The recent TourismBiz Conference that was held at the Cape Sun Hotel was a great networking event for those that attended. It was evident from delegate discussions that the industry is anticipating an upswing in the tourism market and the outlook for tourism in South Africa looks rosy.
Director of Tourism of the City of Cape Town, Nombulelo Mkefa, welcomed the guests and said that South Africa has an infrastructure advantage above its competition in Africa. She also warned that tourism needs to be more competitive, as the rest of Africa will catch up as infrastructure improves. She further mentioned it needs to make business sense for airlines to fly direct to our cities. It is the front part of the plane that is profitable for airlines. If a destination can up its business travelling, more airlines will want to fly to that destination. Business events are therefore crucial in the help to drive tourism.
Jonathan Jacobs representing the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that moderate growth is expected for the tourism industry in 2012, despite the uncertain global economic outlook. He added that this growth will be fuelled by rising incomes in emerging markets and stable unemployment and disposable income in mature markets; people are starting to emerge from their burrows. He also amplified that destinations need both business and leisure events to draw visitors. According to Jacobs the Cape Chamber is actively involved in initiatives to secure more events and direct flights to Cape Town. Jonathan mentioned that aligning with partners such as the Cape Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Enterprise Partnership will create market access opportunities for entrepreneurs.
He further commented that Cape Town should organise more large scale events in the winter to stimulate the tourism industry in the region. He especially pointed out that adventure seekers don’t mind cold or bad weather and that this is an untapped market that can offer a perfect solution for Cape Town’s seasonality.
Other topics that were raised was the importance of cruise line terminals, golf tourism, partnering with neighbouring countries to offer better packages, the importance of customer relations in tourism, marketing and the supply capacity of the SME’s in the sector.
A buyers forum allowed for Q&A’s on what is important for tourism buyers today. The discussion highlighted that tour operators should align themselves with professional conference organisers (PCO’s) and venues and design packages around delegates. Comments from the floor indicated that tour operators and accommodation establishments are often not flexible enough when it comes to dealing with international delegates, global bookings, deposits and payment requirements and last minute bookings.
The day came to an end after a network luncheon and interesting keynote address on cultural tourism by Dr Nik Eberl from Brandovation.
TourismBiz Conference is a networking initiative by CADEK Media’s tourism web platform, www.tourismbiz.net. “We host the conference annually to give our web browsers the opportunity to interact, network and learn from each other. We are committed as a winter event for Cape Town and look forward to return to the Cape Sun in August 2013,” said organiser Chris de Klerk from CADEK Media. For more info contact CADEK Media on 021 855 4750 or visit the site at www.tourismbiz.net.