Category Archives: SATSA News

SATSA-Wesgro Garden Route Mega Fam hailed as resounding success

Participants in last week’s Garden Route Mega Fam, hosted by the Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) and Wesgro, have hailed the initiative as groundbreaking 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.

Storm erupts over Minister Gigaba’s Visa Regs and UBC announcement

When Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba delivered his statements on “easing” of visa requirements and “simplifying” Unabridged Birth Certificates (UBC) regulations for foreign minors, he could not have anticipated the backlash he received from all quarters of the travel and tourism sectors.

Confusing, vague, disappointing, ground-hog day – the responses came in thick and fast from associations, travel industry stakeholders and the general public.

SATSA immediately issued a release stating: “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.”

In subsequent interviews with SAFM, and Power FM, SATSA CEO David Frost slammed Minister Gigaba’s statements, saying they undermined the spirit of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s efforts to stimulate South Africa’s economy.

The Tourism Business Council of South Africa says Minister Gigaba’s announcement “doesn’t change anything”. Said TBCSA interim CEO Tshifiwe Tshivhengwa: “

Home Affairs is once again circling around this issue. We want this regulation to be completely removed to re-encourage the movement of people into South Africa if we are serious about creating jobs.”

The Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa said it remained concerned that measures announced by Minister Gigaba would “not result in any significant change in tourism arrivals to the country”.

Otto de Vries, CEO of the Association of Southern African Travel Agents, added his voice to the fray saying: “if South Africa wants to stimulate the economy, UBC requirements need to be scrapped for all travellers, including South Africans”.

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.

“We need urgent implementation of measures to improve visa requirements and immigration regulations so that President Ramaphosa’s vision of tourism contributing to the growth of South Africa’s economy can become a reality now, not later,” says Frost.

If Minister Gigaba’s recent statements feel a bit like ground-hog day, Tourism Update provides an interesting bit of background to explain how we got here.

Additional Coverage

  2. EWN
  3. NEWS 24
  5. EWN
  6. IOL
  8. FIN 24
  9. NEWS 24

Joburg Tourism launches visitor information centre in Sandton

Joburg Tourism has unveiled a new Visitor Information Centre (VIC) in Nelson Mandela Square, as well as an updated, fresh website and a mobi-app.

The Tourism Unit within the Department of Economic Development’s strategic objective is to promote Johannesburg towards being the number one African destination of choice for both business and leisure in an effort to:

  • Improve seasonality, length of stay and tourist spend during visits to Joburg.
  • Improve the diversity of the tourism offering in Joburg.
  • Build a positive image / perception for the city among local, national and international audiences.

“In line with the prioritisation of achieving increased visitor arrivals in the city and contributing towards the economic growth target of 5% by 2021, Joburg Tourism seeks ways of increasing its presence and footprint throughout Gauteng, at various strategic locations, which includes Nelson Mandela Square.

The new VIC is situated in the heart of Sandton, Africa’s most iconic square mile, and ideally placed for both business and leisure travellers, who are key to contributing towards growth targets outlined by the City’s administration.

“According to the Liberty Group report (Two Degree, released on 06/09/2017), Sandton has an annual average foot traffic in excess of 24 million, hence it serves as the perfect location for the new VIC,” says Cllr Leah Knott, MMC for Economic Development at the City of Johannesburg.   Joburg Tourism also currently operates a satellite VIC at Park Station.

Thus far, Joburg Tourism`s operations are guided by the City’s 10 Priority Implementation Plans (PIPs). The Tourism department contributes significantly to two of them, namely: 5% Economic Growth and Job Creation – reducing unemployment to under 20% by 2021.

The launch of the VIC is also an opportune time to unveil the upgraded, interactive Joburg Tourism website and the new Mobile App – which also present opportunities for tourism-related businesses (SMMEs) to list or verify their details and benefit from the exposure the site will provide and other related marketing initiatives.

Joburg Tourism Website and Mobi App Overview

One of Joburg Tourism’s core mandates is to provide online tourism information, along with online SMME and association support.  In order to embrace international technological trends and to remain competitive in the digital sphere, Joburg Tourism has developed a mobile app, while also redeveloping its website to be more user friendly, appealing and to make it mobi-friendly. The website will be launching as

In order to keep up with technological trends Joburg Tourism has developed a mobile app. The key difference between the website/mobi-site and the mobi app are that the website/mobi is not location based, has more information such as news articles, general information about Joburg, business registration, interactive regional map etc. The mobiApp is downloadable and installed as a mobile application and only contains essential listing and location information that a traveler will use whilst he is travelling. The mobi-app has some of the following functions:

  • Downloadable from Play Store and IPhone
  • Interactive with smartphone devices
  • Location based product listings (Location settings needs to be switched on)
  • Distance to various product listings
  • Provides nearest places of interest
  • Personalized trip and itinerary planner (Login required)
  • Add to favorites
  • Events feed which alerts visitor of new events
  • Ability to share listings via various channels e.g. WhatsApp, Social Media, Email, Pinterest etc.
  • Rate and establishment
  • Write reviews
  • Google map view which opens up Google GPS to navigate to product listing
  • Call establishment directly (Dials directly from device)
  • View travel packages

 The key difference between the Visit Joburg mobi-app compared to other destination applications is that any business can register to be on the Joburg Tourism database through the membership database platform and add their tourism packages. Once listed, the listing will automatically appear on the website, mobi-site and Mobile App. This is especially beneficial for an SMME product owner to be able to promote their offerings on all platforms and devices.

YTD inbound arrivals to South Africa down 1.55%

July international arrivals are out and marginally down at 0,32%, with year-to-date figures indicating a -1,55% decline in overseas arrivals.





YTD 2017

YTD 2018






5 879 067

6 008 445






1 502 561

1 479 315













897 218

876 884


North America




252 183

254 847









United Kingdom




259 039

246 063


United States




215 680

218 277






178 328

176 740













59 157

57 219






56 310

55 058






38 460

40 120


New Zealand




9 083

8 065



Global marketing campaign to show the world ‘nowhere does it better’ than the Western Cape - WESGRO campaign

With the tagline “Nowhere does it better”, Wesgro and the travel sector is going out to global markets with a new Marketing Campaign to aid the Western Cape’s “recovery”.

The new R12m marketing campaign will be available to the trade wishing to communicate to its trade and consumer customers that the Western Cape is indeed open for business.

The campaign is being jointly funded by Wesgro, South African Tourism and the Tourism Business Council of South Africa’s Collaborative Fund.

How can you get involved?

  1. Use the collateral that is being made available in your own marketing campaigns.
  2. Provide support for fam trips.
  3. Reach markets that are not being targeted as part of this campaign.

SATSA Western Cape Chapter president Illana Clayton calls on all SATSA members to leverage the campaign and called on industry to sing from the same hymn sheet, be it around water or safety and security. “There’s power in a single voice for global impact.” 

For more information, contact

Click here to see the campaign details.

Youth Tourism Association joins forces with SATSA

JOHANNESBURG, 1 OCTOBER 2018 – The Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) and South African Youth Travel Confederation (SAYTC) have announced they will be merging from 2019.

This followed a decision taken by SAYTC members at their recent AGM in the Cederberg, which saw members vote overwhelmingly to join SATSA and create the organisation’s first youth chapter.

Says SATSA CEO David Frost: “We are very excited by the merger between SATSA and SAYTC, which augurs well for both organisations. The addition of several hundred members from SAYTC will bring SATSA’s membership to over 1000 members, adding gravitas to and more responsibility for SATSA.”

SATSA represents a broad footprint of the inbound tourism sector, including tour operators, car rental companies, hotels, guesthouses, tourism activities and destination marketing organisations – from large, established companies to grassroots-level entrepreneurs. The addition of SAYTC members expands this footprint, incorporating even more diverse tourism product. SAYTC members will meanwhile benefit from SATSA’s lobbying efforts, membership benefits and market initiatives, adds Frost.

“We welcome the merger with SATSA, while retaining our unique identity as its youth chapter,” says Gavin Eyre, Chairman SAYTC. “Joining forces with SATSA was the logical way forward as we seek to expand our influence in the tourism sector and work jointly to boost inbound tourism to South Africa.”

You’re invited: Consultation Workshops on Tourism Transformation Strategy

You’re invited to attend the Department of Tourism’s Consultation Workshops on their Tourism Transformation Strategy

North West
9 October Rustenburg Orion Safari Lodge, Hotel and
Convention Centre
Limpopo 16 October Polokwane LEDET Auditorium, Cnr Suid and Dorp street (next to Peter Mokaba Stadium) RSVP
Northern Cape 18 October Kimberley Protea Hotel Kimberley RSVP
KwaZulu-Natal 19 October Durban Premier Hotel & Resort,
65 Kings Rd, Pinetown
Eastern Cape 8 November Port Elizabeth Garden Court Kings Beach RSVP
Free State 14 November Bloemfontein Bon Hotel, Bloemfontein central RSVP
Gauteng 20 November Johannesburg Emperors Palace RSVP
Western Cape 23 November Cape Town Cape Town Lodge Hotel and
Conference Centre

In the current financial year, the department approved the draft strategy for further consultation with tourism stakeholders. As a result, the department will embark on nation-wide consultations to solicit further inputs and comments from all tourism stakeholders.In 2017/18 financial year, the Department of Tourism developed a draft Transformation Strategy to catalyse and enhance the pace of transformation in the tourism sector.

The draft strategy can be accessed here.

Written comments and inputs can also be submitted by not later than 30 November 2018 to the Department of Tourism by either:

Post: Private Bag X424, PRETORIA, 0001 or
Hand delivery: 17 Trevenna Street, Tourism House, Sunnyside, PRETORIA, 0001

For enquiries, please contact Ms. Nontokozo Msane on (012) 444 6341

SATSA App: Download and Register

We are pleased to notify members that the ‘gremlins’ which plagued our SATSA App appear to have been resolved.  We would encourage you to download the App and register for access if you have not already done so. And for those who have already registered, please could we ask you to delete the existing App on your phone and re-download it. Your username and password will remain the same. If you have lost your username and password, please contact

To download the App, simply follow these links: