Category Archives: Press Releases

Reminder of SATSA Chapter AGMs

Thank you to those members who have already shown interested in the SATSA Chapter AGMs. Those who have missed the emails, please remember to RSVP your attendance for the below Chapter AGMs to The meetings are open to any SATSA member, so if you find yourself in a different province during the meeting, you are welcome to attend.

The purpose of these meetings is to provide an update on the work of SATSA during the past year and to elect and/or confirm Chapter Committee members.

We are also honoured to have Hanneli Slabber from South African Tourism who will provide a Target Market education workshop. This will cover the Middle East, Turkey, China, Japan, South East Asia, India, Australia and New Zealand and the topics will include an overview of the county, how South Africa is performing, who is booking and how what they do during the visits, what SAT’s marketing plans are and how the industry can get involved.

Dates and Venues

Chapter Name Meeting Date Town Venue Start Time End Time
Limpopo 31-May Polokwane Limpopo Guest Manor 10:00 15:00
Garden Route 04-Jun Knysna Knysna Hollow 12:00 16:30
Mpumalanga 06-Jun Skukuza Nombolo Mdhluli Conference Centre 10:00 17:00
KwaZulu-Natal 07-Jun Durban Beverly Hills Hotel 12:00 17:00
Eastern Cape 10-Jun Addo Main Camp, Addo Elephant National Park 10:00 17:00
Gauteng 12-Jun Johannesburg The Houghton Hotel, “The Venue” 12:00 16:30
Western Cape 14-Jun Cape Town The Peninsula All-Suite Hotel 12:00 16:30

Looking forward to see you there!

SA Government to improve communication on requirement for UBC for foreign minors

South African Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom has confirmed that Government will be reissuing an advisory to clarify the recent changes to the regulations requiring foreign minors to produce Unabridged Birth Certificates.

Speaking at the Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa (BARSA) summit this morning, Minister Hanekom admitted that the changed regulations in the Government Gazette No. 10177 (dated 29 November 2018) had been communicated badly.

Minister Hanekom confirmed that the advisory issued by the Department of Home Affairs had been “contradictory” to the amended regulations and added that this had understandly contributed to the airline and travel industry’s confusion.

The Minister also confirmed to delegates that the Department of Home Affairs was working at changing the advisory note, so that it matches the revised regulations:

• If two parents are travelling from visa-free markets with their children, no documentation would be required.
• Any documentation that is required does not have to be obtained through a “sworn affidavit process”
• And that in the event of suspicion, children who are foreign nationals and who are visa exempt are strongly advised to carry supporting documents.

To view the Tourism Minister’s statements on the matter, click here.

David Frost appointed to board of South African Tourism

Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) CEO David Frost has been appointed by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, to the board of South African Tourism with immediate effect.

David is a former Special Advisor to Tourism Ministers Pallo Jordan and Vali Moosa. Thereafter, he was appointed as Managing Director of Tourvest’s Inbound Division. He subsequently set up his own tourism strategy consulting business, where he developed destination strategies for a number for SADC countries, the most successful of which was with Namibia in the mid-2000s. He has been at the helm of SATSA since September 2013.

David’s appointment has been lauded by leading tourism industry players. His deep understanding of source markets, distribution channels and consumer behaviour, as well as his passion for selling South Africa will provide an industry perspective to bolster SA Tourism’s activities, they say.

The appointment comes at a time when President Cyril Ramaphosa has publicly highlighted the role of tourism as a leading job creator, with the expectation that private sector will take the lead in untapping tourism’s potential.

“It is therefore important for industry board positions to be occupied by industry experts. All of us at the TBCSA are proud to have David on the SA Tourism Board. This will enhance our already strong partnership with them,” says Blacky Komani, chairperson of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa.

With decades of experience in the tourism industry, David is the most qualified person for the job, says Neil Markovitz, founder and Managing Director of Newmark Hotels, Reserves & Lodges.

“David’s operational background and global industry experience will contribute to a better understanding of our markets. More importantly, he can play a key role in addressing why our country hasn’t been able to grow to the extent that other countries have because of issues such as Open Skies and visa regulations.”

For Martin Wiest, Chief Executive Office Tourvest Destination Management, the fact that David has the ear of the industry means he can provide a strong link between SA Tourism and private sector and vice versa.

“The tourism industry and SA Tourism is not as connected as it should be and so this link would be invaluable.”

This sentiment is echoed by Craig Smith, Managing Director New Frontiers Tours. “David’s wealth of experience gives him a unique window on the workings of each aspect of the industry. His understanding of the industry encompasses how South Africa is perceived and represented in source markets, how to leverage this, and more importantly, what relevant key players require on the ground to support this.

“His appointment to the SA Tourism Board will bring an important communication link between the national directive and how this is represented to public sector, and in turn what the private sector requires to make this directive more effective.”

According to Craig, David is not afraid of frank talk and this is what is required to make local, provincial and national tourism entities more effective and understand the private sector requirements and the reality of doing business on the ground better. “On the other hand, he can also express to the private sector what their obligations are as mandated to SA Tourism as part of a broader picture.”

Mohamed Baba, Ilios Travel Managing Director and current board member of SA Tourism, says with David’s appointment comes an enviable level of private-sector inbound experience and knowledge that will bode well not only for SA Tourism, but for the whole country.” David’s presence on the board of SA Tourism is invaluable and will bring a new dynamic to our tourism sector and its ability to contribute to South Africa’s economy.”

SATSA Chair Tony Romer-Lee believes that David’s intimate understanding of the tourism industry will inform the country’s strategic tourism plans and tactical marketing.

“As a neutral link between SA Tourism and the tourism industry, David can identify the right people in the right markets and inform the country’s destination marketing efforts, in consultation with the travel industry, earlier in the planning cycle. He has this absolute ability to cut through the detail and see opportunities clearly.”

Says Frost on the appointment: “I’m deeply honoured to be appointed by the Minister. I have huge respect for team at SA Tourism and the great work they do. I would seek to foster closer synergies with the private sector around practical growth initiatives, that would amplify and enhance the current organizational strategy.”

Press Release: Update on Africa’s Travel Indaba

South African Tourism will reschedule this year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba.

This follows this evening’s State of the Nation address by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who confirmed that 08 May 2019 will be the date for the national elections.

Indaba was scheduled to take place from 06-09 May at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban.

The ICC also serves as the nerve centre for elections in the KwaZulu Natal province and takes priority over all other events.

“We are currently exploring all viable alternative options in light of the announcement of the election date,” said South African Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona.

“We also need to consult with our various partners and stakeholders and appreciate the understanding of our buyers, exhibitors and delegates who will now await a new date to attend Indaba.”

“We know the importance of Indaba to the travel industry and want to ensure that we are still are able to provide a world class show despite having to change the date,” added Ntshona.

The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) also added their voice.

“With dates confirmed upfront, buyers and exhibitors would’ve planned around the original date. There are also other global shows during this period, but we would like to re-assure the industry that despite the new date, Indaba will still be a fantastic show to attend and would like to encourage you to attend once the new date is confirmed,” explained TBCSA CEO, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa,

Indaba is Africa’s biggest travel and trade show with over 7 000 delegates from 80 countries attending last year’s event.

Yours in tourism,
David Frost

SATSA calls for scrapping of UBCs and public-private talks to boost tourism

South Africa’s tourism sector, represented by the Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA), has renewed its calls for the scrapping of Unabridged Birth Certificates outright, following today’s resignation by former Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.

“The issue of Unabridged Birth Certificates and onerous visa regulations to a certain extent had become personalised, but in fact, in many ways, it simply obfuscates the real conversation that has to take place,” says SATSA CEO David Frost.

“The requirement to carry Unabridged Birth Certificates is not about one person. Rather, it is a government position and it remains intact. We as the tourism sector are calling for a renewed effort and engagement to scrap them outright, as well as introduce a more visa-friendly regime for certain markets.”

While government pursues economic growth, tourism is the one sector that can deliver it quickly. “To do that, we need private sector to get a seat at the table to help inform what needs to happen to deliver on that growth,” concludes Frost.

As the SATSA Adage goes: “A luta continua”.

Garden Route Mega Fam hailed as resounding success

Participants in last week’s Garden Route Mega Fam, hosted by SATSA and Wesgro, have hailed the initiative as ground-breaking and a resounding success.

Some 45 buyers joined this first Garden Route Mega Fam, which saw participants split into five groups to experience five different itineraries, showcasing activities, attractions and accommodation in George, Knysna, Mossel Bay Oudtshoorn and Plettenberg Bay.

From whale watching to kayaking, wine tasting to horse-back safaris, the 45 attendees had an opportunity to experience the best the Garden Route has to offer, says SATSA Garden Route Chapter Chair Peter Dros.

A round-robin workshop kicked off the proceedings with 35 Garden Route tourism suppliers, from boutique hotels and tour operators to lodges and tourist attractions, in attendance to share the Garden Route’s many treasures. This was followed by three days of sampling first-hand what the Garden Route has to offer travellers.

This was her first visit to the Garden Route, says Kamilla Saban from African Wild Cat Charters, and now that she’s visited, she realises there is so much to do and see she’ll recommend staying longer at each stop. “I enjoyed the educational side with the highlight of my trip being a visit to the Olive Farm where I learnt so much about the processes of farming.”

Fellow participant Prashant Ramlakan from African Pride is an adrenalin junkie, so he was in the perfect group to cater to his interests. “I knew the Garden Route was special but didn’t realise how special until now. Think of anything and it can be done on the Garden Route.”

Dragonfly’s Jacolene van der Merwe said her highlight of the trip was the zipline experience, but she also gained destination knowledge that will help her with her client’s experiences in future. “I’ll ensure accommodation is booked in more central areas, so tourists can get to as many things as possible.”

The idea of a Mega Fam first arose a year ago, explains Dros. “We have SATSA to thank for initiating the Mega Fam and could not have imagined what a fantastic opportunity it became for local suppliers to connect with local buyers of tourism product and experiences.”

Dros thanked Wesgro for their support of this first initiative. “We would like to thank Wesgro for their efforts to help realise this event and their commitment to hosting another. We are also very grateful to all the suppliers who supported the Mega Fam, without whom we would not have been able to run such a successful event.”

This first Mega Fam serves as the basis for future such events, not only in the Garden Route but across South Africa, says Hannelie du Toit, SATSA Chief Operating Officer.

“SATSA represents a broad footprint of the inbound tourism sector and a successful collaboration like the one we have just seen between Wesgro and SATSA paves the way for future Mega Fams organised by other SATSA chapters and destination marketing organisations.”

To view all the photos from the trip, visit our Facebook Page.

Home Affairs birth certificate announcement confusing for travellers and "too little, too late" - SATSA CEO

JOHANNESBURG, 25 SEPTEMBER 2018 – While we were encouraged and optimistic last week with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcements that measures would be taken to make it easier for foreign tourists to visit South Africa, this morning’s press conference by Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba brought us right back to ground-hog day.

SATSA’s statement comes as Minister Gigaba confirmed this morning that while foreign minors travelling to South Africa will no longer be required to carry the Unabridged Birth Certificates, it is strongly recommended that they do. Immigration officials, he says, will only demand the documentation in high-risk situations.

“Following the President’s announcement, we had expected full clarity to be provided jointly by the Ministries of Tourism and Home Affairs on how the regulations would be amended to give effect to the President’s proposed changes to immigration and visa regulations to help stimulate the economy.

“Instead, Home Affairs issued an obfuscated message that serves only to confuse travellers, much in the way it did when the regulation was first introduced three years ago,” says David Frost, CEO Southern Africa Tourism Services Association, the voice of inbound tourism in Southern Africa.

Issuing an international travel advisory only in October, after today’s vague statements that a UBC may be requested by immigration officials, simply reintroduces the confusion we fought many years to dispel, and undermines President Ramaphosa’s attempts to make it easier for foreign travellers to visit South Africa.

“Our position from the start has been that this draconian, heavy-handed and nonsensical policy to combat child trafficking has no place in the modern economy. Rather, it should be dealt with through proper policing. Semantic changes to the regulation are not the solution,” says Frost.

“We believe the requirement to produce Unabridged Birth Certificates must be eliminated immediately across the board to ensure South Africa’s competitiveness as a tourism destination and remove any confusion around the requirements for foreign minors travelling to South Africa.”

We do, however, welcome moves by the Ministry of Home Affairs to introduce visa waivers for certain source markets. “We would have liked to have seen an immediate visa waiver for visitors from the Middle East, and New Zealand, a source market which has seen a decline of 30% in arrivals since visas were introduced.”

What South Africa’s tourism sector needs, while this process remains open-ended, is immediate action. “Our key markets of India and China remain constrained because of the inability of Home Affairs to issue visas timeously. We need urgent implementation of measures to improve visa requirements for these markets so that President Ramaphosa’s vision of tourism contributing to the growth of South Africa’s economy can become a reality now, not later.

South Africa’s restrictive immigration laws have greatly hampered the country’s attractiveness as a tourism destination, and subsequently impacted the number of tourists who choose to visit South Africa. It creates a barrier to entry with financial and/or opportunity cost that a prospective tourist needs to overcome in order to travel to South Africa.

“Making announcements regarding changes to immigration regulations, without providing proper clarity, is frankly too little too late.”

For more information, or to schedule an interview with David Frost, CEO SATSA, please contact Claire Lathe on 084 245 2189 or email:

Abolishing South Africa’s unabridged birth certificate regulations augurs well for tourism growth – SATSA CEO

JOHANNESBURG, 20 SEPTEMBER 2018 – After over three years of tireless lobbying by SATSA and industry partners, Cabinet has announced that it will be introducing amendments to regulations applying to foreign minors travelling to South Africa, which will be gazetted in October.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “Within the next few months, amendments will be made to the regulations on the travel of minors; the list of countries requiring visas for South Africa will be reviewed and an e-visa pilot will be implemented. The visa requirements for highly skilled foreigners will be revised.

“These measures have a huge potential to boost tourism and to make business travel into our country more conducive. Tourism continues to be a great job creator. Through these measures, we are confident that many more tourists will visit South Africa and South Africa opens its arms to welcome the millions of tourists who will be streaming our way following this architectural reconstruction.”

South Africa’s restrictive immigration laws have greatly hampered the country’s attractiveness as a tourism destination, and subsequently impacted the number of tourists who choose to visit South Africa.

“The requirement of carrying an unabridged birth certificate has been a hurdle that damages our competitiveness as a destination. It creates a barrier to entry with financial and/or opportunity cost that a prospective tourist needs to overcome in order to travel to South Africa,” says David Frost, CEO Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA), which is the voice of inbound tourism in Southern Africa, and has been at the forefront of campaigns to abolish the requirement since it was introduced in 2015.

The news comes as the Tourism Business Council of South Africa announced that business performance in the sector had declined in the first half of 2018.

The direct and indirect impact to the broader economy that this onerous entry requirement is estimated to have been a R7.5bn loss to the tourism economy. Overseas tourist arrivals to South Africa in the first six months of the year also indicate a decline of almost 2%, with reduced or stagnant tourist arrivals reported from most of South Africa’s key inbound markets.

Frost welcomed Cabinet’s decision to ease onerous visa requirements for certain markets. “We have already seen the positive impact that removing visa requirements has on inbound tourism, with the removal of visa regulation requirements for Russia. We have seen a 47% increase in arrivals for that market just in the second quarter of 2018, one of the only growing overseas market, albeit off a low base.”

Government, he says, should introduce visa waivers for key markets immediately. “We need decisive action and an easing or abolishment of visa requirements for source markets like China, India, New Zealand and the UAE immediately. We can’t wait another six months to implement visa waivers, we must act now.”

Says Frost: “I want to personally thank Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom and the Cabinet for their foresight in finally considering progressive changes to South Africa’s immigration regulations, which will have an overwhelmingly positive impact on our efforts to position South Africa as an attractive tourism destination.

“This is an indication of how seriously this Cabinet takes its mission to drive South Africa’s inclusive economic growth, and the long-awaited recognition of tourism’s role as a critical sector in helping them achieve their ambitions goals.”

Frost further encourages government to make budget available for the tourism sector to get out to South Africa’s key markets, as a matter of urgency, and spread the word that the destination is making it easier for travellers to visit.

For more information, or to schedule an interview with David Frost, CEO SATSA, please contact Natalia Rosa on 083 449 4334 or email:

Want your product to be visible to global agents year-round?

Gain access to a global travel agent community without moving an inch from your desk.
SATSA has secured a generous discount for its members to participate in Travel Expo 365 – an online marketing platform which reaches 104,000 qualified travel agents globally.

Click here to request an online demonstration.

What is Travel Expo 365?

Travel Expo 365 is an engaging online marketing platform driving revenues and increasing profitability for travel companies 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The platform delivers global visibility and a global reach to 104,000 qualified agents, many of whom have not yet visited traditional travel trade exhibitions.

Click Here to Watch the Travel Expo 365 video

Click Here to Summary of the Travel Agent Breakdown by Market Share

Click Here to Review of the Travel Expo 365 Platform Features and Functionality

What does the Travel 365-SATSA partnership mean for members?

SATSA has partnered with Travel Expo 365 to provide SATSA members with stands in the SATSA Hall. SATSA will run a number of global promotion events throughout the year to promote the membership to the Travel Expo 365 agent community.

A stand at Travel Expo 365 is available 24/7, 365 days a year and includes:

  • Face-to-face meetings with delegates
  • Your stand is never offline
  • Attendees have their own event bag to download collateral
  • Data Capture and your own analytics
  • Text Chats, audio or video chats for 1-to-1 online meetings

What will Travel Expo 365 do for your business?:

  • Generate new business – spend more time with existing clients, network, improve product knowledge, learn about the latest industry developments.
  • Showcase your product – reach more buyers globally, instant notifications.
  • Be Exclusive, Engaged and Operational – easy set-up, sign up once and pay once for the year, enhance your marketing and sales, update your marketing collateral as often as you wish, remain relevant to buyers.
  • Manage your Content – Curate and manage your own video channel content online, interactive schedule of events, presentations, product development and discussions, webinar presentations, showcase featured content on behalf of sponsors or partners.

Click here to request an online demonstration.

New Initiative to Accelerate Youth Employment

Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator is a not-for-profit social enterprise that builds solutions to address the “mismatch of demand and supply” in the youth labour market.

Harambee, in partnership with the National Business Initiative and together with government and implementing partners, has launched an initiative to facilitate pathways into technical occupations for large numbers of youth who show potential, but face numerous barriers in accessing such pathways. The initiative will unlock entry-level opportunities in the areas of Installation, Repair and Maintenance (IRM) across a range of different sectors.

The initiative with its multiple exit pathways provides an opportunity for employers looking to tap into a technical skills talent pool for its entry-level employment needs, enterprise & supplier development incubation and apprenticeship opportunities.

If you or your company would like to participate in the pilot running from June 2018 to December 2019, please click here for more information and contact details.