The Association of Southern African Travel Agents has added its voice to the outcry against the recent spate of attacks against foreign nationals.
ASATA shares the South African Department of Tourism’s view that these attacks do not reflect the sentiments of the nation, whose reputation as a welcoming and hospitable people has earned global recognition. South Africans pride themselves on their rich cultural and natural diversity. It is deeply regrettable that such irresponsible and criminal conduct could still find its way in society.
We would like to reiterate that tourism activity in the country remains unaffected and are encouraged by the swift and decisive action from the criminal justice system to end this senseless behaviour.
ASATA members stand ready to welcome visitors to South Africa and assist business travellers and holidaymakers who have chosen to travel across the destination.
ASATA will be rolling out two consumer campaigns over the coming months and is asking its members for feedback and advice to inform these.
The association’s new slogan “Travel with Peace of Mind” will be incorporated in to a variety of messages that will be added to ASATA’s Marketing Toolkit in a variety of formats for members’ use.
Examples of some of the messages members will be able to use across their marketing platforms include:
The second campaign is centred around demystifying travel aimed at explaining the idiosyncrasies of travel that consumers often do not know about, as well as highlighting the need for consumers to use an ASATA travel agent to navigate the world of travel.
ASATA travel agents are encouraged to share their stories about common consumer misconceptions around travel, e.g. changing a name on an air ticket is not as easy as simply changing a name.
The two campaigns are being devised currently based on the feedback of ASATA members and will be launched in the coming months.
The Tourism Business Council of South Africa, of which ASATA is a member association, met with Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom this week to discuss key issues that are impacting the travel and tourism sector in South Africa.
The New Immigration Regulation
Minister Hanekom confirmed he has requested a further 12-month moratorium on the introduction of the unabridged birth certificate. We support Minister Hanekom’s request for a moratorium on the implementation of the legislation regarding unabridged birth certificates, but we wish to see this extended to include the in-person visa requirements. There should be no time limit on the period of the moratorium. Rather, there needs to be a focus on the drivers for the moratorium which include the need for a full review on the Immigration Act, as announced by the President, to be concluded, that true industry input is welcomed and supported and that there is an opportunity to present, and that consideration is given to, global best practice.
The position of ASATA and TBCSA is clear; We want to see the removal of the requirement of unabridged birth certificates for children under the age of 18.
A number of action items where agreed upon on which we will report back in due course. While every effort is being made to have this requirement rescinded, members are reminded that the implementation is expected to proceed 01 June 2015.
ASATA CEO Otto De Vries is heading up the TBCSA’s Immigration Regulations Sub-Committee.
Revised B-BBEE Act
We raised our concern that although the charter has yet to be published the implementation date remains 01 May. The TBCSA subcommittee, of which Otto is a member, is meeting today (10 April) at the ASATA offices to discuss further comment to the re-aligned Tourisms B-BBEE scorecard which is now with the Dti and likely to be published for comment for no more than 60 days within the next week or two.
Our industry’s B-BBEE profile and in particular how our sector may have improved over the years will also be discussed, to support our comments to the Dti.