    3. Skills
    4. Air flights
    5. Development
    6. Planning and marketing
    7. Transformation
    8. Geographical spread - marketing
    9. SMME development
    10. Innovation
    11. Funding
  • Small business needs international platforms
  • We need a model that is a benchmark of what other countries are doing
  • The municipalities are guilty of lack of sectorial planning
  • The local government need a paradigm shift - lack of capacity
  • Product offering needs improvement
  • Associations like TTA are well noticed and appreciated by Government!

And this was just a drop in the bucket...There's so much more!

All our recommendations were noted and put forward as resolutions going forward. The resolutions will be forwarded to us within a week as well as the presentations. The moment we receive the presentations they will be forwarded to you all. Prof Thandi Nzama said wise words that made a very big impression on me " We must attract new tourists and do our best to attract repeat visitors".

A big thank you must go to Shrinivas (Venkatkumar) who arranged a wonderful stay for me at the Capetonian Hotel.

And lastly; thank you very much to you all for entrusting me to represent the TTA in Parliament at the Tourism Summit! It was the experience of a lifetime!!

Kind regards,
Rosemarie van Staden
079 8494 662

Freedom Park hosts uBuntu walk in honor of Madiba

Freedom Park, the historic monument outside Pretoria, is inviting people from all walks of life to join the Walk for an Ubuntu Conscious South Africa, which is scheduled for Sunday 29 September 2013 at the Park. The event, being the highlight of national Heritage Month, is held in honour of former president Nelson Mandela and in recognition of his legacy.

Freedom Park CEO Fana Jiyane says it is Mr Mandela's exemplary leadership, great statesmanship and moral force that continue to inspire South Africans as they try to build a cohesive nation.

"As we prepare to celebrate our two decades of freedom, we must never forget that 20 years ago, South Africans were staring into a future marred by permanent civil strife which would have reduced our country to ashes and caused a great deal of suffering. It was the wisdom of leaders like Mr Mandela, underpinned by the values of Ubuntu, which enabled us to walk away from the precipice of a destructive war and to choose instead the path of reconciliation and peace", Jiyane says.

Mr Jiyane says Ubuntu is part of Africa's living heritage and the event is about reclaiming, restoring and celebrating this marvelous heritage. "South Africans suffer from a deep sense of woundedness and brokenness as a result of an unresolved painful past and disillusionment with the present. The event will bring hope and restoration by reminding us that we have the capacity to create a flourishing society founded on concern for the other, respect for the dignity of the human person, and the values of caring, kindness, honesty, compassion and love."

The walk aims to promote consciousness about Ubuntu. It will include a 3km public walk led by the Khoisan community passing on the uBuntu torch to youth leaders. There will be an official presentation, facilitated by former Manchester united goalkeeper and TV sport presenter Gary Bailey, which will include interfaith prayers, praise singing and cultural performances by all the diverse groups in the country. Popular artists Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Vicky Sampson will be among those providing live entertainment.

"Participants will write and draw uBuntu messages and symbols on a wide cloth canvass and hang uBuntu slogans on specially procured indigenous trees which will be planted in the park's Garden of Remembrance. Participants will also read an uBuntu declaration committing themselves to living uBuntu values. A framed copy of the uBuntu Vision will be handed over to representatives of Mr Mandela, the KhoiSan community and Freedom Park, as well as male and female youth-leaders", Jiyane says.

The event starts with a walk at 08h00 on Sunday morning. The official programme is scheduled to end 14h00, but entertainment will continue afterwards. Entry to the event and the park will be free of charge. Participants are advised to dress in casual or sportswear, and to bring chairs, picnic baskets, sunscreen and umbrellas for a family day of fun.

Gauteng Tourism accepted as UNWTO affiliate member

The Gauteng Tourism Authority (GTA) has been accepted as an affiliate member of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

"For us to be accepted as an affiliate member of this prestigious body is indeed great news for Gauteng city region," said Dawn Robertson, GTA CEO. "We believe that we will benefit immensely from connecting with this global alliance of non-governmental organisations in world tourism through various network opportunities and platforms in which tourism knowledge, innovation and expertise are exchanged."

"Our participation as an affiliate member in global non-governmental tourism forums will indeed provide us with a much bigger regional and global perspective in tourism development and management issues that can help us to be a more competitive and sustainable tourism destination," said Robertson.

"We will use this opportunity to learn from our counterparts and empower our various districts and cities in the province to cement our standing as the business tourism hub of Africa and South Africa with countless leisure offerings of note," she concluded.

Gauteng Tourism joins KZN Tourism, Cape Town Tourism and the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA), who are also affiliate members of UNTWO.


Corporate gifting & promotional item challenge

In keeping with its ethos of being eco-friendly and focussing on the relevant and delivering real value the CSIR ICC has even concentrated on the corporate gifts and promotional items it provides to ensure that they contribute to the living of the Centre's brand.

"In terms of relevance", says Bronwen Cadle de Ponte, Marketing & Sales Manager for the CSIR ICC, "everything we provide is related to our products and services or our clients' objectives. For instance, one of our key products is food therefore we give out herb seed packs, novel sprouting kits, spice sets and relevant kitchen equipment when we need to provide something for clients or stakeholders".

"In terms of being eco-friendly, all of our gifts or promo items either enhance the environment or do no damage to it in terms of manufacturing, sourcing distance or waste created. Everything we give out can be put to good use with very little or no waste afterward. Landfills and rubbish dumps are filled with discarded plastic promotional items which have been imported, leaving a hefty carbon footprint, from places as far as China and we want to change that trend", she says. The Spekboom plants given to delegates' conferencing at the CSIR ICC during Arbor week this year is a good example of a gift which is eco-friendly and also relevant to the ICC's unique selling point which is its location in a natural bush setting.

When the Centre needs to provide snack packs for travelling clients and conference delegates they choose to provide an eco-friendly recycled (& recyclable) cardboard box filled with local produce and traditional snacks to impress international visitors and a clever note to link the gift to the clients' situation.

The Convention Centre would like to challenge all other tourism businesses in Tshwane to make sure that any gifts they are giving out or promotional items they are using are relevant to their business, eco-friendly and locally sourced and support local communities.

Leriba Hotel and Spa puts the Fair Trade Tourism "Mark of a good holiday" next to their name

Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) is an NGO that operates the world's first and still only Fair Trade Tourism certification programme. The NGO with the bold pay-off line - "The Mark of A Good Holiday" - recently outsourced its certification programme to FLO-Cert. The FTT-certification programme is based on adherence to specific criteria including fair wages and working conditions, fair distribution of benefits, ethical business practice and respect for human rights, culture and the environment.

Fair Trade Tourism encourages and monitors fair and responsible practises in tourism establishments and activities. Its purpose is to create opportunities for business owners and employees of tourism businesses in developing countries to enter and trade in markets governed by fair practise and transparency. Added to this, it aims to afford tourists travelling to developing countries the opportunity to travel responsibly and engage with the communities in which they travel.

The Leriba Hotel and Spa, which is nestled on 12 hectares of indigenous forest on the banks of the Hennops River, is part of a growing family of tourism businesses that have passed the assessment criteria of Fair Trade Tourism.

Leriba's sustainable tourism initiatives include:

  • Hosting a number of tourism students each year for work and practical experience.
  • Providing ABET training to their own staff.
  • Using local and small suppliers extensively in their procurement process.
  • Receiving 100% for B-BBEE procurement.
  • Contributing significantly to community social investment (both financially and in-kind).
  • Obtaining a Gold Heritage Rating for their environmental practices, including waste management, water and energy consumption.
  • Making significant financial investment in environmental projects.
  • Ensuring excellent Health and Safety systems on site for guests and staff, including the number of staff who have valid First Aid and fire fighting certificates.

The hotel (with more than 100 species of indigenous plants and a wide variety of bird life) is surrounded by the green belt that boasts five acclaimed golf courses and Centurion Cricket stadium.

Leriba Hotel and Spa also boasts two full a la carte restaurants, namely Hemingway's Restaurant and Wine Cellar and Chapters Restaurant. The state of the art Spa and Wellness Centre offers visitors a luxurious taste of wild Africa, combined with the sophisticated pampering of a health spa.

Kathy Bergs, General Manager of FTT says, "Given that FTT is a Pretoria based organisation, we are thrilled with the certification of Leriba Hotel and Spa just "down the road" from us in Centurion! We look forward to collaborating with them on many events in the future".

Minister of Tourism Recognises the CSIR ICC Environmental Practices

The CSIR International Convention Centre (CSIR ICC) won the National Tourism Lilizela Award for best single resource - waste management.

The Lilizela Awards are aimed at recognising establishments in the tourism industry with best social, economic and environmental practices.

"We constantly lookout for innovative ways to curb any negative environmental footprint brought about by our business operations. Such recognition of our efforts by the Minister and his team is the affirmation we need to continue making a difference in our communities" says, Snedz, CSIR ICC Facilities Manager.

Having recently included a local Tshwane school in its community outreach project by providing them with waste management training, the CSIR ICC is clearly making huge sustainability strides in its industry and imparting its knowledge with communities in which it operates.

"What a great achievement for the CSIR ICC. First time entry, first time finalist and, first time winner! I'm proud of our team who have worked, and still are continuing to work tirelessly to ensure that we make a difference when it comes to taking care of our environment ", said Glenn Harding, CSIR ICC General Manager.

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