Sunday, May 24, 2015

South African Airways enabler for tourism, driver of economic growth — Bezuidenhout

The Acting Chief Executive of South African Airways (SAA), Nico Bezuidenhout, said the airline has specific and important role to play as an enabler for tourism and a driver of economic growth through trade. While speaking on the SAA’s continued support of the economy and tourism, he said “Tourism has always been and remains an important catalyst for growth in South Africa. It supports one in every 12 jobs in South Africa (SA) either directly or indirectly.”

Speaking at the just concluded Indaba travel show, Bezuidenhout said through the airline’s implementation of its 90-Day Action Plan that it has been able to bring stability to the industry. The SAA Group supports tourism through an integrated offering. SAA, is a Skytrax four-star rated domestic, continental and inter-continental airline; Mango, the Group’s Low Cost Carrier (LCC), one of the most successful LCCs on the continent, profitably serving primarily domestic routes and Zanzibar.

Voyager, Africa’s leading airline loyalty programme; SAA Cargo; Air Chefs, its catering arm; and South African Airways Technical, the leading FAA-accredited maintenance facility in Africa. “Tourism numbers are staggering. The Oxford Economics study estimates that approximately 615 000 people are directly employed by the tourism industry while a further 451 000 jobs are indirectly linked to the sector and 312 000 people are directly supported through the household spend of tourism workers.
- See more at:


Due to the general scarcity of aviation fuel (Jet A1) in the country, the airline will not be able to operate over 80% of her domestic flights as scheduled.

In the last few weeks, the supply of aviation fuel has been very irregular, which has compelled the airline to cancel some flights. We apologize to our esteemed customers for the inconvenience they may have been experiencing due to flight delays and cancellations caused by the scarcity of aviation fuel.

We urge our customers to always check our website at or contact the call centre agent on 016284140 to affirm if their scheduled flight will operate.                  

Aero regrets any inconvenience the changes will cause. All measures are being made to ameliorate the situation and revert to her regular flight schedule. We hope that the situation improves very soon.


South Africa seeks African co-operation to advance tourism course

By Jimoh Babatunde

South Africa for three days brought together African tourism stakeholders to do business with the best tourism buyers from around the world as it hosted its 25th Tourism Indaba in Durban . The Indaba tourism show which ended Monday had over 1,000 exhibitors from 20 African countries, about 2,000 buyers from the world’s tourism source markets and about 750 members of the media.

It was an opportunity for the South African government and its people to tell Africans and the world that the recent attacks on foreign nationals in the country, Xenophobia, was not in their character as they are open to people of diverse nature. According to the Chief Executive of South African Tourism, Thulani Nzima, “the success of the South African tourism industry is inextricably bound to that of the African continent.”

This view was shared by the South African Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom, during the opening ceremony when he said they are united in their resolve to build the positive brand of Africa as a continent of unparalleled tourism opportunities and to enhance tourism as a mainstream economic sector, “a sector of hope for Africa and its people.”

He disclosed that on the African continent, tourism directly and indirectly supports 20.5 million jobs and represents 8.1 % of Africa’s gross domestic product. “In some countries , more than 50% of their GDP comes from tourism.”

Hanekom explained that international arrivals in Africa increased to 56 million tourists last year and are expected to grow by between three and five percent in in 2015, “this will probably exceed the projected growth in global arrivals, which is between three and four percent.” He added “ in South Africa, taking the direct and indirect impacts of tourism together, our tourism sector now contributes over nine percent of gross domestic product and supports over 1.5 million job opportunities countrywide. And it continues to grow.”
Ndaba dance
SA's tourism minister dancing with the Benin republic team at Indaba

The Minister noted that Indaba embraces a spirit of partnership, of collaboration and winning together. “Exhibitors are the real heroes of Indaba, driving growth in tourist receipts and delivering on the promises they made in marketing their destinations. “Tourism is a fantastic South African success story, growing ahead of other economic sectors, creating jobs and attracting foreign direct spend and investment in South Africa. This year the Indaba theme recognizes the vital importance of the tourism industry and exhibitors on the trade show floor. They are the team that is helping the continent forward.”

Derek Hanekom noted that Indaba is a critical component of growing tourism to South Africa as it gives exhibitors a premium platform to showcase their products and services as well as do business with the world. “The direct result of a successful Indaba is sustained growth in receipts, investment in infrastructure, thriving tourism businesses and growing numbers of people employed in the industry.”

Speaking on the marketing efforts of the South African Tourism, its Chief Executive, Thulani Nzima, said their marketing efforts are paying off, “while South Africa is justifiably world-famous as a premier safari destination, the heritage and culture attractions of our destination are now compelling reasons to visit South Africa too. “Most importantly, South Africans are warm, friendly and welcoming people. It is the South African people , as much as the destination, that make for an unforgettable travel experience.”

Nzima said South African Tourism works with its partners in the trade to position the tourism Indaba as the only distinctly African global travel trade show in the world, uniquely born in Africa to grow the African travel sector.

African tourism ministers meeting

In positioning Indaba to grow African tourism, the South African Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom, hosted the second annual African Tourism Minister Summit to discus issues pertaining to the growth and development of tourism on the continent. Hanekom noted that the African region has many assets for tourism development, but challenges to infrastructure development, visa facilitation and connectivity and the financing of tourism development have the potential to offset the African tourism growth.

He said though Africa is overwhelmed by social and economic challenges, “but when consider the huge potential that tourism offers the continent, we must embrace our task of working together to advance our collective strengths and address our challenges.” He said tourism is already changing lives, creating jobs and building communities and that it has potential to change even more lives for the better. “Africa is home to 15% of the world’s population, but receives only about four percent of the world’s tourists.

Imagine if we , collectively , grew our share of global tourist receipts to 15%. Imagine the jobs we could create, the lives we could impact and the change for better we could affect across Africa.” Hanekom noted that Africa needs to support each other and stand up for each other, “we need to work, collectively, on the perception that the world has of our continent and put our collective will into action to advance Africa. When we support each other , and when we learn from each other , we build success . Your success is our success and our success is your success.“
- See more at:

Durban : Beyond xenophobia, a city of delights

By Jimoh Babatunde

When the call came from TopCom if I will be willing to join them for this year’s Indaba Travel exhibition in South Africa, I asked to be given time to discus with my editor. Though , I was at home when the call came through, I told my wife that I might be travelling to Durban, South Africa. Before she uttered any word, my daughter who was sitting close by said ‘’Daddy, don’t you know what is happening there?’” . I asked what? Pretending not to know where she was heading for. She answered “ Xenophobia.”
I laughed and my wife just added, be careful. That was the same advice given by my Deputy Editor, Eze Anaba, “be careful.” So, I set out on the appointed date with other selected travel trade stakeholders for the trip to Durban , the city which evokes different images to different people.

After making the journey from the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos to Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, aboard South African Airways for almost six hours, I could not wait to fly to Durban to have a deserving rest . And that was what I had checking into the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani Hotel, Durban.
Dolphin show

The Marine beach front from the 29th Floor , Southern Sun, Maharani , Durban. Pictures by Jimoh babatunde

Situated on the spectacular Durban beach front, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani is undoubtedly the brightest star on the Golden Mile. From my room on the 29th floor of the hotel, I woke up the following morning to see the beautiful sun splashed on the city’s finest beach front of gorgeous stretches of golden sands, separated by artificial piers. Tourists and locals jogging while some were surfing.

I didn’t know I was going to get immerse in the beauty of the beach, until later in the day when the South Africa Tourism took the over 150 hosted journalists from around the world that converged in the city of Durban for the Indaba on a tour. We were split into a group of four in order to experience the beauty of the city of Durban in a truly South Africa way.

Each of the group experience a different face of the city and its surroundings with activities ranging from Shark cage, diving to a luxury yacht cruise, a cultural and heritage immersion as well as rickshaw ride on the foremost beach front. As my group of adventurers set out from the International Convention Centre (ICC), we had the fortune of having the CEO, South African Tourism, Thulani Nzima and Hollywood actor, Hakeem Kae-Kazim.
With Kazeem posing some riddles, one of the answers to the riddles showed that our first point of call will be the famous Moses Mabhida Stadium that hosted some of the matches of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Moses Mabhida Stadium tour

A mere 500 steps separate one from the city’s most spectacular view from the top of the stadium that dominates the skyline with its gorgeous arch and curves. There are two ways to get to the top of the 106m high arch. There’s the SkyCar ride for those who can’t wait to reach the top, and then there is the Adventure Walk for those who are up for a bit of a workout.

As we set out for the tour of the stadium, some chose the adventure of going up the famed stadium arch. As the leader of the group, Jessica, a journalist from Australia; Nontsikelelo, a South African based journalist and I decided to join the South African Tourism team led by Nzima on the leisurely 20-minute walk to the top.

As others were being strapped for the adventure, I had a change of mind, but that did not stop others as they set for the big swing platform where they took the brave leap into the stadium bowl. I didn’t have the guts, so also was Nontsikelelo, who decided to return after climbing the 500 steps to get to the top.

Under the watchful eye of qualified instructors, Nzima took the first jump into the blue sky of Durban that sunny afternoon, followed by Kazeem and then Jessica. As they jumped off , they made terrifying sounds.
The team moved to uShaka Marine along the beach front. uShaka Marine World in Durban developed out of a vision to create a world-class entertainment .

uShaka Marine World Incorporates fresh and sea water, natural materials, the re-creation of a wreck of a 1940’s cargo ship, with the 5th largest aquarium in the world by volume of water, coupled with indigenous African imagery, lush vegetation and maritime images of the Port of Durban, plus a water slides amusement park, uShaka is a complete ‘Marine World’.

At the uShaka Marine world
The park is tastefully themed with a focus on family entertainment in terms of fun, excitement, friendliness, imagery, activities, education and unique experiences, grouped into five distinct areas. Since I failed to summon enough courage to take a jump at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, I took the challenge to go shark hunting at the uShaka marine world.

The Shark cage experience presented a greater challenge as one immersed himself into a world of living sharks. It was difficult breathing under the water,but was encouraged by Indeewari, a fellow journalist from Sri Lanka, to go under water. Some sharks circle the cage whilst others glide slowly past. The Shark Dive is the easiest way to get close to these magnificent creatures.

Dolphin World

The beloved dolphins, including the world-famous Gambit, enthralled us with their grace and strength in their new and enormous 1200-seater stadium. We sat in the specially designed viewing windows that enabled tourists to see the animals both above and below the water.

South African Tourism Boss, Nzima, taking a jump from the arch at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban

After exploring the beauty of the marine world, the team joined the other journalists at the KwaMuhle Museum where everybody was treated to entertainment of traditional songs and dances.
On approaching KwaMuhle Museum one is immediately struck by the elegance of the arch lined veranda and large sturdy copper covered entrance doors As I returned to my hotel room, I was thinking of the best way to capture my experience back home that Durban is indeed not about xenophobia. but a delight-some destination. -

See more at: