TravelBites – Edition 24

South Africa

Ramaphosa’s SONA has good news for tourism

Cape Town – Delivering his state of the nation address (SONA) in Cape Town on 10 February, President Cyril Ramaphosa had some good news for the local tourism industry as it struggles to emerge from the ravages of Covid-19 and the lockdowns. He touched on a new visa system and measures to make doing business easier for small businesses…which of course affects many tourism businesses. Here are extracts of what he said:

“We are therefore streamlining and modernising the visa application process to make it easier to travel to South Africa for tourism, business and work. As we committed last year, the eVisa system has now been launched in 14 countries, including China, India, Kenya and Nigeria removing impediments.

“We are reviewing the Business Act, 1991 (Act 71 of 1991) – alongside a broader review of legislation that affects small, medium and small-enterprises (SMMEs) – to reduce the regulatory burden on informal businesses. There are too many regulations in this country that are unduly complicated, costly and difficult to comply with. This prevents companies from growing and creating jobs. We are, therefore, working to improve the business environment for companies of all sizes through a dedicated capacity in The Presidency to reduce red tape. If we are to make progress in cutting unnecessary bureaucratic delays for businesses, we need dedicated capacity with the means to make changes.”“This year, we are undertaking far-reaching measures to unleash the potential of small businesses, micro businesses and informal businesses. These are the businesses that create the most jobs and provide the most opportunities for poor people to earn a living. We have started discussions with social partners as part of the social compact process to review labour market regulations for smaller businesses to enable them to hire more people, while continuing to protect workers’ rights. A new, redesigned loan guarantee scheme is being introduced to enable small businesses to bounce back from the pandemic and civic unrest. This new bounce-back scheme incorporates the lessons from the previous loan guarantee scheme. It will involve development finance institutions and non-bank SME providers in offering finance, expand the types of financing available and adjust eligibility criteria to encourage greater uptake.

Source: The Presidency, SA Government


Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu delivers update on the sector’s recovery plan

Cape Town – Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has hosted a stakeholders’ engagement meeting with key players and industry leaders in the Western Cape tourism sector in Khayelitsha, where she provided an update on the implementation of the country’s Tourism Sector Recovery Plan. The tourism plan, approved and launched in April last year, was implemented under three pillars. In her report, Sisulu said the Protect and Rejuvenate supply pillar saw development and maintenance of state-owned and community-based tourism assets – such as the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) – which continuously monitored the implementation of Covid-19 protocols in the tourism sector and the hospitality industry. TBCSA CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said although domestic travel was on a positive trajectory, international arrivals would go a long way in boosting the industry, and they would continue to work with the government to ensure a world-class visitor experience in the industry. The Re-ignite Demand pillar saw various domestic, deal-driven marketing campaigns implemented through South African Tourism, and Phase 1 of the regional brand campaign had been implemented. Sisulu said the Strengthening Enabling Capacity pillar of the plan, which aimed to increase the resilience of SMMEs during the pandemic and beyond, ensured that support for eight incubators continued and 18 Green Tourism Incentive fund applications were approved to promote sustainable tourism through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The minister’s report showed there were severe challenges for the tourism sector that were regressing efforts towards effective marketing of the country as a top tourist destination with strict health and safety protocols. These factors included inability to attain population immunity, stop and start cycles instigated by lockdown regulations and alert level adjustments, tourist safety and security concerns and Red Listing of the country by major source markets.

Source: Kristin Engel, Cape Argus, IOL


Africa Travel Week Is Back

Cape Town – Registrations for Africa Travel Week 2022, which is scheduled to go ahead from 11 to 13 April in the Host City of Cape Town, recently opened. The registration portal for buyers opened on 18 January and exhibitors, Trade visitors and media delegates all opened in February. The trade show will once again bring together pan-African and international exhibitors as well as buyers from across the globe at headline shows, World Travel Market Africa (WTM Africa) and International Luxury Travel Market Africa (ILTM Africa).

For those buyers who may be unable to travel to Cape Town, Africa Travel Week has created a digital event that will run from 4 to 5 April. Both one-on-one meetings as well as virtual speed networking sessions will be available on the same platform that was successfully used for ATW Virtual 2021. The virtual event is exclusive to exhibitors and buyers only. Different buyers will attend the live event and the virtual event meaning that xhibitors will receive marked value as the buyers that they will meet online will be different to those that will be attending the physical event thereby offering a diverse and enhanced pool of buyers. The highly anticipated live event in the host city of Cape Town will include all the highlights delegates have come to expect in previous events, including a robust speaker programme and associated events like International Business Market Africa, EQUAL Africa, Travel Forward, Sports and Events Tourism Exchange (SETE) and the Africa Tourism Investment Summit (ATIS). Attendees can look forward to attending conference sessions with speakers from around the globe, face-to-face networking, the African Responsible Tourism Awards, press conferences and more! 



United unveils direct New York-Cape Town flights three times a week

Cape Town – United Airlines will introduce three non-stop flights a week between New York and Cape Town, and they will operate year-round, the US airline said recently. The new schedule between Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and Cape Town will start on June 5 and will use a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. “By offering flights to Cape Town year-round, we’re making it even easier for our customers to visit one of the world’s best destinations,” said Patrick Quayle, United’s senior vice-president of international network planning and alliances. “United’s direct flights from New York/Newark cut the usual travel time to Cape Town by more than five hours, giving visitors extra time to enjoy the beauty and majesty of South Africa.” United first launched flights to Cape Town in December 2019, and the airline said it quickly became one of the airline’s marquee international routes. Direct flights to Johannesburg were added in June 2021. “This announcement provides much-needed relief to the tourism and hospitality sector in the Western Cape and will support economic recovery in the province,” said Wrenelle Stander, CEO of the trade and tourism promotion agency Wesgro. “We welcome the news of this expansion and thank United Airlines for their commitment to serving this world-class tourism destination.”

 Source: TimesLIVE


Island destinations remain a favourite for South African travellers

Johannesburg – Island destinations remain top of mind for travellers who want to get back into the swing of things as the world comes to terms with Covid-19. While the past two years have seen the global tourism industry take a knock across the board, South Africans have been keen to get back out into the world and island destinations remain top of mind. Global travel search site Cheapflights recently categorised the top destinations for South African travellers by four categories: Top Overall Trending, Solo Trips, Under-the-Radar and Wallet-Friendly, with island destinations like Zanzibar and the Maldives remaining trendy holiday spots. According to Cheapflights, who analysed travel searches to identify the biggest destination trends in South African tourism for 2022, South African travellers are also spoilt for choice when it comes to budget-friendly destinations.

  • Top Trending Destinations of 2022

The Top Trending Destinations are those that saw the largest rise in searches when compared to pre-pandemic 2019. Island destinations such as Zanzibar in Tanzania and Malé in the Maldives dominate the list followed by Maputo in Mozambique, Cairo in Egypt and Los Angeles in the United States.

  • Top destinations for people travelling alone

Another trend that Cheapflights has picked up on was the rise in solo travel and not just for business purposes.

According to the data, when those looking to travel alone aren’t heading to island destinations, they are looking for beach-friendly destinations or noisy and vibrant cities. Locations such as Zanzibar and London, United Kingdom fulfil this need.

  • Top under-the-radar destinations

“From the top 200 most-searched destinations, the density of hotels versus searches was analysed to identify the places that may not be the first that comes to mind when planning a trip but should certainly not be missed,” said the search engine before listing Shanghai, China and New Delhi, India as the top under-the-radar destinations. Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam also makes a surprise appearance.

  • Top wallet-friendly destinations

Due to the fact that the platform allows users to compare flight, hotel and rental car prices, they also have data regarding which travel destinations won’t break the bank. This includes popular cities such as Bangkok, Thailand (for those who love island destinations) and more off-the-beaten path, yet still trendy locations, such as Istanbul, Turkey.

Source: Kaunda Selisho, The Citizen


UAE lifts travel ban to SA and 11 other African countries for vaccinated citizens

Abu Dhabi – The United Arab Emirates announced that it will lift a travel ban to 12 African countries for citizens who are fully vaccinated, state news agency WAM announced. The countries include Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, the Republic of Congo, South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. Fully vaccinated citizens who had booster doses will be allowed to travel starting from February 6. The move also allows medically exempted unvaccinated persons and “humanitarian cases” to travel, according to WAM.

Source: Reuters / WAM


Kavango-Zambezi tourism in need of reboot

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe – Tourism and hospitality operators in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA-TFCA) have been urged to effectively market local initiatives. This would reboot the sector in the wake of COVID-19. The call comes as Zimbabwe’s tourism arrivals reportedly fell by 40 percent in 2021 due to the global pandemic. Barbara Rwodzi, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry deputy minister, said there was more than a proportionate decline in revenue as well. She was speaking at the inaugural Africa Eden Tourism Association Congress and Travel Show welcome event in Victoria Falls. Rwodzi called for intensification of efforts towards adoption of a KAZA Univisa. She challenged private players in the bloc to thrive for seamless travel. For Zimbabwe, preliminary results indicate a total of 375 799 tourists were received in 2021, compared to 630 369 tourist arrivals received in 2020. Rwodzi said the region is showing confidence on destination Zimbabwe as shown by hosting the ten-day event. Africa’s Eden Tourism Association was established in 2020 as a first multi-country regional destination marketing campaign entirely driven by the private sector in the region, to promote the KAZA destination and wildlife areas. The aim of the association is to establish a globally recognised brand for the destination, create and implement a destination marketing campaign and strong travel and tourism linkages locally, regionally and globally. It seeks to be a marketing voice for the destination so as to create recognition for Victoria Falls as a tourism hub and gateway to the greater KAZA region.

Source: Daniel Jones, CAJ News