NEWSLETTER - 12 June 2015

Tshwane Convention & Visitors Services Bureau (TCVSB) news

In the wake of the resignation of the former head of the City's TCVSB, Neliswa Nkane, Director for Destination Marketing at City of Tshwane, has been appointed as acting head of the Visitors Bureau.

The Visitors Bureau will, for now, fall under the City's Communication, Marketing & Events Department which is good news due to their market focus and experience.

Another member gets TripAdvisor Award!

Glen Marion Guesthouse is rated number one amongst the 313 guesthouses in the city listed on TripAdvisor. This has led to Glen Marion being awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for the second year running! Well done to Glen Marion!

The Association advises all accommodation members to list their properties on TripAdvisor to enhance the visibility of the city on this global marketing platform.

City features in prominent tourism publication

The TTA recently assisted Journalist Liezl Venter to compile an article on Business Events and new and renovated conference facilities in the city for Now Media and the resultant articles have featured in a number of their publications.

View the articles:

City Land Use Management By-law open for public participation

Please all note that the Land Use Management By–law which goes hand in hand with SPLUMA, is open for Public participation. This document will be critical as SPLUMA (Spatial Planning Land Use Management Act) will come into force on 1 July 2015 and give each Municipality the room to produce their own By-law.

The closing date for submissions is the 27 July 2015 (60 days). View the document (look on the right hand side of the page).

Local Government Tourism Conference feedback

The National Department of Tourism (NDT) recently hosted the Local Government Tourism Conference which took place on 30 – 31 March 2015.

The presentations are now available on the Department of Tourism's website. A report on the conference deliberations will be available at a later stage.

Responsible Tourism Seminar to take place in Tshwane

The fourth annual Responsible Tourism Seminar will take place in Pretoria on 25 June 2015. The seminar is a joint effort of the Sustainable Tourism Partnership Programme and Alive2Green, and aims to assist tourism stakeholders on the journey to sustainable tourism implementation.

Topics to be discussed include: South Africa's responsible tourism scorecard; conservation as a driver of tourism; operational sustainability (green hotels and resorts); and sustainable tourism as a driver of economic development. View more information.

Cyber Crime in hospitality establishments

The article below recently appeared in tourism related and other press. Ian van Vuuren, Tourism Safety Initiative Project Manager for TBCSA recommends placing a short summary of the below on your establishment's wifi login page:

Cyber criminals are getting increasingly smarter and finding sophisticated new ways to steal customers' data from hotel websites, front desks and sites, warns PwC. These cyber risks are influenced by the growing strategic importance of technology and increased value of intangible assets, such as guest information, created and managed on hotel technology platforms.

Over the years, hackers have been infiltrating hotel networks and have infected hotel-owned computers and guest computers with the aim of stealing personal and confidential information. PwC's hospitality and gaming industry warns that hotels offer ample opportunity for cyberattacks in the wake of increasing credit card transactions at check-in, as well as at hotel bars, restaurants and shops. "Each charge made at a spa, gift shop, bar or restaurant during the course of a guest's stay is another opportunity for cyber theft," says Nikki Forster, hospitality industry leader for PwC, Southern Africa. "For business travellers, access to fast and low-cost internet is a must have, but these Wi-Fi connections are not always secure. This is a security gap that cyber criminals are making use of."

Hotel networks have been attacked using mathematical techniques and crypto-analytical offensive capabilities. "This is usually done by hackers waiting for guests to check in and log on to the hotel Wi-Fi by usually submitting their room number and surname," explains Veneta Eftychis, senior manager of PwC Hospitality and Gaming Industry. "Thereafter the hotel guest gets tricked into downloading and installing a so-called backdoor file, which pretends to be an update for legitimate software."

The unsuspecting guest downloads a 'welcome package' only to infect his or her machine with spying software. Once on a network, the backdoor may be used further to download more advanced tools such as an advanced key logger. Downloaded software may also look for Twitter, Facebook and Google login credentials, as well as other private information.

"There are a number of safeguards that guests can put in place in order to mitigate the risks of attack," Eftychis says. These include, amongst others, updating antivirus software before leaving home; avoiding updating software or clicking files when not on trusted networks; and using a virtual private network (VPN) to establish an encrypted communication channel when accessing public or semi-public Wi-Fi.

"The impact of a cyberattack can be far-reaching and devastating," says Eftychis. Firstly, there is a financial impact when any type of computer security breach occurs. Costs can include forensic computer investigations to confirm the breach, and identify whose information has been put at risk. Other costs include credit or identity protection services for affected individuals, and crisis management and PR specialists to help mitigate the potential fallout from breach event.

Secondly, breach of cyber security can also impact a company's performance. Eftychis points out, recent breaches have had an impact on customer loyalty and store traffic, which has the potential to have a lasting impact on long-term profitability and share value.

Security breaches can also carry personal risk for hotel executives and board members. Attacks are drawing increased scrutiny from government regulators worldwide who want to ensure directors and officers are taking necessary steps to prevent breaches.

"Unfortunately cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated – to stem the tide hotels also need to stay proactive and put a strategy and incident response plan in place. As part of the plan, hotels should be aware of policies and processes relating to data breach, and educate staff on protocols," concludes Eftychis.

Upcoming industry conferences, exhibitions and events

See what hot entertainment is on in the city
Read the latest edition of the National Zoological Garden's online newsletter
Sustainability Week, 23-28 June 2015, CSIR Convention Centre
Hospitality Investment Conference Africa, 9-11 September 2015, Johannesburg
Red Bull X Fighters World Tour, 12 September 2015, Pretoria
Sports & Events Tourism Exchange, 27-29 October 2015, Pretoria
World Travel Market (WTM), 2-5 November 2015, London

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