Welcome, Tony!

Dear SATSA Members

It’s been less than a week in my new role as Chairperson and I’ve already hit the ground running, trying to fill the large shoes left by Gavin Courtenay. The tourism, hospitality, and conferencing industries are rallying together against the Cape Town water crisis. I can assure you that we are working hard to push for the answers that we need in order to protect the Cape’s and our country’s reputation and run sustainable operations in the long-run. This is after all a national crisis, not just a local one.

Other than the water crisis, SATSA is working hard to address industry issues through initiatives in transformation, animal interaction, tourism safety and the Tourism Conservation Fund. Our next board meeting will take place later this month and will be dedicated to developing SATSA’s strategic focus for 2018.

To prepare, we really want to understand how you have enjoyed your SATSA membership experience. In this newsletter is the 2018 Membership Survey which we implore you to complete in order to assist us to make informed strategic decisions.

I am looking forward to experiencing all that comes with this role and am open to any ideas or suggestions from our members. Please feel free to contact me directly on Chairperson@satsa.co.za or through the National Office.

Yours in tourism,

Tony Romer-Lee
SATSA Chairperson

2018 Training dates released for SATSA Tour Operator Course

As you know SATSA has for many years run an Introductory Course for Tour Operators. Over time the course has been refined to offer a solid grounding in the fundamental skills required to design, develop, market and operate travel packages and tours to a discriminating travel public. The course is open to anyone and you do not have to be a SATSA member to join.

The five-day course includes light lunch and refreshments daily and takes place at the SATSA Offices (Rosebank Terrace North, 23-25 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank 2196) at a cost of R5000.00. On completion of the course, all candidates receive a SATSA Training certificate.

The planned training dates for Gauteng in 2018 are as follows:
• 5-9 February
• 9-13 April
• 4-8 June
• 13-17 August
• 8-12 October
• 3-7 December

Training in other provinces are done on demand at 20 minimum per class. You are welcome to add your name to the waiting list.

For more information, please contact Lin Smith on lins@satsa.co.za or 084 800 5576.

Have your say about SATSA

As a member-driven association it is critical for SATSA to understand from our members what we should be doing more of and what we can improve on.

We have developed a quick survey which won’t take more than 10 minutes to complete. This is your opportunity to help guide the SATSA 2018 strategic focus.

We want to know what your membership experience is like. What are we doing right? Where can we improve? What opportunities do you think we should take advantage of?

For input into our Board strategy session later this month, please complete the survey here.

SATSA updates industry on status of Cape Town water crisis

The message is clear – keep booking clients to visit Cape Town. South African Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona, Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, and COO Tsogo Sun Hotels, Ravi Nadasen attended a Johannesburg panel discussion hosted by SATSA on the Cape Town water crisis.

The good news is that the water crisis will have little impact on key tourist attraction sites and the city has already begun diversifying its water sources. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is already off the municipal grid, a desalination plant is being installed to supply water to The Westin, the Cullinan and V&A Waterfront hotels, and details are being finalised to source alternative water supplies for Table Mountain and other key sites. Hotels and other businesses are also doing what they can to take the burden off the city’s grid.

It’s clear that the messaging to overseas clients going forward needs to change. GDS data on forward air bookings into Cape Town from various airports around the world reveals an average decline of 13% in booking for April 2018 compared to April 2017.

In an attempt to change perceptions, Sisa Ntshona is embarking on an international roadshow with the aim of speaking to international media, speaking to the customers who sell South Africa, and making sure international bodies such as UNWTO recognise how South Africa is leading the conversation on water sustainability in tourism.

To keep you up to date with any progress, we’ve launched a Cape Town Water Crisis Information centre on the SATSA website. You can access the page here.

Tim Harris will address both the SATSA Western Cape and KZN Chapter meetings on the water crisis in upcoming meetings, 15 February and 26 February respectively.

Invitation to serve on the SATSA Transformation Sub-Committee

Transformation is a national imperative and therefore an area that SATSA prioritises. As Mohamed Baba so eloquently put it at the SATSA 2017 Conference transformation was more about considerably growing the tourism sector, and not about replacing those who already operate in the sector. “All of you still here, just multiplied by 3”.

As you know we have established a board sub-committee that will look at SATSA’s strategy and plans for transformation. We anticipate that the sub-committee will focus on Training, Mentorship, Equity Investments and Market Access.

We would like to invite any SATSA member who feels that they might add value to volunteer to serve on this sub-committee. This is your opportunity to strategically guide and be involved in how SATSA works for you and the industry.

We will endeavour to make meetings as effective as possible and potentially conduct these virtually.

Should you wish to volunteer, please forward your name, company and contact details to Tintswalo Mashale on 011 886 9996 or reception@satsa.co.za by 19 February 2018.

Market your business on the SATSA website

SATSA’s website receives on average 36,500 page views a month ranging from users in South Africa to key overseas markets including the UK, US, Netherlands, etc. It’s the ideal platform to get your message across to the right client – the overseas and local buyer.

Your membership includes a dedicated mini website within the SATSA website. Members are however required to populate these mini website themselves. If you have not done so, please contact our web-site manager, Pat Lister, on support@satsa.com for assistance.

To be top of mind SATSA also offers three advertising options for you to take advantage of on the SATSA website:

1. Billboard Banner
Includes: 1920pixel X 450pixel animated or static banner, 9 sec duration, links to internal or external pages and social networks.
Contracts available from 3 to 12 months starting from R2500.00 per month (Inc Vat)

2. Side Pane Long Banner
Includes: 300pixel X 450pixel animated or static banner, 9 sec duration, links to internal or external pages and social networks.
Contracts available from 3 to 12 months starting from R600.00 per month (Inc Vat)

3. Side Pane Square Banner
Includes: 300pixel X 350pixel animated or static banner, links to internal or external pages, and links to social networks.
Contracts available from 3 to 12 months starting from R400.00 per month (Inc Vat)

For more information on advertising banners or to book your campaign contact Celeste Visser on celeste@satsa.co.za or 011 886 9996.

SATSA Chapter Meetings Update

Some of our chapters are already preparing for their first Chapter Meetings of the year, with CEO, David Frost, attending to give members an overview of tourism in 2017.

Chapter meetings are as follows:
• Mpumalanga – 12 February, Graskop Gorge Lift Company
• Limpopo – 13 February, Magoebaskloof Canopy Tour
• Western Cape – 15 February, The Forum – V&A Waterfront
• Eastern Cape – 19 February, The Boardwalk Hotel
• Garden Route – 15 March, Herolds Bistro and Bar, Oubaai
• Gauteng – 16 March, Venue to be confirmed

Please RSVP to Sharon@satsa.co.za to guarantee your attendance.

To view some other industry events, visit out Tourism Events Calendar.

We look forward to seeing you!

Farewell to Safari Stalwart and Legend – Russel Friedman

Wilderness Safaris is devastated at the loss of one of its co-founders and true safari stalwart, legend and Wilderness champion, Russel Friedman. Russel tragically passed away from a heart attack on Sunday morning, 4 February – at least doing something he really loved: mountain biking with good friends.

The longest-serving and one of three original Wilderness Safaris co-founders, Russel joined Wilderness in 1984, playing a pivotal part in its growth and development.

He will be enormously missed, not only by his family (wife Bonnie and daughter Gabi) but by many in the vulture conservation community, the book dealer and publishing world, the cycling fraternity and of course, several generations of Wilderness Safaris employees who he mentored and guided – always with the best and most generous intentions.

In the 1970s, Russel had been instrumental in founding the Vulture Study Group and pioneering a change in attitudes to these birds (hence his nickname ‘Vulcha’), and by the early 1980s was running the country’s most influential natural history book dealer and publisher. It was through the book business that he met Colin Bell and Chris MacIntyre, the two other founding partners of Wilderness Safaris. He supplied them, and a host of other naturalists, with books and material for their overland safaris into Botswana and Zimbabwe from Johannesburg. It wasn’t long though before he joined the fledgling business, quickly making a substantial impact not only with his conservation ethos, but also his considerable business acumen. Russel’s enormous contribution to the development of Wilderness Safaris is one that is not widely enough known.

To this day, after some 34 years of passionate commitment, Russel was still an integral part of the Wilderness Safaris family and business. As the founder and chair of the Wilderness Trust, and later on Children in the Wilderness as well, he was often the company’s conscience in the areas of ethics, community and conservation. Fondly known as “Papa Smurf”, Russel was also a brilliant photographer and the driver of the Tour de Wilderness mountain bike events, raising funds for Children in the Wilderness and the Trust and making an incredible contribution to the empowerment of Africa’s people and the protection of its wilderness areas.

“It is with deep sadness and regret that we share this news with you, but also with deep gratitude that we remember Russel and the role he played in our lives and the life of the company. His love of life, passion for conservation and his immense integrity will be missed by all who knew him,” said Keith Vincent, Wilderness Safaris CEO.

Define Your Foreign Language Guide Training Needs

The Department of Tourism is currently conducting a survey to understand the proficiency and foreign language training needs of tourist guides. The findings from the survey will assist the Department to determine future foreign language training programmes for the tourist guiding sector.

If you have any views to share on these training needs, as a tour operator, please complete the questionnaire by 28 February 2018. Share your experiences and indicate the foreign language proficiencies that are critical for your organisation and towards the delivery of a memorable tourism experience. You can access the questionnaire here.

The questionnaire will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Please note that the findings will be kept confidential and responses used for research purposes only.

For more information, please contact: Ms Bakang Makolomakwe on (012) 444 6626

What to expect on Cape Town's Day Zero?

In 10 weeks engineers will turn off water for a million homes as this South African city reacts to one-in-384-year drought. The rich are digging boreholes, more are panic-buying bottled water, and the army is on standby

Cape Town faces Day Zero: What happens when the city turns off the taps?  by Jonathan Watts in Cape Town

Click here to view the article.