SATSA, the voice of South African inbound tourism, successfully held its 2023 conference over the weekend, focusing on the theme “Partnerships for Action, from Talk to Walk.”
The event brought together leaders from the tourism industry, government, and private sector to discuss the potential of partnerships that walk the talk so that tourism emerges as a catalyst for inclusive economic growth and sustainable development.
Oupa Pilane, Co-Chair of SATSA, emphasised the need for a shift in mindset and a more positive approach to engaging with the government. “As social partners, we need government to begin to trust us. Trust us so that we can grow tourism. We lay a foundation through structured engagement to deliberate on the best models on which we can all play for the same team – Team South Africa,” said Pilane.
A range of topics were discussed during the event, including sustainable and inclusive tourism development, SATSA’s tourism incubator, the extent of digitalisation in the tourism value chain, adventure tourism and trends in several of South Africa’s key source markets.
David Frost, CEO SATSA, also shared his pride in SATSA being an egalitarian organisation that speaks truth to power and fosters partnerships. “Our mantra for this conference is one team, one goal. Let’s play the same game,” he added.
One of the key challenges identified was the need for greater visibility in international marketplaces and addressing issues such as air capacity, reputational damage, and infrastructure constraints.
The conference concluded with a commitment to working together towards a common goal, with Tim Harris, acting chair of South African Tourism, stating, “Bottom line is we have one South Africa. The conference has been a partnership between SATSA and SA Tourism. We can continue with this way of working. Together we can do great things.”
Addressing delegates, Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille outlined her departments four key priorities and welcomed SATSA member input in achieving these. Among these was a call for input into a draft master plan guiding the tourism industry’s recovery.
SATSA remains dedicated to fostering collaboration and driving positive change in South Africa’s tourism industry, with a focus on an inclusive industry, sustainable growth and development. To that end, the conference also saw a robust discussion around a National Tourism Inclusivity Pledge, encouraging delegates to pledge themselves to building an inclusive industry.