Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom says millions of South Africans and international tourists continue to visit and travel around South Africa, despite the current water crisis.

“We appreciate the responsiveness and respect shown by our visitors in helping us deal with one of the worst droughts experienced in our country,” Minister Hanekom said.

He said the continued innovation in water-wise initiatives has been remarkable, with new and progressive solutions introduced on an ongoing basis.

Minister Hanekom welcomed the announcement by the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize that the worst drought-affected areas would have access to national disaster funds and other forms of assistance.

Minister Hanekom congratulated all South Africans and both local and international travellers on achieving what is being hailed as a global first in terms of the extent to which water consumption is reduced during a drought.

The additional funds will allow these efforts to continue in all affected parts of the country, particularly in Cape Town.

Awareness has changed consumer behaviour to respect the reality that South Africa is a water-scarce country and that water should never be wasted.

“We are delighted that tourists and travellers to South Africa continue to be part of the solution by embracing new and innovative water-wise tourism practices.

“Congratulations to our tourism agencies, the travel trade as well as our tourists and communities at large for rising to the challenge.

“More importantly, I encourage all tourists, both local and international, to enjoy the experiences our beautiful South Africa has to offer, in a way that embraces ‘Travel, Enjoy and Respect’, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) message to all,” Minister Hanekom said. –


Recently, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the World Youth Student and Education (WYSE) Travel Confederation published a report on “The power of youth travel”. From this report many interesting things can be learned. Diego has taken 10 surprising facts that you might not know about the market and shared it with us, with some illustrations to make it fun:

1. Youth travel is one of the fastest growing markets of the tourism industry


UNWTO estimates that around 20% of the 940 million international tourists traveling the world in 2010 were young people. By 2020 there will be almost 300 million international youth trips per year, which represents a 59% growth in 10 years.

2. Young travelers often spend more than other tourists

According to the report the average youth traveler spends a total of $2,600 per trip whereas than the average international tourist spends an average of $950. As the report suggests “one secret to this greater spending power is being able to tap into the resources of their (often time-poor but money-rich) parents and the ability to work to earn additional money during their travels”.

3. And stay longer than the average tourist

The average stay of a young traveler is over 50 days longer than the average traveler. This is driven by study abroad and work and travel programs that allow young travelers to stay sometimes longer than 6 months in a destination, and from there travel around the region.

4. Young travelers are likely to come back in the futurewales

The high value of youth travel also lies in the ‘lifetime value’ that young people deliver to destinations through their travel career. They often return to the places they have visited in later life. In Australia, for example, research has indicated that 54% of young travelers return there later in life.

5. The youth travel market is more resilient than the rest of the tourism industry

Economic recessions have a lesser impact on youth travel that in the rest of the travel industry. Many young people decide to travel long term when they are having a hard time finding a job. Also, young people are less likely to be deterred from traveling by terrorism, political and civil unrest, disease or natural disasters.

6. Young travelers are more tech-savvy than the average traveler

It must not be a surprise that the youth segment has the highest penetration of smartphones across the globe (+79%) and that young travelers are early adopters of every new technology. This makes the youth travel sector a market of leading technological innovation and a learning ground for the whole travel industry.

7. The Chinese youth travel sector is growing at a double digit every yearthierry_gillier_chinese_tourists_paris_20121005

According to UNWTO, 66 million Chinese will travel overseas this year, a 15% increase over last year, and 100 million will be global travelers by 2020. This makes the Chinese youth travel segment one of the fast growing ones in the whole industry. As the Chinese economy continues to grow and more families are able to afford sending their kids to study abroad this numbers are only expected to keep growing.

8. The age range for youth travel has expanded from 24 up to 30 years-old

As a result of demographic changes in western societies such as older age for marriage and longer study time-frames (post-graduate and master studies), the range for youth-style travel has expanded from 18-to-24 to 15-to-30 years-old and beyond.

9. Youth travel has a strong economic impact at a local level

In 2012, $217 billion of the $1.088 trillion tourism “spend” worldwide came from young travelers, an increase that vastly outstripped that of other international travelers. Because they travel for longer periods, young people also tend to spend a greater proportion of their total budget in the destination. The WYSETC indicates that around 60% of youth travel budgets are spent in the destination. Young travelers often avoid international chains and spend their money directly with local suppliers. This tends to increase the local impact of their expenditure and more money ends up with local businesses.

10. Young travelers are influencers and trend-setters that attract others to brands and destinations

Young people play an important role in influencing others to use certain products or brands and also attract other visitors to the destinations they travel. In Australia, for example, it was estimated that each young visitor taking a course in higher education was visited by an average of 1.3 people during their stay, generating an additional AU$1.2 billion for the Australian economy each year. Young people add atmosphere and ‘buzz’ to destinations, attracting other visitors and businesses.

Diego concludes that for all these reasons and many more, you should be paying attention to this fast-growing market. It might represent a really interesting opportunity for your business or country not only today, but also in the future.

Source: StudentUniverse Blog

In this era of bitcoin and other unpredictable investment options, smart speculators should consider hedging their bets on a sector that has shown consistent growth since the 2009 global economic crisis: tourism. This is the third-largest export sector in the world and grew by a remarkable 7% in 2017. Tourism is expected to grow at a healthy rate of 4%-5% in 2018, and to continue this trend right up until 2030.

In 2017, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation, international tourist arrivals — in other words, overnight visitors travelling around the world — boomed to a record 1.3-billion people. This global tourism bonanza represents the highest growth in seven years.

Europe experienced 8% growth in international tourist arrivals in 2017, with southern and Mediterranean Europe enjoying a 13% spike despite the Las Ramblas terror attack in Barcelona and the political uncertainty around Catalonia’s bid for independence.

This suggests a resilient and mature tourism sector that is strong enough to withstand what some view as rare or isolated incidents.

Here at home we don’t yet have the final tourism figures for 2017, but the World Tourism Organisation reported that Africa attracted 8% more tourists than in 2016 — above the global average. This was led by a strong 13% surge in tourists for North Africa, which has been plagued by political instability and security issues in recent years and is experiencing a welcome recovery in its tourism sector. In sub-Saharan Africa, arrivals increased 5%, consolidating the huge rebound we saw the previous year.

This is excellent news for SA. Consider this: the World Travel and Tourism Council estimated that in 2016, tourism (including the supply chain and investment) injected R402bn into the South African economy, or 9.3% of GDP, and supported 1.5-million jobs (including in sectors such as transport and agriculture).

This means that even 5% growth in tourism revenues would be hugely significant. Indeed, tourism is one of the continent’s great and largely untapped engines for economic growth, and we need to nurture our tourism sector and treat it with the care it deserves.

It’s clear that the momentum is with us.

We need to capitalise on the seemingly insatiable global appetite for travel and tap into the growing interest in bringing international business events such as major conferences to Africa and to SA in particular.

People around the world are spending more on travel, realising the inherent value of investing in lasting memories and experiences rather than in flavour-of-the-month consumables.

Newly emerging (and prosperous) middle classes in rising economies such as China, Brazil and Russia are increasingly venturing outside their own borders and sampling the world’s tourism treasures.

Tourism is a service industry that has the potential to generate even more wealth and jobs — as the South African government and the National Development Plan 2030 have noted.

Inclusive growth that embraces smaller, black-owned players and tourism entrepreneurs is what we’re aiming at.

That’s why, in 2017 South African Tourism started rolling out our 5-in-5 strategy to attract 5-million more international and domestic tourists to our country by 2021.

Our sights are set on 4-million more foreign tourist arrivals and 1-million more domestic holiday trips.

We’ve reworked our investment model and, with the limited funds that we have to market our destination, we’ve identified where best to “play” for the best potential returns — attracting tourists who will inject as much-needed money into our economy as possible.

Among these new, emerging markets we’re targeting is the Middle East, where travellers are expressing much interest in coming to SA, especially during their scorching summer months, which fortuitously happens to be our temperate low season.

Everyone wins: tourism and hospitality businesses that are usually quiet during that time will become busier and more sustainable, jobs will be kept and Middle Eastern travellers can enjoy value-for-money rates and authentic South African hospitality that respects and accommodates their cultural and dietary and religious needs.

We’re making brisk strides towards reaching our 5-in-5 target despite obstacles such as the devastating Knysna fires.

We are proud of the resilience and can-do attitude of our tourism industry as a whole, which picks itself up and dusts itself off in the wake of such calamities.

By the end of October 2017, we’d already attracted 8.4-million international tourist arrivals out of our 10.9-million target for the year.

Our figures for overseas tourists jetting in are sound; what concerns us is the slowdown in tourists coming to SA from our Southern Africa Development Community neighbours, such as Swaziland, Botswana and Lesotho.

If economies contract in the region, the knock-on effect reverberates as movement, spending, shopping and trade all slow down as a result.

The good news is that 2.3-million domestic holiday trips were taken between January and the end of October 2017, putting us on course to meet our 2.9-million target for 2017.

Having said that, it is evident that the economic pinch is causing a drop in trips around SA to visit friends and relatives.

This is extremely worrying, because one of our mandates is to show our people that tourism is for everybody and that all South Africans benefit from, and have a role to play in, our tourism industry.

If tourism wins, we all win. This is the thrust of our We Do Tourism movement, which has already been embraced by so many in the government and private sector.

Now, more than ever before, we need to continue embracing the spirit of the We Do Tourism movement.

Looming large and alarming is the Cape Town and Western Cape drought. We can’t ignore the elephant in the room, but Cape Town and the Western Cape are open for business in spite of the drought.

This is a one-in-1,000-year occurrence, but even so there are still many places across the Western Cape that are not as severely affected by the drought, such as the nearby Garden Route and the Cape Overberg.

We appeal to tourists and tourism businesses alike to continue being good responsible tourism citizens and continue being water wise.

The momentum remains with SA’s thriving tourism sector. But since our industry isn’t as mature and hardy as Spain’s, for example, we have to anticipate risks, pre-empt them and deal with them decisively.

Now, as we focus on the Western Cape water crisis, we need to redouble our efforts and work together as an industry, as the government and as a country to ensure that tourism can reach its full potential as a vital engine powering our national economy.


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With tourism numbers continuing to increase year on year, and new hotels and restaurants opening their doors not just in South Africa but all over the continent, all indications are that the industry’s positive trajectory will continue well into the future, says Erika Theron, Academic Dean at The Private Hotel School, an ADvTECH Tertiary institution based in Stellenbosch.

“All studies and forecasts also underscore the continued creation of jobs in this sector, which is good news for those who are considering this exciting field,” she says.

The hospitality industry is one in which increased automation is not a risk to the futures of these careers as customer experience and satisfaction are indisputably dependent on the human factor.  Automation may help improve efficiency of service, but it cannot take over the creation of the experience which is what consumers in this sector are looking for.  However, along with the great prospects, there will also be greater competition for positions, which means that prospective entrants into the field should ensure they can stand apart from their peers with a solid qualification, focused both on theory and practical experience, under their belt.

Statistics show that the tourism sector remains one of the fastest-growing economic sectors, contributing about 4.5% to total employment in 2015/2016. SA saw a 14% growth in tourist numbers from August 2015 – August 2016 and 1200 new hotel rooms between July – December 2017. A staggering 20 000 new jobs were created since 2014.

“The one statistic that truly underscores the opportunity in this industry for suitably qualified and experienced professionals, is the fact that our alumni rate of employment is a solid 100%,” says Theron.

“In addition to the benefit of being imminently employable upon graduation, many of our alumni also take advantage of exciting international opportunities every year, and they have been snapped up globally from the UK, Germany and England, to France, New Zealand, The USA and Dubai,” she says.

Deon Roets, Academic Head at Capsicum, ADvTECH’s Culinary school, agrees that opportunity combined with education in the field bodes well for the future of hospitality and culinary professionals.

“Consumers continue to become more educated and discerning, and any business in the hospitality industry is well aware of the need for their employees to be professional and effective in the workplace, and to ensure that valued visitors receive the best possible service and experience,” he says.

In the past decade, more than 4000 chefs have graduated from Capsicum, with many snapped up by leading local and global restaurants.

“The hospitality industry isn’t just expanding internationally.  The growth in South Africa remains exceptional but with more discerning consumers it is critical that training focuses on ensuring that graduates are able to cope with demanding customers.  For this reason, our focused combination of exceptional training with experiential opportunities results in confident graduates who are in high demand,” says Roets.


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In the past few months, we’ve been looking at digital transformation trends in different industries like healthcare, retail, finance, and media and entertainment. Today, we look at an industry that’s been completely turned on its head in recent years, due to extreme digital transformation: tourism and hospitality.

It used to be that we’d visit a brick-and-mortar travel agent every time we needed to plan a family vacation or work trip. (Granted, some of you may not remember that.) But today, thanks to mobility, travelers are playing a much larger role in the experience. They want to find a hotel that matches their style—on their terms—the very moment they need it. And thanks to players like AirBnB, which set the stage for a completely new era of travel, they can. Indeed, when it comes to the hospitality business, digital transformation is a mix of greater customer demands—and the technology that can help meet them. Let’s take a look at the top trends impacting the hospitality and tourism industry.

Mobile Integration

The digital transformation is a dream come true for introverts who like to travel. With mobile-first and mobile-only brands continuing to grow, customers can do practically anything on their phone, from checking in—to ordering room service—to unlocking the room door itself. In fact, one can plan an entire trip—from booking to bedtime and home again—without ever talking to a live human.

AI and Chatbots

Remember when all hotels used to have clunky welcome binders on the desks, outlining where to eat, what to see, and what to do in the area—everything you needed to know? Today, hotels can provide all that information—and more—via AI-powered apps and technology. Guests can access the information at any time they need, right from their phones in the form of an e-concierge. They can even access voice-activated chat bots to open the curtains, set the alarm, or order breakfast, without ever talking to a human being. At the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, you can even text a robot named Rose at any time, 24/7, and she’ll find a way to fill your request, fast. Meanwhile, Marriott has been using AI-powered chat bots at nearly 5,000 hotels to do things like make reservation changes, and check on account balances or redemption vouchers.

Integration of the IoT

As more and more devices get connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), it makes sense that the tourism and hospitality industry would begin to harness that data to improve the customer experience. After all, the more they know about their guests, the better they can please them. If the IoT data tells them the customer has visited their resort every year for the last three years, it can automatically send a message proactively asking the guest if they’d like to make another booking this year. You just saved your customer a step—and guaranteed a booked room—without ever lifting a finger. The same could be said by harnessing information about food selection, excursions, and in-room amenities. The opportunities for up-sells and better CX are endless.

Focus on Data

As noted above, data is going to play a huge part in the new era of hospitality and tourism. In the case of AirBnB, they were able to use customer data to determine that guests who chose not to book were doing so because they were discouraged by hosts who failed to respond to their inquiries. (I’ve been there—it’s annoying.) By offering instant booking feature to guarantee their reservation, they helped alleviate many of the customers’ concerns and helped automate what had previously been an incredibly arduous part of their business model. Data didn’t just improve CX. It improves the bottom line, as well.


The fact that guests can book instantly also means they can share their opinions instantly via Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor and other travel review websites. That’s why technology has pushed hotels and restaurants to focus even more on providing quality customer service. Yes, there are outliers. I’ve experienced them myself. But there is no doubt the trend is toward better service for guests—not just a better return for operators.

Virtual Reality

Whether it’s a hotel property, museum, or a tourist destination, guests can take a look without even leaving their living room via virtual reality. The goal is either to offer a preview of what guests will experience—or offer the next-best-thing to visiting at all. (For instance, would you rather pay $4,000 to visit Paris in real life, or $200 to take the same trip in a virtual world?) This isn’t being done on a widespread scale yet, but some major operators are offering guests the chance to experience at least a snippet of their travel experience—offering greater piece of mind especially to those planning a visit to a faraway destination. Others destinations, like the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MOMA) are already offering VR installations as part of  their exhibits.

The travel and tourism business is a $1.2 trillion industry. Clearly, there is incentive to invest to grow it even more. Whether the IoT is improving the accuracy of flight schedules, or the lure o f VR is convincing someone to take their first overseas trip, there is truly no end to the value tech can add to travel. They just need to be careful it doesn’t become so good that guests prefer the tech over the real thing.


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There are many factors that contribute to a guests’ enjoyable stay, however, one aspect that is often underestimated and overlooked is the housekeeping.

There are various departments in the workings of a hotel that greatly contribute to an enjoyable stay for their guests. When staying at a five star establishment, small things like a warm welcome at the door or a speedy check-in time can greatly improve a guest’s overall impression. However, one aspect of a guests’ stay that is often underestimated and overlooked is the housekeeping.

Housekeeping is a vital mechanic that has the potential to make or break an establishment’s reputation. The way in which a room is cleaned, tidied and presented to its guests is in direct relation to the level of service the hotel prides themselves on. Housekeeping provides guests with a clear indication of how they are valued.

Dependent on the rating of the hotel at which you stay, standards and the level of housekeeping may vary. Remember, hotels with various ratings may not provide the same service. However, having said this, no hotel should compromise on the cleanliness of their establishment.

Housekeeping is comprised of many different aspects such as the cleaning of guest rooms, public areas, carpets, furniture, metal wares, et cetera. For many hotels, big and small, the housekeeping staff are the unsung heroes of their establishment and more often than not go unnoticed. Housekeeping staff ensure that the rooms are cleaned daily, stocked with in-room amenities and that common areas like the reception and restaurants are presentable, tidy and welcoming.

Although housekeeping staff do not necessarily interact with their guests on a daily basis, the quality of their service is critical in moulding the experience and memories their visitors will take with them when they leave. A guest who has had a wonderful experience at a hotel will most likely return in future, ensuring customer loyalty for the business.

The role of housekeeping staff is vital for any hotel that wants to maintain a high level of success in the hospitality industry. Housekeeping is not just about cleanliness, but is in fact about the standard. It is one of the most important services a hotel can offer and therefore time should be dedicated to training staff correctly to ensure an enjoyable and pleasurable experience is had for their guests.

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2018 will see a breakthrough in five technologies for the hospitality industry. Some hotels have already acquired and tested the technologies on this list.

1. Virtual Reality can be used to market in-destination activities

Hoteliers have now realised virtual reality’s potential in the travel and tourism industry with leading hotel brands including Best Western and Marriott, having already introduced this technology to guests.

The Marriott introduced an in-destination VR service called VRoom Service which guests can use for 24 hours. The VR devices are loaded with ‘VR postcards’, which provide guests with travel inspiration, showcasing people’s first-hand travel experiences. This has the potential to encourage new holiday bookings and even experiences offered in-destination.

“By using the technology in the rooms, we’re bringing the experience to guests inside. It’s a property renovation,” says Michael Dail, Marriott’s VP of global brand marketing.

2018 will see the rise of Virtual Reality, which will become the norm for hotels. Guests will not only want to familiarize themselves with the location pre-check-in but also experience local activities before booking them.

2. IOT: Guest enabled Rooms are on the way

Hotel brands have considered IoT platforms due to better cost efficiencies and enhanced guest experience. Hilton, for example, has built a beta test room control for selected hotels.

“Imagine a world where the room knows you, and you know your room,” says Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta at SKIFT Global Forum.

Hilton is using the DIY approach of proprietary technology which is built from the ground up instead of picking off-the-shelf technologies to implement. They are looking to build a brand-new hotel room with built-in voice control, temperature and lighting settings that are controlled via a custom app, available on the guest’s smartphone.

Despite hotelier’s reluctance to be ahead of the curve or gimmicky in their technology adoption, the signs remain strong that both brands have shown commitment and progress in IoT room technology.

3. Guest-facing technologies provide a more personalized experience

Apart from the Free Wi-Fi, personalization of the guest experience is going to be the biggest factor a hotelier needs to consider. With the availability of guest data and technologies to plug into a Hotel’s CRM, it provides tremendous intelligence information about the guest behaviour all the way from pre-trip, in stay and post trip.

IHG Study reveals that “Nearly three in five (59%) travellers say their hotel stay is significantly more comfortable if services are personalized and more than have (54%) admit it makes them feel more valued.” 

While hotels are utilizing technology to avoid private data exploitation, guest data analysis can be derived from smart guest connectivity devices. This provides more behavioural insights, which helps hoteliers offer a deeper level of personalization. Expect more developments and success in this area.

4. Digital Concierge will produce an efficient service

By 2021 the number of people using messaging apps to communicate will reach 2.5 billion according to Statista report, making messaging a primary form of communication.

According to Phocus Wright research; “39% of people surveyed said they are completely comfortable using chat to contact the hotel front desk, while only 7% said they would not be.” 

Brands such as IHG Group and Hyatt are already using third-party social media messaging platforms, while others such as Marriott have built apps to facilitate instant messaging. Notably, as hotels attempt to engage guests through this technology, travel agencies are also entering this space to drive loyalty.

Technology providers are looking to integrate chat with hotel systems. Chat communication is just another digital channel hotels can use to increase guest engagement and communication. Through a smartphone amenity with an app, for example, we should see more engagement opportunities than just to change booking details, such as pre-stay and post-stay communication.

5. AI & Chatbots lower operational costs

As Artificial intelligence (AI) & Chatbots mature we see more complex algorithms to perform complicated tasks increase, which should eliminate a lot of overhead operational costs. Finding the balance between human hospitality service and technology is going to be key as hotels try to reduce operational costs while increasing guest’s overall ratings.

“We’ve been building bots on IRC [for] many years … now it’s just that it’s on mainstream platforms,” says CEO/Co-Founder of The Bot Platform.

2018 will continue to see predictive guest technologies related to AI & Chatbots emerge and provide Hotels with the opportunity to offload tasks that hotel staff and customer support are trained to do.

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Measuring success can be difficult because success is relative; take the tourism industry for example, every year, lists titled ‘top tourist destinations’ or the ‘most successful tourist destination’ are printed.

Technological advancement has been moving at extraordinary speeds over the last couple of decades. New industries have emerged and existing ones are changing.

Entrepreneurship is an ability that can be cultivated through your every day interactions, through studying at school or through work based learning. However, before committing to it, there are a few things to consider.