The National Department of Tourism (NDT) recently conducted inspections in Gauteng as part of an awareness campaign to encourage the use of registered tourist guides.
NDT Spokesperson Trevor Bloem said the inspections are part of an existing awareness campaign. "One of the major causes of illegal guiding is the lack of awareness about the legislation pertaining to tourist guide registration."
According to Bloem, the Tourism Bill, currently in its final phase in Parliament, contains legislation that impacts on tourist guiding. "Once the Tourism Bill becomes an Act the National Department of Tourism (NDT) will embark on new initiatives and programmes to emphasize the value of utilising registered tourist guides to ensure the safety of visitors, and a valuable experience," he said.
Johan van Biljon, Treasurer of Gauteng Guides Association (GGA), said the association welcomed the input of national government on this project. According to Biljon, only registered tourist guides may act as guides, but there are currently many people acting as guides that have no official training. "This is very detrimental to the country's image and gives the tourist an inferior experience of SA."
GGA launched a tourism monitoring project in 2011 where registered guides voluntarily speak to illegal guides about hot to get registered, Biljon said. He added that the association also followed up with establishments that continued to not comply with the regulations.
The GGA monitor group carried out joint operations with NDT in 2013 at the Union buildings and OR Tambo, said Biljjon. "We welcome NDT being part of and actually bringing some clout to this problem."
According to Fanie Terblanche of Pride Safaris & Tours, the GGA monitoring project identified tourist guides who falsified badges and ID cards in order to pose as registered guides. "The big issue is that at this stage only the national registrar can take legal action again illegal guiding," he said.
Jenny Briscoe, CEO at Gold Class Guides, pointed out that while unregistered tourist guides are an issue, there were also guides that had completed training last year, but not been issued with certificates by CATHSSETA. Without the certificates, these guides are unable to register, despite being qualified, Briscoe said.
According to Briscoe, there are also instances where tour managers from abroad act as tourist guides. "This is illegal because they are taking the bread and butter out of South African guides' mouths."
Briscoe also emphasised the need for the industry to make use of registered tour guides only. "The tourist guide is sometimes the only person who has an interaction with the tourist and its make or break," she said.
A meeting of minds redefining tourism in Africa. Introducing "TWO SHOWS ONE AFRICA", as INDABA and We Are Africa change the face of travel trade shows on the continent.
South African Tourism, the custodian of INDABA, is genuinely delighted to welcome and endorse the bespoke travel trade show We Are Africa, in a unique and exciting collaboration set to bring unprecedented business benefits to exhibitors, buyers, and the greater African tourism sector.
"The concept of TWO SHOWS ONE AFRICA is one of the most significant developments in African tourism ever," says South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Mr Thulani Nzima. "It's the natural outcome of a meeting of minds, and of the passion both organisations share for tourism growth to Africa. It's underpinned by our mutual commitment to add value to all exhibitors, and indeed to the entire travel and tourism ecosystem on the continent. It will ensure that select international buyers who come to do business at either trade show, get maximum return from both."
To illustrate the extent of the strategic alliance of TWO SHOWS ONE AFRICA, South African Tourism will be the title sponsor of We Are Africa taking place in Cape Town from May 5 to 8 next year just before INDABA. Moreover, We Are Africa and INDABA will collaborate to offer mutual exhibitors the best possible exposure to the best quality hosted buyer pool.
INDABA has earned its place as a Southern African institution in the industry, and one of the world's iconic travel trade shows. With the TWO SHOWS ONE AFRICA collaboration, INDABA will shortly have a We Are Africa senior representative on its advisory board, and reciprocally for a South African Tourism representative on the We Are Africa advisory board. Both parties are eager to navigate a more formal, long-term association; to capitalise on the opportunity of escalating the trade shows into the future together.
The TWO SHOWS ONE AFRICA collaboration is but one of the many profound changes - albeit it a hugely significant one - that will be introduced at INDABA 2014. Each upgrade to the show is being carefully considered against a deliberate roadmap to take INDABA to the next level.
A recent announcement that INDABA will be a three-day trade show brings it in line with global trends and best practice, respecting the busy schedules of both buyers and exhibitors. The inclusion of two exciting new meeting zones at INDABA; new TWO SHOWS ONE AFRICA combined digital platforms to facilitate seamless meetings; the addition of a premium exhibitor lounge; and of course a compelling invitation to all African destinations to exhibit at INDABA, TWO SHOWS ONE AFRICA is now solidly entrenched as the continent's premier tourism week invitation to the world.
Serge Dive, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Beyond Luxury Media Ltd, organisers of We Are Africa [also PURE Life Experiences in Marrakech and LE Miami] trade show, says while We Are Africa and INDABA have fundamentally different formats, they are united in their determination to drive tourist arrivals growth to Africa.
Where INDABA has represented the fabric of the Southern African travel trade and the breadth of the tourism sector for nearly 30 years, We Are Africa is a tight, exclusive community for niche, high-end luxury products who exhibit by invitation-only.
"We are effectively combining We Are Africa's exclusivity with INDABA's scale as a premier mass market tradeshow that attracts local and international buyers," Dive says. "We will keep each trade show distinct in its proposition, significantly increasing the value for chosen hosted buyers who attend both shows, and effectively doubling the exposure of mutual exhibitors to the world's premier international buyers."
"This offers indisputable evidence that Africa offers an immense variety of experiences and travel products; that the African continent is an extremely competitive, accessible and viable leisure travel choice; and that a spirit of collaborative teamwork drives our business."
Says Mr Nzima: "This alliance is the result of deliberate osmosis. Africa now represents the single most exciting tourism opportunity in the world. The TWO SHOWS ONE AFRICA concept delivers a modern, positive image of a continent that's already enjoying inbound tourism growth upward of seven percent. It's exciting. It's full of promise. And, we believe it offers a proposition that's impossible for the travel business world to resist."
We Are Africa takes place at the Cape Town Stadium from May 5 to 8. For more information, visit www.weareafricatravel.com.
INDABA 2014 takes place at the Durban International Convention Centre from May 10 to 12. For more information, visit www.indaba-southafrica.co.za.
Domestic travellers aren't likely to see airfares come down, even if new carriers should enter the market.
This is the word from Erik Venter, Chief Executive of Comair, who says a drop in airfares would not be sustainable.
Comair is expecting its profits to double when it announces its financial results this week. The airline indicated last week that earnings per share and headline earnings per share for the six months ended December 31, 2013 were expected to be between 32 and 35 cents per share. Comair's EPS for the same period in the previous year was 16,4 cents, when the company generated R262 million.
Fastjet has vowed to bring down domestic fares if the airline succeeds in entering the South African market. CEO, Ed Winter, says the current duopoly created by SAA and Comair is keeping airfares at an all-time high. "Prices went up by 35% after 1time fell. Fares are higher than they need to be and, in peak season, capacity is not there. For the South African consumer, a third airline would be a huge benefit."
However, Venter strongly disagrees: "Of course every start-up airline makes a lot of fuss about how it will sell cheaper tickets but the reality is that it is just not possible."
He says there is an 8% excess capacity in the market, partly created by the fact that domestic travel market has shrunk by 5%. "There is already strong competition for passengers between kulula and Mango, keeping prices as low as they can realistically be. The only way to get prices lower is to go bankrupt."
Venter says that in the last financial year, Comair made a profit of R46 per passenger. "Talk of reducing fares by 20% with the entrance of a new airline is nonsense. On an average fare of around R750, this would mean a reduction of R150 or, put differently, a loss of R104 per passenger."
Although the local travel industry has seen the crippling effect of high fares on the domestic travel market, industry players are also doubtful that a significant drop in airfares would be feasible. They are wary of yet another fare war that might result in bankrupt airlines and stranded passengers.
Chris Zweigenthal, Chief Executive of Aasa, says the ROE is indeed the main culprit for the soaring airfares. He says South Africa has seen a deterioration of about 15% of its currency. This has affected jet fuel cost, maintenance cost as well as distribution costs. Zweigenthal says a new entrant in the market would undoubtedly create a competitive market and bring fares down in the short term. Keeping fares down would, however, not be sustainable in the long run.
The Dutch and Swedish Postcode Lotteries have given a R232.2 million grant to Peace Parks Foundation to combat rhino poaching in Southern Africa.
The majority of the funding would be spent on enhancing existing efforts to protect rhino in South Africa, which hosts 83% of the continent's wild rhino population, the department said. The main focus will be the devaluation of the horns of live rhino, through a combination of methods, including the physical devaluation and contamination of the horn, as well as the use of tracking and monitoring technology.
In September 2012, Ezemvelo became the first state conservation agency in Africa to trial the treatment of rhino horn in KwaZulu Natal to deter the rampant poaching of this species. Not a single rhino has been lost in the reserves where the treatment was piloted.
The project will include intelligence gathering and technology applications, such as conservation drones and other specialist equipment, as well as training and capacity building.
"This is the largest single contribution made by the private sector to combat rhino poaching and wildlife crime. We welcome this public-private partnership to help ensure the survival of the species," said Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa. "This very generous donation gives new hope to save our rhino. I believe this grant from the Dutch and Swedish Postcode Lotteries will be the catalyst to turn the tide on rhino poaching and wildlife crime."
"Peace Parks Foundation was established in 1997 to assist the region's governments in their development of transfrontier conservation areas. Our biggest supporter in this endeavour has been the Dutch Postcode Lottery and more recently the Swedish Postcode Lottery," said Peace Parks Foundation CEO, Werner Myburgh. "We thank the lotteries and their players for this tremendous support to combat wildlife crime and we look forward to working with the southern African governments in ensuring the survival of the region's rhino."
The City of Tshwane has urged customers to pay their municipal accounts electronically, following strike action by the SA Post Office.
The city urged customers to register on its e-service, which is a secure online service that allows property owners, companies, property managing agents and tenants to register for free. Once registered, customers can view, download and pay for all utilities accounts electronically from the comfort of their homes.
This week, the City of Tshwane advised its customers of the city-wide delay in the posting of municipal accounts due to the on-going strike by post office employees.
There are several advantages offered by paying using the e-Tshwane service (www.e-tshwane.co.za) which include:
- Receiving an immediate confirmation of the payment instruction via the service, followed by proof of payment and a payment receipt once the payment has been confirmed successful by your bank;
- The proof of payment is saved in your payment history and is available to customers and the municipality in the event of any payment-related issues/disputes;
- Payments made via the service are reconciled and allocated against a customer's account, eliminating any possibility of incorrect allocations or lost payments; and
- Payments made via other facilities can take up to 14 days to reflect on your municipal account, whereas this delay is removed for payments made via the Tshwane service, eliminating the risk of unwanted actions by the municipality, even when you have paid.
Launched late last year, approximately 20 000 accounts have been registered to date with the number increasing daily.
"The city hopes that the post office strike will jolt customers to register for a speedy, efficient, better and hassle-free e-service," said the city on Friday.
The city reminded residents of their responsibility to pay their accounts even if no statement has been received.
Alternatively, residents can receive duplicate invoices at all City of Tshwane walk-in customer care centres. Invoices will only be emailed to residents if the City of Tshwane has their email addresses on record in the system, while SMS's will only be sent if customers have already given their cell phone numbers to the city.
"The City of Tshwane apologizes to all its customers who have been adversely affected by these delays," it said. -SAnews.gov.za
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Meetings Africa 2014, 24-26 February 2014, Johannesburg
ITB Berlin Convention, 5-9 March 2014, Berlin
WTTC Global Summit, 24-25 April 2014, China
IBTM Africa, 28-30 April 2014, Cape Town
International Luxury Travel Market Africa, 28-30 April 2014, Cape Town
World Travel Market Africa, 2-3 May 2014, Cape Town
Indaba 2014, 10-12 May 2014, Durban
6th Intl. Conference on Sustainable Tourism, 8-10 July, Croatia
Annual ICHRIE Summer Conference, 30 July - 1 August, USA
Hotel Investment Conference Africa, 14-16 September 2014, Johannesburg
ITB Asia, 29-31 October, Singapore
World Travel Market (WTM), 3-6 November, UK
UNESCO Forum on Global Citizenship Education (GCE), 2-4 December, Bangkok
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