Meeting Summary

The Committee met jointly with the Portfolio Committee on Health to get a briefing from the Consul- General of the People’s Republic of China on the impact of the Coronavirus and its implications on the tourism sector.

The Consul-General provided lawmakers with a snapshot of the timelines from when the virus first surfaced to where things were at present. China’s central government had placed a great deal of importance to prevent the spread of the epidemic from Wuhan and Hubei Province where it had originated. Since 22 January 2020 the flow of people from Wuhan and Hubei Province had been cut. All provinces had reduced the flow of people.

The Consul-General indicated that there was a decline in the number of cases. He gave credit to the efforts of the South African government for taking the appropriate strategies to deal with the risks of the virus spreading to this country.

The Consul-General stated that the virus had affected the Chinese and global economy. However, the Chinese government had measures to support industries to resume production.

Members appreciated the Chinese Consul General’s input. They felt that decisive leadership in China had given good direction. Members were interested to know what had caused the outbreak. The Consul-General was asked whether there were plans in the pipeline for the development of a preventative vaccine. Members asked if any South Africans had been affected and what special arrangements existed between SA and China around the transport of people between the two countries. Members were impressed by China’s poverty alleviation programme as well as with China’s plan to eradicate all poverty in China by 2020.

The National Registrar of Tourist Guides briefed the Committee on compliance with legislation and on programmes for tourist guides. The Committee was given insight into what defined a tour guide and that tour guides were classified into various categories, types and levels. A distinction was made between a National Registrar of Tourist Guides and Provincial Registrars of Tourist Guides. Their respective functions were elaborated upon. Some statistics around the tourist guiding profession was that in SA there were more than 13 000 registered tourist guides. As at 2018/19, 65% of all registered tourist guides were white whilst the remaining 35% were black. However, only 32% of all registered tourist guides were female with males dominating at 68%. Some challenges identified in achieving transformation in the tourist guiding sector included lack of employment and market access opportunities, seasonal nature of work and that the profession was driven by passion and not financial gain which posed a challenge of tourist guiding being a sustainable career. Skills development initiatives by the National Department of Tourism were elaborated upon which included language training in Mandarin as well as narrative development.

Members observed that over the past six months when the National Department of Tourism briefed the Committee there seemed to always be an area where things were lacking. SA was already 25 years into being a democracy yet goals that were set could not be met. It would seem as if a change in gear was needed. Members were concerned that the tourist guiding profession was still very much white dominated. Members of the EFF felt that the ANC Ruling Party was to blame for maintaining the status quo in the sector. The Committee too was partly to blame. From the figures provided members also observed that there seemed to be gender imbalances around tourist guides. It was a male dominated profession. Furthermore, no mention was made of Indians and Coloureds. SA was diverse. There needed to be representativity across all racial lines. Members appreciated the fact that tour guides needed to be accredited. However, members felt that at times at village level there were persons who could do a better job than an accredited tour guide. How could it be ensured that indigenous people were given opportunities? Indigenous people were able to provide authentic information about a particular area or village. The National Registrar of Tour Guides was asked how a company or person abroad would be able to check on the authenticity of guides that worked in SA. The Chairperson noted that the Committee had undertaken to intensify oversight on transformation. The Committee was to track transformation yearly from September to September. In September 2020 the Committee would check on transformation progress in the sector.

The Chairperson stated that the initial intention of the Committee had been to have a meeting at the Chinese Consul General’s premises but it was decided that it was best to hold the meeting in Parliament.

Dr Sibongiseni Dlomo, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, co-chaired this part of the meeting and expressed appreciation for being invited alongside other members of his committee. He however apologised for the absence of most of his members as many were not able to get flights into Cape Town.

Oral presentation by the Consul General of Peoples Republic of China based in Cape Town on the NCP (Corona Virus) and the implications for tourism
Mr Lin Jing, Consul General, Peoples Republic of China, was pleased to brief the Committee on the latest developments around the Coronavirus. The latest figures were that there were 77 780 confirmed cases. There were 27 377 patients that had been cured and discharged. However, there were still 2 224 suspected cases. The death toll currently sat at 2 666. In as much as one was speaking about an epidemic, he pointed out that the numbers were speaking to many positive things. There were only nine newly confirmed cases. Across the 24 provinces there were no new confirmed cases and this included Beijing and Shanghai. He assured the Committee that the situation had improved. Many provinces had downgraded their class of responses to emergencies. Eight provinces had downgraded their class of responses from first class to second or third class responses. Even more provinces, autonomous regions and municipal cities would be downgrading their class of responses.

The proper term for the Coronavirus was Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (NCP). NCP had become a worldwide issue and had spread to 25 countries. South Korea had 893 confirmed cases with the death toll sitting at nine. The Diamond Princess Cruise liner whilst at sea had 691 confirmed cases with four deaths. In Italy there were 222 confirmed cases with seven deaths. In Japan there were 159 confirmed cases with one death. In Singapore there were 90 confirmed cases with zero deaths. Iran had 61 confirmed cases with twelve deaths. The United States of America (USA) had 53 confirmed cases with zero deaths. Thailand too had zero deaths after having 35 confirmed cases. Africa and SA had been lucky with no confirmed cases as yet. Things were vigilantly watched in Africa and SA by Chinese officials as to whether NCP had reached these shores. At the end of January 2020, a tourist group from Madagascar had planned to come to SA but were ultimately convinced to cancel their trip. Two months ago a tourist group from Beijing’s leader showed signs of a fever. They were examined at Tygerberg Hospital and cleared.

He gave much credit to the efforts of the South African government and its departments including the Portfolio Committees on Tourism and Health for the appropriate strategies to deal with the risks of the NCP spreading to its shores. He conceded that in as much as things were seemingly under control one had to continue to be vigilant. There had been much speculation in the media around how the NCP had evolved and how it had become a nationwide/worldwide issue. The simple facts were that many allegations were being flung around. Most of the accusations came from American politicians around the Chinese government not being transparent enough around the NCP issue. The accusations were groundless and malicious. He continued with background on the outbreak.

The first case was reported in Wuhan in early December 2019. NCP was a completely new disease. It was still not clear how the virus had evolved. What was also not clear was what the mechanism for transmission was or how it mutated. Only at the end of December 2019 were people at a seafood market diagnosed with NCP. On 29 December 2019 the matter was reported to the National Health Commission. The National Disease Centre responded and undertook an investigation. By 1 January 2020 all patients originated from the seafood market. On 8 January 2020 the NCP was identified. On 10 January 2020 the Chinese health authorities contacted the World Health Organisation (WHO). Throughout the entire process a good job had been done. There were accusations that response times had been too slow. The reality was that it was a new virus and that time was needed to investigate. He conceded that there had been shortcomings on prevention, on the emergency system and in the manner that some leaderships had responded. Leaderships in Wuhan and in the Hubei Province had been replaced.

On 7 January 2020, President Xi Jinping convened a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Central Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China. It was the highest leadership group in China and consisted of seven members. The leadership group met regularly to discuss issues and to make decisions. Each member had a right to vote but most of the time decisions were made by consensus. During that meeting, President Jinping put in a request to deal with the NCP matter. Two days ago President Jinping presided over a meeting with around 170 delegates from provinces, departments etc to remobilise and redeploy on the NCP epidemic.

China’s central government had placed a great deal of importance to prevent the spread of the epidemic from Wuhan and Hubei Province. It was in these areas where the fight was on. More than 330 medical teams, 41 000 doctors and nurses had been deployed in Wuhan and in the Hubei Province. Two makeshift hospitals had been built in 10 days and 14 days respectively. There were however only 2500 beds available. Subsequently 13 000 beds were made available. Many shortcomings had been overcome. The idea was to prevent the spread of the NCP. At the peak of the epidemic all provinces, autonomous territories and municipal cities had stepped up responses. Lots of measures had been put in place. Since 22 January 2020 the flow of people from Wuhan and Hubei Province had been cut. All provinces reduced the flow of people. The Chinese Spring holiday should have ended on 30 January 2020 but was extended until 2 February 2020. Each community had strict measures in place to monitor health issues of the community. This was to ensure that no person was infected by the virus. He noted that the spread of the epidemic had initially been contained. He was pleased to announce that there was a decline in the number of cases and a decline in the daily number of cases in provinces. There was an increase in number of newly cured. To date there were no new cases in 24 provinces.

He pointed out that before and after the Chinese Spring Festival there would be a migration of people to celebrate New Year. The Chinese Transport Department’s figures showed that 220m people would go back to work by the end of February 2020. There would be a 100m more by the end of March 2020. The concern with this grand domestic migration was that it increased the risk of the virus spreading. It was a tremendous challenge to ensure that this migration took place without the virus spreading. He conceded that the NCP affected the Chinese economy as well as the global economy. The economic structure of China was now different compared to when SARS Virus broke out in 2003. Tourism was huge in China today. Back in 2003 the manufacturing industry was huge. At present in China the service sector contributed to half of China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The middle class in China were on the rise and were enjoying things like tourism, sport etc. However, NCP had affected tourism greatly.

He emphasised that 2020 was an important year in China’s efforts to build a moderately prosperous society. By the end of 2020 China aimed to eradicate poverty in the country. Over the past 41 years China had lifted 850m people out of poverty. There were still 5.5m under poverty and efforts had to halt when the NCP outbreak hit. Many projects had to stop. A strategy was needed for poverty alleviation as the challenge was now bigger due to the outbreak. Some people became poor again. Central and local government was providing more support. By the end of 2020 poverty in China would be wiped out. Resumption of production was important in order for Chinese to make a living. In low risk areas production would be resumed. There were no new cases. In medium risk areas there was a downgrade of emergency classes which meant that peoples’ lives could go back to normal. In high risk areas the focus would still be on epidemic control. The Chinese government had measures to support industries to resume production. There would be strengthening of means to stabilise employment. The Chinese government was looking at issues of employment, foreign investment, domestic investments etc. Of priority was job creation in six critical sectors that government had identified. New graduates had to be absorbed in the labour force. In China there were 291m migrant workers (rural to urban migration). The smooth operation of supply chain of foreign trade was important. The Hubei Province being in Central China was key to supply chain. However, it was also the epicentre of the NCP outbreak. Supply chain was therefore affected. Efforts were made to stabilise industrial and supply chain. Export tax rebates were granted as a tool to stabilise exports. This was to ease the burden for foreign trade industries. Financial, monetary and tax policies were put in place to normalise business in China. He felt that in order for China to eradicate poverty a higher growth rate was needed.

Discussion
The Chairperson stated that having a goal of eradicating poverty by 2020 was important.

Ms M Gomba (ANC) asked whether there were plans to develop a preventative vaccine.

Mr Jing said that the development of drugs or vaccines was time consuming. It was a key issue for the WHO. The time had been too short for a vaccine to be developed. Hospitals in China had used the plasma of cured patients to treat the more severe cases. Efforts were being made but it was still early days.

Mr H Gumbi (DA) observed that the response and measures taken by China must have cost a great deal. The presentation had touched on work that had been done with Africa and SA. What specific work was done? He pointed out that there were countries that had taken measures to protect their citizens by not allowing Chinese into their countries. What arrangements were made by SA and China regarding the transport of persons between the two countries especially around airline flights?

Mr Jing said that measures had been put in place to ensure that Africa and SA was virus free. The SA government had taken appropriate measures. When possible cases arose people were sent to be tested. SA’s government had identified eleven hospitals where possible victims could be treated. On transport, some airlines had cut flights to China. Ethiopian Airlines was still operating normally. China Airlines was also operating as usual. Flights between SA and China were more or less the same as before the epidemic. He stated that the cost of fighting the epidemic was about how well China was able to respond to the epidemic. China would for the future look at lessons learnt. The modernisation of China’s governance system was important. Top officials were removed where needed. Failures in carrying out their duties could not be excused. The economic cost of the outbreak was huge. It was a test of China’s system.

Mr K Sithole (IFP) asked how safe it was to visit China at present. If 5.5m people were affected by poverty in China, what was the country’s total population size? He was concerned about the safety of South Africans working and living in China.

Mr Jing said that across 24 provinces there had been no new cases reported. One had to be patient to see how things turned out. At the end of 2019 the population was over 1.4bn and there were still 5.5m people living in poverty. By the end of 2020 all poverty in China would be eradicated. On the numbers of South Africans in China there were around 3000.There were around 500 South Africans in Wuhan. Less than 20 foreigners in China had been affected by the NCP. Thus far there had been no reports of South Africans being affected.

Mr P Moteka (EFF) said that decisive leadership in China had given good direction. How many provinces were there in China and how many of them were affected by the NCP. What had caused the outbreak of the NCP? He felt that the cause could be neutral, political or even man-made. There could be people or counties in the world that were not too chuffed about China’s progression. He was impressed by China’s poverty alleviation programme. What were the key things in the programme that made things happen? SA was still grappling with poverty alleviation. As a matter of fact, he felt that SA was regressing on poverty alleviation. SA could learn much from China around eradicating poverty. He was impressed about China being confident in eradicating all forms of poverty in China by the end of 2020.

Mr Jing explained that Wuhan was the capital of Hubei Province. Hubei Province was the transport hub and was found in central China. Wuhan itself had a population of 11m, hence the acute spread of the virus. As yet the mechanism for transmission of the NCP was unknown. As a precaution, it was best to cover one’s eyes, mouth and nose. On poverty alleviation, he explained that China had targeted poverty alleviation programmes. Each and every household would be targeted. Factors that were taken into consideration were for instance what had caused the poverty. If an area had transport issues, then roads would be built. Technical advice was offered where it was needed. Many villagers had been lifted out of poverty. Lack of education could be another reason for poverty. Hence people would be educated. In some instances, entire villages would be relocated. It was a monumental task which required collateral facilities to be in place.

Ms T Xego (ANC) asked which age group was most affected by the NCP. Did China have much experience in managing killer diseases? She asked what medical experts in China were saying around a cure for NCP. How did China communicate with Chinese living in SA in trying to convince them not to visit China even if they were homesick?

Mr Jing explained that since the outbreak, China’s central and local governments had a policy to take care of its foreign friends. He was aware that due to restrictions people would feel uneasy. Local authorities were on hand to provide support. Some people would be eager to return to SA. China agreed with the WHO measures implemented. The USA had banned visits to China and had evacuated citizens. The Chinese government cooperated if a country wished to evacuate its citizens. The evacuations, partly, were how the virus had spread. The Chinese government respected the choice of foreign governments to evacuate its citizens. It was best to stay in China. China had the facilities, the measures in place and the treatments that were needed. The NCP affected different ages differently. The old suffered more. With the Severe Acute Respiratory System (SARS) Virus, the young suffered the most. The NCP however had a lower mortality rate than the H1N1 Virus. With the NCP, 80% of victims could cure themselves. There were those who had to get treatment with 5% of cases being severe. In Wuhan the oldest cured patient was 97 years old. The youngest patient was one-year-old. How the virus had evolved was still under investigation. The Chinese staying in SA did not have problems. Those who had gone to China were advised to self-quarantine for 14 days when they returned to SA. As a matter of interest, the number of Chinese living in Cape Town had increased from 20 000 to 30 000. If any of them had returned from a visit to China, they were advised to quarantine themselves for fourteen days.

Ms L Makhubela-Mashele (ANC) appreciated the comprehensive presentation on the NCP. She added that the factual statistics provided were confirmed by the WHO. In areas that were hard hit by the virus she asked whether China had quantified how many South Africans in China had been affected. Had the Chinese government reassured foreigners which included South Africans that had been quarantined. Were South Africans in China being supported and reassured? This was necessary since a person’s movement was restricted. How many South Africans were there? She nevertheless felt that China had done good work around the NCP.

Mr T Munyai (ANC)(Portfolio Committee on Health) said that he had no questions but wished to comment. He proposed a moment of silence for those who had died due to NCP. From the Portfolio Committee on Health’s point of view, there was no doubt about China being able to contain the virus. China was a very capable country. China had the most persons with PhDs (Doctor of Philosophy) – the number was more than the rest of the world combined. He wished to extend a message of support to China’s top leadership. He was aware that there were some in the world who wished to play political games. China was however up to the task and had taken practical action. He noted that one should not focus at present on the causes of the virus but rather on fighting the epidemic. What practical measures could SA support China with? Face masks were perhaps an item which SA could manufacture and supply to China.

Mr Jing responded that SA had already provided China with material and moral support. Medical masks had been donated to China and there was a South African PhD academic who had studied in China that had written a newspaper article about the outbreak that had greatly assisted.

The Chairperson, from a tourism perspective, said that the numbers of Chinese tourists coming to SA had decreased. The numbers of South Africans travelling to China had also dropped. He asked whether the Committee could be provided with exact figures. He further asked about China’s recovery plan post the NCP. Was such a plan being worked on? Another issue for China to deal with was global perceptions of China and its people. He was convinced that there would be an economic impact. What was China’s plan to deal with it? He asked whether redirecting doctors and medical staff to Wuhan and to Hubei Province did not affect health services elsewhere.

Mr Jing conceded that the numbers of Chinese tourists coming to SA for 2019 were much lower than previous years. He explained that post the NCP pandemic there were many things that needed to be looked at. These included disease control, prevention systems and also international control systems. On perceptions around China he said that one needed to schedule another meeting to cover that topic.

Dr Dhlomo stated that if China was not as prepared as it was then the death toll would have been much higher. There were lessons that SA could learn from the Chinese experience. Fears needed to be allayed. The NCP was a new epidemic which required that the movement of citizens be limited. In SA, at present there were ten deaths daily due to Tuberculosis and HIV combined. There were also fifteen deaths daily due to hypertension and diabetes combined. As a precautionary measure at South African ports of entry people were examined for signs of NCP. To date no cases were found in SA. China was doing well in containing NCP. South Africans need to worry about Tuberculosis and Cancer.

The Chairperson extended a thank you to Mr Jing. There was a message of positivity between SA and China. There was a continuous call to intensify solidarity work not only on the NCP. The lives of people should be prioritised beyond profit maximisation. Nowhere in the presentation had China lamented the loss of billions of rands due to the NCP outbreak. Nor was anything said about the budget of China being out of control. There would be continuous interaction between the Committee, the Portfolio Committee on Health and the Consul General’s Office. He urged media present to reflect the sentiments of the meeting that the predominant narrative must be positive. This did not however mean that negatives needed to be hidden. He on behalf of the Committee commended the Chinese government on a job well done in preventing a possible catastrophe throughout the world.

Briefing on compliance with legislation and on programmes for tourist guides
Ms Morongoe Ramphele, National Registrar of Tour Guides and Deputy Director General: Tourism Sector Support Services, National Department of Tourism, stated that the Tourism Act, 2014 defined the scope of guiding and provided a framework for the conduct and governance of the tourism guiding profession. A Tourism Amendment Bill was in the pipeline and once it was dealt with regulations would be considered.

The Committee was given insight into what defined a tour guide and that tour guides were classified into various categories, types and levels. The functions of Registrars of Tourist Guides were elaborated upon. The distinction was firstly made between a National Registrar and Provincial Registrars. The functions of the National Registrar included maintaining a central data base of tourist guides and preparing codes of conduct & ethics. Provincial Registrars too had to keep a register of tourist guides and was also tasked with dealing with complaints and exercising disciplinary powers. The Committee was provided with insight into some of the sections of the Tourism Act that was applicable to tourist guides ie Sections 56, 57, 58 and 59. The briefing continued with statistics around the tourist guiding profession. In SA there were more than 13 000 registered tourist guides. On demographics, as at 2018/19, 65% of all registered tourist guides were white whilst the remaining 35% were black. However, only 32% of all registered tourist guides were female with males dominating at 68%. Some challenges identified in achieving transformation in the tourist guiding sector included lack of employment and market access opportunities, seasonal nature of work and that the profession was driven by passion and not financial gain which posed a challenge of tourist guiding being a sustainable career. Skills development initiatives by the National Department of Tourism were elaborated upon. On new entrants approximately 110 tourist guides from previously disadvantaged backgrounds were given opportunities to enter the guiding sector through a range of training programmes. 120 tourist guides had been up-skilled since the inception of up-skilling three years ago. Currently, the National Department of Tourism was language training twenty existing tourist guides in Mandarin. Due to inconsistencies in the manner in which information was provided to visitors and tourists the National Department of Tourism had also embarked on efforts around narrative development. Members were provided with some detail around awareness programmes relating to tourist guiding. These included the Lilizela Tourism Awards where excellence in tourist guiding was recognised.

Discussion
Ms Makhubela-Mashele understood that there were criteria that had to be met for tour guides to be accredited. However, at village level there were persons who could do a better job than an accredited tour guide. How could it be ensured that indigenous people got such opportunities? Indigenous people provided authentic information about a particular area or village.

Ms Ramphele was aware of the importance of indigenous knowledge that locals had which included story telling. The National Department of Tourism had partnered with the University of Pretoria on indigenous storytelling. Indigenous people had to tell their stories.

Mr Z Peter (ANC) observed that over the past six months when the Department of Tourism briefed the Committee there seemed to always be an area where things were lacking. We were already 25 years into our democracy, why could goals that were set not met? It would seem as if a change in gear was needed. Goals seemed not to be reached. In the previous presentation members were told how China met its goals.

Mr Moteka observed that the tourist guide sector was dominated by whites (slide 9). He said that whites could not be blamed. He blamed the ANC government for maintaining the status quo in the sector. It was also the Committee who was useless in not taking any action.

Ms Ramphele responded that the tourist guiding was a voluntary profession. The Department of Tourism had no control over it. The numbers that were seen were of those who had a passion and love for the profession. The NDT would play catch-up to get the numbers right. Efforts were made to up-skill the previously disadvantaged.

Mr Gumbi appreciated that twenty tour guides were being trained in Mandarin. What about training in French, Spanish or Portuguese? There were large amounts of people travelling to SA be it for pleasure or business who spoke the aforementioned languages. How would a company or person abroad check on the authenticity of guides that were in SA?

Ms Ramphele said that the Mandarin training was accredited. Guiding was for people who had a passion for it. Young persons were targeted. Old persons could act as mentors. There was a database of tour guides which was extensive as far as foreign languages were concerned. The Mandarin training was to close the gap. There were plans for training in German, French and Italian to take place. At present there was a shortage of these types of guides. She pointed out that the central point for information of guides was the National Department of Tourism. The intention was to consolidate guide information from provinces. Some provinces were better equipped than others. Information could be obtained from various platforms, websites and applications (apps). She conceded that there were challenges around data integrity.

Ms Gomba said that the aim for SA was to address poverty, inequality and unemployment. On tourist guides there seemed to be gender imbalances (slide 9). No mention was also made of Indians and Coloureds. There needed to be representativity across all racial lines.

Ms Ramphele on representativity reiterated that there was a database of tour guides with guides from various backgrounds.

The Chairperson noted that the Committee had agreed to intensify oversight on transformation. Transformation was to be tracked yearly from September to September. In September 2020 the Committee would check on progress.

Committee Minutes
Minutes dated 3 December 2019, 4 and 18 February 2020 were adopted unamended.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

Source: https://pmg.org.za/

Little is known about where the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will take the tourism industry globally, or indeed what the full impact of 4IR will be.

Tourism was one of the first sectors to digitalise business processes on a global scale, according to research from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The tourism industry brought flight and hotel bookings online, and the sector became a digital pioneer. As information and communications technology became a worldwide phenomenon, tourism was always a consistent early adopter of new technologies and platforms.

Today, the tourism industry leads the way in 4IR. Travellers are constantly connected, constantly searching for information, constantly sharing their experiences on social media and constantly demanding that their needs are instantly gratified.

Tourism stakeholders have successfully played into this trend by applying technology to enhance the traveller experience. Airports around the world are introducing biometric technology to identify travellers and make their trip as frictionless as possible. Artificial intelligence allows hotels and travel agents to offer more personalised and tailored experiences for their clients.

In this exciting world of technological innovation, it’s important not to lose sight of the person behind the technology. The World Economic Forum shows us that as the forces of 4IR accelerate, consumers are enjoying the benefits of rapid innovation, but they are also struggling to maintain a sense of connection.

Technological innovation should therefore never be a goal in itself, but should instead be used to enhance the human experience. This was one of the main topics of discussion at a panel discussion on the impact of the 4IR on tourism at the University of Johannesburg. The panel discussion took place at a prestigious event celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the School of Tourism and Hospitality.

“We are in the business of giving the customer service,” said Arthur Gillis, CEO Platinum Hospitality Holdings. “People are glued to their devices and are more stressed than ever before. They want to come to their hotel as a place of refuge. They don’t want to be confronted with more tech that is impossible to understand or load yet another app they don’t need.”

Velma Corcoran, Country Manager for Airbnb, agrees, saying that people will always remain at the core of the tourism experience. She explained that there is an underlying fear that robots will take over the world and the tourism industry. However, the opposite is true.

Said Corcoran: “Technology connects people. Airbnb is a people-powered platform underpinned by technology. We connect people who have a space to share or people who have a passion to share, to people across the world who are looking for unique tourism experiences.”

According to Corcoran, tech will increasingly be used as an enabler for more inclusive growth. “We have seen incredible growth across the continent, and we have realised that technology can offer real potential. You can use tech to take tourism to communities that haven’t previously benefitted from tourism. They now have access to a global audience of travellers who are looking for unique experiences.”

Jurni CEO, Dr Nomvuselelo Songelwa, explained that Jurni was launched recently to address the challenge of connecting the tourism products in more isolated areas with tourists worldwide. “People are running fantastic products in the rural outskirts of our country. We can help put those on the map through technology,” she explained.

Jurni recently developed an affordable SMME booking tool and a visitor app to level the playing field and allow everyone to be able to market their tourism products in the same way. Simultaneously, Jurni is working on the development of a data hub.

“We need reliable and current data in this 4IR age to be able to make informed decisions in the tourism industry,” said Dr. Songelwa. She warns, however, that this can’t be done in isolation. “The time of gathering statistics and developing our own analysis in isolation is long gone. We have to change our mindset, behave innovatively and respond to the needs of the customers as a community. Jurni will provide incomparable tourism analysis for our country with integrated data at a granular level. The 4IR canvas is set and Jurni is painting it for the tourism sector.”

The Fourth Industrial Revolution will without a doubt continue to revolutionise the tourism industry, the experts agreed, but not without human input. “Technology does not change society; people change society,” concluded Dr Songelwa.

 

Source: bbrief.co.za

Every student has one or more New Year’s resolutions they intend to implement for the coming year of studies. If you are a student, let’s see how many of these 10 resolutions you can relate.

Back in school, each new year started with a beautiful and organised pencil case – I colour coded my kokie pens, my Tipp-Ex was full, and my notepads were clean and blank – waiting for me to fill them with beautiful handwriting.

That whole thing lasted about a week, if I was lucky. An organised pencil case soon became the priority of yesterday, and what started as a beautiful handwriting on page 1 soon morphed into scribbles embroidered by occasional doodle art.

I was convinced I’d break the cycle once I entered university, since this was going to be serious business. No more school play. Oh please.

But, on the bright side, I was not the only one. In fact, the yearly New Year’s resolutions I gave myself as a student turn out to be extremely widespread among the student species. Though I’m not guilty of all of these, here is a list of 10 frequent student New Year’s resolutions that tend to float around for the first odd weeks of each academic year.

1. I will do all of my readings. Not only that. I’ll do them ahead of the lecture.

Students really believe this, and the intention to actually sit down, read, and highlight each reading before every lecture and seminar is very genuine. Deep down, however, the desire to do anything else is stronger.

The first few readings always seem to go well, but soon you sit there skimming them before the lecture starts. A bit later you skim them after the lecture has already happened. And eventually, you don’t do them at all and sit there sweating in class, hoping not to be called out.

2. I will pace my assignments. No more panic. No more all-nighters.

Yes, this year, you will pace your assignments and be more productive. Each assignment will get a decent weekend’s time for thorough research and writing. But then, just when you think you have all the time in the world because all of your first essays are only due in a few weeks, the infamous all-nighter seems to have you clutched in it’s tight grip.

If three assignments have more or less the same due date, where do you think all the time for research and writing comes from? Well, not from all-nighters. With that being said, though, some students flop so hard at this resolution that they become masters of their own defective time management. They befriend sleep-deprivation, lack of synonyms, and inner frustration. One might almost say that someone who does this and still passes is somewhat of a magician.

3. I will keep my notes organised.

Some students actually manage to keep this one going for an impressive amount of time, filing each page into the right subject folder, and marking exactly what the date and topic for all the notes are.

But this skill tends to also evaporate as the year goes on. Soon, one page in your notepad contains not only notes from various subjects, but also the funny line your lecturer just dropped, and your weekend grocery shopping list.

4. I will not bunk. Not even once.

Many students do actually attend all their lectures throughout the year (they deserve a massive applause). In fact, bunking is kind of like a drug. If you’ve never tried it, you’ll never know how deliciously sinful it can feel, and therefore you won’t have the urge to do it. But once you’ve tried it, it’s hard to resist.

So when you tell yourself that for the New Year you won’t bunk, the only way it won’t flop is if you indeed don’t bunk at all. Bunking – not even once.

5. I will care about how I look for campus.

It’s a new year. You have fresh energy, fresh enthusiasm and basically just want to look amazing and put in mega effort every day. Girls start wearing mascara again, carefully fix a daily hairdo, and shave their legs more than once a week. Similarly, guys still nurture their facial hairs and spend more than 0.3 split seconds on choosing their outfit for the day.

I’d give it a good month until this too, starts to crumble.

6. I will learn how to cook and eat healthy.

By cook, I’m not talking about your mom’s awesome meals. Let’s not get carried away. But you tell yourself that from now on, you will at least use the stove or oven sometimes for a good stir-fry or baked potato. And doesn’t it taste delicious, that first healthy meal you cook for yourself? Of course it does. Which makes it even harder to understand why halfway through the year you are surviving on crackers with dip, and microwave food.

7. I will exercise more than I drink coffee.

Yep, another classic. You’ll get fit, exercise every day, get lean, detox from caffeine, and never, ever choose your bed over a run on a Sunday morning. And come that first Sunday when the plan flops, it’s not really your fault, because the sheets are too heavy for you to kick off, and the sun is actually quite harmful. You are safer in bed.

8. I will floss every day.

So this one is just… a terrible flaw that so many people are guilty of, it hardly needs elaboration. And the only time this resolution seems more unshakeable than at the beginning of every year is after you leave the oral hygienist’s practice.

9. I will be on top of my budget.

This is the year. You can feel it. You are going to start saving, and not spend a single Cent on anything you don’t strictly need. It’s time to create a budget plan and stick to it.

It seems to work okay at first, but damn, budgeting gets so tedious, and where is that receipt you put away, and what was the point again?

Exactly.

10. I will reject technology and stop wasting time.

That’s it. You spend far too much time locked into a screen – your phone, your computer, the lecture presentation, the TV, your tablet, video games – they are everywhere. Enough is enough. You will not touch your phone before bed anymore. You won’t play video games for more than 30mins at a time, and you absolutely won’t use instant messaging unless the content is important. And you will delete Facebook. Enough procrastination.

Hm, but that message could be important, so better check. It’s your favourite show – TV can be educational. How often do you and your friend get to play video games together? The essay is easy, so a bit of Facebook or 9gag doesn’t harm anyone. And so it begins, like in every other year, that technology has more presence in your life than you prefer – or even realise.

How to Break the Cycle

None of these resolutions are difficult to stick to once you manage to crack the vicious cycle. It is possible, I promise, because I’ve managed to actually stick to some of mine.

Relax, I said some, not all.

But so can you. Let’s see if you’ve got what it takes, and conquer at least one of the things you intend to change about your student habits.

Unfortunately, there is no magic solution to this, and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. But what is perhaps the most important thing to remember is that you absolutely can change your bad habits and behaviours – which mean you actually can succeed in sticking to your student life resolutions.

 

Source: https://educonnect.co.za/

For a long time, the hospitality industry has had to make do with its notoriously tough perception, but is there more than meets the eye?

Typically associated with long hours and its tough nature, the hospitality industry can be considered a hard place to work; this is especially true for the British hospitality scene. But where do these perceptions come from?

The hospitality industry in the 1990s was renowned for its volatile kitchen environments and intense head chefs. Some chefs in the industry argue that this working environment created a respect for the industry due to the time and effort that was sacrificed for the craft. New Head Chef, Frederick Forster of Plateau restaurant in Canary Wharf, London is one of those, as he feels that era forged who he is today. The sort of tough love approach of the industry he argues built character, commitment and the ability to work under pressure in different working environments.

However, is that how the hospitality industry is today? For better or worse the industry has changed. The pressure, commitment and passion are still there but there may be less of the in-your-face volatility that was once present. But, why do we still feel that things are the same? It could be the lingering effect of years gone by or the over-dramatising of the hospitality industry on popular TV shows. Whatever it is, the industry certainly has made changes since then.

Speaking to some of our graduates and other people in the industry, they talk about the pressure and commitment that remains but express that the severe scolding and fierce head of staff that we assume are always present in hospitality aren’t a constant feature. It’s more so a pressure for quality and meeting standards.

Like most things, over time things change and it’s the same with the hospitality industry. However, what’s important here is that prospective recruits and students get a fuller picture of the industry they are getting into.

Here at CTH, we are trying to do just that by creating projects such as CTH Spotlight, which is a series of films aimed to give students an inside look into the hospitality, culinary and tourism industries. We also commend initiatives such as the collaboration between Fred Sirieix and the Institute of Hospitality. The campaign, My Hospitality World, encouraged several top hospitality employers to open their doors and offer tours, presentations and job-shadowing opportunities to those interested. Even, suggestions that the government may look at ways to improve apprenticeships and amend contract types is a step in the right direction.

Reducing the barriers to entry can only be a good thing for the growth, environment and quality of the industry.

 

Source: https://www.cthawards.com/

January marks the start of the new school year, or at the very least a new school term/semester. Just in case you want a helping hand, here’s 5 ways to be successful this academic year, broken down with 5 easy quotes.

 

1 “The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.” – Mike Murdock

Essentially, your brain isn’t going to absorb and retain information unless you familiarising yourself with the information you receive. That means, planning and scheduling your day to make sure you go over your notes, getting some revision done and making your workload manageable. Create a weekly routine and stick to it, so you can become accustomed to being productive outside of the classroom.

 

2 “Do what works for you, because there will always be someone who thinks differently.” – Michelle Obama

It’s important to find out what works best for you. Understand there are different kinds of learners; there are visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learnersFind out which one you are and work and revise using techniques that work best for your style. For example, if you’re an auditory learner, if possible, record audio of the class and play it back in your free time or write notes and record yourself reading out the notes and/or answering questions. This will help you to learn, study and revise far more efficiently.

 

3 “Asking for other’s guidance helps you see what you may not be able to see. It’s always important to check your ego and ask for help.” – Kenneth H. Blanchard

There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help. It’s imperative that you utilise the resources around you and that means the people too. Get your work checked by your teachers and lecturers and ask them for further assistance if you need it. Don’t be afraid to put your hand up in class and ask a question. Here’s a secret, often you’re not the only one in the class that has the same question, so there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. Work with people in your class whose knowledge you trust, create study groups and share different ideas with each other. Asking for help is just another means to an end and often it can reduce the time you spend suffering in silence.

 

4 “Show me a worrying person and I will show you a person who does not know how to relax.” – Albert E. Cliffe

It’s good to work hard, but there’s also something called overworking yourself. The brain as well as the body needs rest, as I’m sure you know. Take time to relax your mind, have fun; everything in life is about timing, there’s a time to work and there’s a time to play – make sure you do both.

 

5 “The early bird catches the worm.” – William Camden

A quote you’ve probably heard loads of times; in one form or another. What we mean here is, start early so you don’t leave things too late. Some people start their revision at the last minute and still manage to pass the test, but in order to have some peace of mind and increase your chances of success, start early. Start your preparation, start asking questions and start working hard early, so in essence, you stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready – Will Smith.

 

Source: https://www.cthawards.com/

Tourism Deputy Minister Elizabeth Thabethe has called on young people interested in the tourism sector to approach her department for more information and for assistance in establishing their own businesses.

Addressing the local community of Mabopane, north of Tshwane, on the first day of National Imbizo Fortnight of Activism, Thabethe said tourism plays a crucial role in job creation.

“South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. People all over the world want to come to South Africa for many reasons. During the World Cup, we showed the world who we are and people loved our country,” Thabethe said on Monday.

Thabethe encouraged the community, some of whom exhibited their artwork at the imbizo, to promote tourism wherever they are.

“In tourism, we always want to get people to visit South Africa. People love our country, they love our wines and they love our food,” she said.

Thabethe called on young people to come up with programmes that speak to other young people in terms of job creation.

She said government cares about young people. “As government, we listen. Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability and encourage other young people to get involved in the tourism sector.”

Thabethe expressed concern about young people, who go to tertiary institutions or universities, to study in courses where there are few job opportunities.

“Our country needs young people who have the relevant, scarce skills. Chefs are scarce and the department is always willing to assist young people who want to venture into tourism or to become chefs,” the Deputy Minister said.

Among those who attended the imbizo were people who wanted to start their businesses in the tourism sector.

One of them is Pule Maotshe, who matriculated five years ago and cannot secure a job. He told SAnews that he came to the imbizo to get more information about the tourism industry.

“I want to open a bed and breakfast establishment in my area. I want to get more information from the department on how to go about starting my own business and how they can assist me,” Maotshe said.

Another local, Thato Moedi, said she has always been interested in becoming a chef but did not know where to go for training.

“I’m happy that the Deputy Minister is here today and she has been talking about helping young people who are interested in becoming chefs,” Moedi said.

National Imbizo Fortnight of Activism seeks to encourage communities to participate in government programmes and initiatives in an effort to build inclusive and socially cohesive societies. – SAnews.gov.za

 

 

Source:  https://www.sanews.gov.za/

In order for it to meet demands, the tourism industry needs learners with international qualifications.

There’s been a lot of discussion over the last few years centered around tighter regulations on travel and tourism, as well as immigration; with topics such as Brexit being the buzzword for the past year. Some conclusions have arguably been overstated, others, possibly not; nevertheless, the international tourism industry is still thriving.

It has to be said, the tourism industry is one of the largest in the world, but not only that, it is still growing. In fact, the World Tourism Organization reported that in 2017, international tourist arrivals were the highest they had been in over seven years; with emerging markets producing stronger numbers than previously shown. However, it’s not just the stats that show this growth.

The growth in the tourism industry can be seen in the number of sub-categories and packages that have been created from tourism. Packages such as weekend getaways or beach holidays are not the end-all and be-all but with better routes and more accessibility to the traveller; niche and catered packages are clearly visible.

Packages such as gastro-tourism, adventure tourism, religious tourism and others are readily available to travellers who are looking for a different experience. But, how does this growth relate with international qualifications? The growth that the tourism industry is experiencing needs to be matched with staff who understand the infrastructure of various tourism markets. The interconnectivity of the tourism isn’t just impacting travellers but it’s also impacting how staff must engage with the market.

Let’s use an example of B, a graduate looking to work as a travel agent: From a customer service point of view, an international qualification in tourism should help B to identify several types of traveller (e.g. a millennial, a couple, a family), the market the traveller is operating in, the basic infrastructure of tourism destinations; popular and emerging. In this way B has the interpersonal skills as well as the knowledge to provide great customer service to the client and offer a package that would best suit them.

The interconnectivity of the tourism isn’t just impacting travellers but it’s also impacting how staff must engage with the market.

Understanding the popular systems and platforms used in the industry, understanding destinations and motivations behind travel in different sectors, as well as emerging trends within the industry are skills that are taught. At CTH we go even further and have made it so that our programmes are adaptable, adaptable in the sense that CTH Approved Centres are encouraged to use relevant sources from the region they teach in. For example, they may use case studies and examples of companies from their region that relate to the industry. In this way, learners get a specialised understanding of the industry where they are studying as well as a holistic one of international tourism.

 

Source: www.cthawards.com

The Tourism industry is booming. From Cape Town to Cairo, tourism numbers have been increasing year on year. In fact, for the seventh straight year the sector has outperformed the global economy! New hotel chains, resorts and restaurants have popped up in locations across the country and globe- bringing dynamic, rewarding new career opportunities. Thinking of jumping on the bandwagon and getting involved? Studying an international tourism programme is your first step to success!

 Here are 5 Benefits of ITH International Tourism Programmes:

  1. Internationally Recognized

Local may be lekker, but not when it comes to global travel ambitions! The tourism industry spans borders, oceans and continents-  a truly international, cosmopolitan affair. Don’t limit yourself to a small corner of it! From the bustling restaurants of New York City to the palm fringed beach resorts of Thailand, our UK-registered ITHSA tourism programmes are valued and recognized internationally. The result? Plenty of opportunities to work abroad in a variety of tourism industries and locations. The world is your oyster!

 

  1. Professional Associations

The saying goes- you are the company you keep! We take this literally. The ITHSA is associated with professional industry leaders and benefits from relationships with CTH- a leading professional membership and awarding body in the UK. CTH has partnerships with major international employers and academic institutions and this helps us keep industry standards high and courses relevant.

  1. University Recognition

Always wanted degree status? In the eyes of International universities, you’re almost there! The ITHSA’s portfolio of CTH qualifications is considered equivalent to degree-level studies. If you have achieved one of these, you can enter the second or final year of a range of tourism and hospitality degree programmes overseas and convert to a degree. Hello bragging rights!

  1. Flexible Options

Variety is the spice of life when studying an ITH tourism programme! You can study anything from Tourism Management Programmes to Culinary Programmes and Short Courses in VA Earth and Ticketing. There are study options at various levels and academic stages-foundation to postgraduate. Furthermore, you have the option to study full – time or part- time depending on your unique preferences and needs.

  1. Employment Opportunities

With an ITH International Tourism course, you’ll get your foot in the door. CTH has developed great working relationships with a multitude of companies in the tourism and hospitality sector, providing a level of industry endorsement for our programmes that adds value when applying for jobs. With an international reputation, associated hotels and industry brands will be more likely to employ you!

 

Thinking of studying an International Tourism Programme? ITHSA has a range of Tourism courses perfect for you. Visit for more info: https://www.ith.org.za/

The Radisson Hotel Group has geared itself up for hotel growth in South Africa with a focus on scale in key cities. “As part of our five-year development plan, we have identified key cities for scaled growth, three of which are located in South Africa – Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban,” said Andrew Mclachlan, senior vice president, development, sub-Saharan Africa, Radisson Hotel Group during the THINC Africa Conference.

“We plan to develop and operate multiple hotels across our portfolio of brands and market segments within each of these cities, increasing our presence in Cape Town and Johannesburg to at least 10 hotels per city and Durban to at least five hotels. With economic headwinds we have identified opportunities to exploit our vast knowledge and experience in converting unbranded, underperforming hotels or underperforming office or apartment buildings and reposition them to the right brand and market segment within the Radisson Hotel Group brand portfolio.

“In addition, we are not ignoring the smaller cities and larger towns across South Africa where we’ve identified potential to penetrate the market with either our midscale Park Inn by Radisson brand or upscale Radisson.”

As part of the company’s recent rebranding to Radisson Hotel Group, a new brand architecture was introduced, leveraging the brand’s equity to drive awareness in the marketplace and increase marketing efficiency across its global portfolio.

“In sub-Saharan Africa, we aim to add 50 hotels, of which 65% of our future hotel supply will come from our newer brands, specifically Radisson, which is positioned in the full-service upscale segment, positioned between Radisson Blu in the upper upscale and Park Inn by Radisson in the upper midscale segments,” said McLachlan. “In addition, we will selectively add a number of key Radisson Collection hotels and grow on the successful opening of RED Radisson in Cape Town in the lifestyle upscale segment of the market.”

With the increased demand in serviced apartments, the Radisson Hotel Groups’ serviced apartment concepts are an extension of the Radisson Blu, Radisson and Park Inn by Radisson brands. These properties offer long-stay guests contemporary design, beautiful living areas and magnetic social spaces.

African hotel footprint growth

In a period of strong growth, the Radisson Hotel Group has doubled its African portfolio within the last four years, and year to date have signed seven more hotel deals and is scheduled to open at least three new hotels across the African continent before year end. This growth has spiked the group’s portfolio in Africa to almost 90 hotels (18,000+ rooms) in operation and under development across 30 countries.

The 2018 W Hospitality Pipeline Report ranked the group’s flagship brand, Radisson Blu, as the leading individual hotel brand with the largest number of hotels under construction in Africa. With 111 hotel brands active in Africa today, Radisson Blu leads the way in Africa with more hotels under development than any other hotel brand.

“Our strategy will reinforce our presence in South Africa as we continue to focus on delivering on our expanding pipeline,” concluded McLachlan.

 

 

Source: http://www.bizcommunity.com/

There’s a race on internationally among big hotel groups to unveil hotels that feature rooms equipped with the Internet of Things (IoT) devices that can carry out a variety of tasks for guests. This state-of-the-art hotel experience will likely become commonplace globally, but the question is, is South Africa readyfor such a development?

To test the waters, Marriott International has already worked up a version, the IoT Guestroom Lab – powered by Marriott’s Innovation Lab at the company’s corporate headquarters – creates a “smart” hotel room using multiple responsive IoT systems, devices and applications to communicate with one another to serve guests and optimize hotel operations. The technology inside the lab, for instance, allows a user to ask a virtual assistant for a 6:30 a.m. wake-up alarm, start a yoga routine on a full-length mirror, request additional housekeeping services and start the shower at the desired temperature stored in their customer profile – all by voice or app.

Following the three-month-long IoT Guestroom Lab, Marriott, Samsung and Legrand will analyze feedback. Consumers will start to see elements of the technology in international hotel rooms within the next five years.

The evolving consumer

Already, local consumers have grown accustomed to, and, indeed, expect, new technology to facilitate their relationship with brands, whether that’s via chatbots on websites or apps, or in the ways they experience hotels, such as Keyless entry, Mobile Check in for example. Naturally, these developments are tested on a live market as brands want to ensure that they’re fully functional and integrated with all other systems and channels before going live on their properties.

The benefit to smart hotel room systems is that they can be implemented in both new builds and retro-fitted to existing properties. The playing field is level across the board, although different properties will have different requirements, so each one would select a portfolio of features according to its needs and the needs of the market as well as the end consumer.

Since international visitors are a major driver of business into South Africa’s hospitality sector, it makes sense that this race among hotels to implement smart hotel rooms will have a direct impact on the hospitality experience locally. Local hotels must continue to evolve their guest experience in accordance with changing preferences. Conversely, the South African traveler heading to other countries will encounter smart hotel rooms and not want to return to old-school, static experiences.

There’s a concern that implementation costs may be high, however, since this is a long-term strategy that will likely only unfold after five years. Hotels have time to prepare, especially in terms of allocating budgets. It’s exciting that we’re seeing this happen in our generation – up until recently, the hotel stay experience was fairly predictable, from check-in to check-out. With the rise of digital and mobile, opportunities to enhance this experience have grown exponentially. This, in turn, has driven a competitive spirit among hotel brands to ensure that they’re ahead of the game.

A further indication of evolving customer expectations is that customers are using voice-operated devices such as Alexa in their own homes and are growing used to doing so. In South Africa, the market for this is relatively small, but growing. We’re late adopters, in terms of global technology, but this also has the benefit that we’re not a test market. By the time these kinds of solutions are rolled out, the initial bugs have been addressed, so even if we’re only seeing version 2.0 when these solutions are eventually rolled out, we’re actually catching up with the rest of the world quite quickly.

The race for the smart hotel room must never compromise on guest experience, so ensuring that at all times, the best possible stay experience takes place must be prioritised above flashy technology. As with any element of business strategy, it must be aligned with ROI and efficiency, along with listening to guests to hear what they want and experience.

 

Source: https://www.hospitalitymarketplace.co.za/