Q&A: Exciting Times

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In your new role, what do you hope to achieve over the next year?

My focus will be on the business development of SATC and that of the franchisees. Also, I’ll be looking at the enhancement and clear articulation of our value position, with a focus on our Africa roll-out strategy. I also plan to keep a keen eye on identifying additional revenue streams, which, I think, is a given.

What are the advantages of being a subsidiary of South African Airways?

There are a couple of things. There’s the association with a strong brand of a national carrier, shareholder support, an entrenched African strategy and, of course, a great reputation.

Conversely, what are some of the challenges you anticipate?

In terms of challenges, it will be to elicit the SATC brand to be distinct from SAA, and this is a priority. This will entail ensuring that the SATC offering is not viewed and limited to South African Airways only, but that it offers the entire travel portfolio. As a result, we would have to introduce an organisational paradigm shift internally.

Give us some insight into your experience and how this experience will inform how you tackle your new position, as CEO of SATC?

I have over ten years of airline and travel experience, ranging from corporate to retail sales and direct sales. Through that experience I’ve developed strong sales and customer service skills, underpinned by strong leadership, along with training and practice as an executive coach. I also have experience in stakeholder management, with regards to both private and public sector, and that is also a big advantage.

What do you enjoy most about the travel industry?

I enjoy exposure to different markets, which, in turn, provides great insights and learnings. Also, working in the travel industry, you often have the time and ability to reflect, as the nature of the industry affords you that time away from your normal environment.

What are some of the exciting opportunities arising in the industry?

A couple of things stand out. Firstly, technology development and offerings. Secondly, enterprise and job creation. Lastly, being positioned on the African continent, which is the third largest in displaying economic growth.

What challenges do you think your industry faces?

There’s the possibility of another economic downturn, which would obviously be challenging. However, this will improve as the economy grows and more discretionary spend is made available. This may be medium to long term. There’s also disintermediation of travel agents slow in adopting the available technology and resistant in embracing transformation of the sector, as well as identifying the niche market.

What distinguishes SATC from its competitors?

I would say it’s the ownership by the national carrier – South African Airways – and their management of independently-owned franchisees. Also, there’s our track record of proven experience, which now stands at 14 years of existence.

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