South Africa

Western Cape welcomes visitors despite water shortage

With thousands of tourists and holidaymakers about to descend on Cape Town and the Western Cape, the Cape Town municipality has announced it will implement Level 6 water restrictions as of 1 January 2018. But the city has assured visitors their holidays will not be in jeopardy.

At present Level Water restrictions are being enforced. Level 6 restrictions mean that residential units consuming more than 10 500 litres a month will be prioritised for enforcement; residents should keep their water usage to 87.5 litres a day; non-residential properties are to reduce consumption by 45%; agricultural users are to reduce consumption by 60%; and the use of borehole water for outdoor purposes is discouraged in order to preserve groundwater resources.

Despite the severe drought and water restrictions, in an earlier statement Wesgro – the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape – said both the city and the province are open for tourism and ready for a bumper peak season, which it says, promises to be the best yet.

After R120m facelift Cape Town’s iconic Ritz Hotel is back in business

Cape Town’s iconic Ritz Hotel in Sea Point, with its top-floor revolving restaurant, is opening its revamped doors just in time for this year’s holiday season.

The hotel has become something of a land mark since first opening its doors in the 1970s, but in recent years became somewhat rundown.  In 2016 the Ritz Hotel Management Company (RHMC) embarked on a R120-million facelift for the hotel, which has just been completed. RHMC says the new-look Ritz will not be “a quirky boutique property or a stiff five-star hotel”, but will fill a gap somewhere in-between as an international-grade hotel that would marry a contemporary design aesthetic with world-class service.

The 23-storey hotel underwent a complete refurbishing that started with a complete overhaul of the insulation, plumbing and lift shafts. Now it features a sleek porte-cochere of steel and glass, a glamorous lobby featuring golden palm trees and front desk of white marble where the emphasis will be on refined personalised service.



Empowering women to accelerate transformation, growth of tourism industry

More than 200 women from the African region gathered in Port Elizabeth for the annual Women in Tourism (WiT) Conference themed Sustainable Tourism: A Tool for Radical Socio-Economic Development for Women – a platform for dialogue on the challenges that affect the socio-economic empowerment of women, funding constraints, and the establishment of support structures and incentives.

Speaking at the opening of the conference, South African Minister Tokozile Xasa said: “We must unite to work together to influence government’s policies and programmes. Collectively, our active participation can result in a transformed and inclusive industry. We formally began our journey to elevate women in the tourism industry at our inaugural conference in 2014. Over the years, we have gained strides in establishing the WiT conference as a recognised platform that addresses the socio-economic concerns of women in our sector, and the continent.”

A baseline study conducted by the Tourism BBBEE Council on the State of Tourism Transformation revealed that only 11% of enterprises had black women representation at boards, executives and senior management positions and that the overall rate of transformation was slow.


Kenya opens the way for Intra Africa Tourism

As the leading tourist destination in East Africa, Kenya has opened its doors for tourists and other travellers from the East African region and the rest of Africa for ease and visa free access to Kenyan cities and other tourist areas and business.

Kenyan President Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta opened his country’s doors to Africans visiting Kenya and said all were welcomed to travel to his country without landing visa upon the arrival. Kenya is now standing among nations pushing for the much awaited Intra-Africa travel and tourism development, attracting African travellers to visit its high profile tourist attractions, mostly the wildlife.

President Kenyatta said there will no longer be a visa requirement before travelling to Kenya, making this his personal initiative to spearhead the continent-wide push to boost integration and free movement.



Travelport launches PCI DSS Certification Wizard Tool for Agency Customers

New York Stock Exchange-listed Travelport, a leading Travel Commerce Platform, announced the launch of an online PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance referral service to help its customers businesses achieve PCI DSS certification.

With fraud and hacking in the travel industry on the rise, maintaining a set of security standards to combat this criminal activity is critical when dealing with customer credit card information, it says. Furthermore, as from March 2018, any IATA agent that accepts card transactions against its own merchant agreement or issues Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) card transactions is required to provide proof of PCI DSS compliance to IATA.

In response to customers asking for guidance on PCI DSS certification and after a lengthy selection process, Travelport chose to partner with SecurityMetrics, a leading provider and innovator in data security and compliance for organisations worldwide. Making what is considered to be a very complex process, as simple, low cost and streamlined as possible, the PCI DSS Certification program provides customers with an online Wizard Tool to guide agents through the self-assessment questionnaire process.

The multi-language tool enables Travelport’s agency customers worldwide to achieve PCI DSS compliance, a requirement by the card industry for every business that touches card payments.