Private enterprises stand to benefit from a new government-lead drive to grow domestic tourism, but corporate South Africa has a significant role to play.
Business travel has become crucial in an economic growth strategy that aims to attract more than $100-billion in new investment over the next five years.
Key to this strategy is the development of domestic travel. Not only is domestic travel for business purposes good for the economy, but it also supports and creates employment opportunities and improves the country’s tourism product and competitiveness. That means more tourists, more revenue, and good news for the South African economy.
Speaking at Africa’s Travel Indaba in Durban this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that, when a South African stays at a local accommodation or bed and breakfast establishment, for business, pleasure or a ‘bleisure’ (mix of both), they help to grow these SMME travel entities and create offshoot opportunities for others, because an influx of visitors means more employment for tour guides, shuttle services and chauffeurs, and caterers, which ultimately improves the overall experience for international tourists too.
More global market share resulting from a better tourism product will help to drive foreign investment, strengthen the Rand and create business opportunities. Support for the domestic travel sector will support economic growth and mean better prospects for you and your organisation.
As a non-profit organisation representing the travel industry, the Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA) recognises it too has a role to play. We aim to support another of the president’s points, which not only encourages stronger public-private partnerships, including the development of SMME supplier training, but also to lobby government on policy and regulation that will encourage growth and not hinder it, consequently helping to create sustainable jobs in the industry, both directly and indirectly.
We echo President Cyril Ramaphosa’s sentiments that the development of the domestic travel sector will require a united national effort. Together, public and private entities can grow the economy and deliver a better travel experience for the foreign visitors, locals and you, the business travel.