It’s been an exciting week since our esteemed AAVEA board member Hulisani Thabela attended the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA)’s Tourism Leadership Conference at the popular attraction, Sun City, in the Northern Province and we are sharing her invaluable feedback about the experience.

Thabela, who represents the City of Tshwane on our AAVEA board, attended the TBCSA conference from Wednesday 14 to Friday 16 September 2022. There seemed to be a great need for a conference of this nature as there was an oversubscription and full attendance of delegates.

Paired with a “family meeting” feeling where it felt like tourism industry peers were talking to and with each other, the delegates were mostly C-Level professionals, adding to the leadership theme.

The TBCSA Tourism Leadership Conference was well attended. Image credit: Hulisani Thabela

Hulisani’s key takeaways from the three day conference are:

    • Integration is key: There’s a growing call for regional integration in SADC and intra-African travel that AAVEA must be involved in the conversation or as it supports our African agenda. The African market is what is driving the majority of inbound tourism recovery to SA.
    • COVID-19 had some some positive gains for the tourism industry: There were gains we got from COVID-19 – Locals rediscovered our country and our tourism businesses and attractions adjusted their pricing to reflect the market requirements. We should not lose these as we recover. e.g. slow travel and workcations are here to stay.
    • Balance to be reached between domestic and international travellers: The domestic market was the driver of the tourism sector’s resilience and post-COVID-19 recovery trajectory. We now need to look at how to balance this with the eventual return of the international markets.
    • Diversity is important: Diversification of our product offering is a key focus for national government – tourism attractions and visitor experiences are important here.
    • Tourism is the sum of the whole: Tourism is also asset management, property development etc. so we shouldn’t reduce it to accommodation, tour operators only etc. This is important for us at the City of Tshwane as we look to diversifying our revenue streams to include direct tourism revenue from the sizeable assets in our resorts, nature reserves, galleries, and museums etc. This also speaks to the need to professionalise the tourism attractions management space and we look forward to working with AAVEA to enhance this capacity in the City of Tshwane.
    • More conferences are needed: The TBCSA conference’s frequency has not yet been decided, but it has been agreed that a post-conference report will be compiled and shared with delegates, some of whom will be tasked with helping to implement the conference resolutions. AAVEA will certainly avail itself to support the implementation and make an impact on the 2030 Tourism Growth Strategy.

For the full conference report, please click here.