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Meetings Africa 2020, advancing Africa’s tourism interests

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321 exhibitors from 20 African countries,  313 buyers from across the globe, and delegates welcomed to the “largest” Meetings Africa convention in Johannesburg – with 100 per cent of the exhibition floor sold out.

Taking that Africa’s tourism is growing each year, with buyers all over the globe looking to invest, buy and explore what the continent has to offer. Meetings Africa has for 15 years created a platform for key business tourism sector players to come together to advance the tourism interests of the African continent. 

Delegates from all over the globe were welcomed by the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane at the  Sandton Convention Centre, to share in the experience of Africa’s tourism.

” Meetings Africa is a Pan-African Business Events trade show, which has been in existence for 15 years aimed to showcase Africa’s diverse offering of services and products where African associations and African meetings industry professionals can partner to help transform our continent.”

Tourism contributes greatly towards Africa’s economy and it has grown to be an inclusive space where large and small communities, big businesses or start-ups and individuals can benefit as well help contribute towards economic growth.

This year we see the tourism industry directly and indirectly sustaining more than 250 000 jobs, contributing an estimated R115 billion to South Africa’s economy.

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Schools shutdown following rise in Covid-19 cases

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President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on matters relating to the COVID-19 pandemic at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, on 15 March 2020. PHOTO: Phill Magakoe / AFP

Institutions around South Africa had to shutdown due to rise in Coronavirus cases. This also comes after a Univeristy of Wits students tested positive for the virus.

We saw the vice-chancellor of the University of Johannesburg’s Vice-Chancellor Tshilidzi Marwala  shutdown all classes as well as graduation ceremonies at the univeristy.

The University of Kwa-Zulu Natal and the University of Cape Town has also joined the universities closing down amid the Coronavirus outbreak in South Africa.

“The UKZN academic programme is suspended (including tests) with immediate effect until further notice pending further engagements on a sector-wide approach regarding contact classes,” says the university.

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Celebrating those who are at the forefront of tourism

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Tourist Guide Anelisa Zigana from the Western Cape who scored 100% in the Mandarin language training programme

Day 2 of the “2020 INTERNATIONAL TOURIST GUIDE DAY” celebrations were to acknowledge guides and their achievements.

Twenty Tourist guides from Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng receiving their Mandarin language training certificates.

“The Department of Tourism has over the last 3 years trained 110 new entrants and up-skilled more than 140 existing guides in a number of areas,” said National Registrar of Tourist Guides, Morongoe Ramphele.

The focus on day two was on sharing tourist guides’ success story, tourism safety and handover of certificates to the Mandarin language learners.

Language barriers, one of the issues which the tourism industry guides experience daily. The initiated programme was implemented to mend these issues.

“The numbers of registered tourist guides has grown steadily over the years with now more than 13 000 tourist guides registered on the database.” National Registrar of Tourist Guides, Morongoe Ramphele.

“Your role as the main link between the visitor and destination, can be the most valuable part of the whole marketing mix of the destination,” said Constitution Hill CEO, Dawn Robertson.

Day 2 ended with a tour around constitution hill to educate guides and those attending the event about the events which shaped South Africa’s implemantation of human rights laws.

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Working towards a sustainable tourism economy and jobs

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Today, marked day 1 of the ” International Tourist Guides’ Day” (ITG) celebrations at Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg – Gauteng.

The Department of Tourism together with with the Gauteng Tourism Authority (GTA) joined tourist guides from all over South Africa to discuss ways to create sustainable tourism economies and jobs.

Tourist guides from all over the country shared their experiences, highlighting areas which have been hindering guiding experiences, with some posing a threat to their jobs.

The tourism industry contributes significantly towards economic growth and ensuring sustainability within this sector is always key.

Guides have been put at the forefront of tourism, they have become the face of tourism, leading us through the country’s sites and more importantly have become educators of South Africa’s attractions.

Some of the issues put forward by guides were:

  • Training needed to penetrate within local communities
  • One of the biggest issues is that theres no training of guides as there is a lot youth looking to also join the industry.
  • Resolve the issue of local communities feeling sidelined when coming to Township tourism
  • Safety of tourists guides at the brink of Corona virus outbreak
  • What measures are set in place to ensure the guides are protected/ safe ( Corona virus)
  • The impact of taxi industry on guides
  • Language challenges as guides are exposed to people fromall over the globe

The government has been tasked with looking into :

  • making partnerships with private sector to grow tourism, and this can be achieved through offering training.
  • Tourist guides health insurance
  • Guides protection
  • Guides receiving staples (salaries)

With all the issues put forward, Morongoe Ramphele, National Registrar
of Tourist Guides admitted that to move forward government has to ensure that it pays more attention and effort towards such gatherings and monitoring and evaluating these processes.







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