As the novel Coronavirus (covid-19) continues its ravaging effects on economies and social lives, South African Tourism has ever since it recorded the first index case has taken a number of steps to engage with the tourism stakeholders.
The latest addition to the string of already announced measures to engage and mitigate the crisis is the launch of the ‘South African Tourism Recovery Webinars’ which aims at canvassing ideas from the tourism community in the Rainbow country.
The maiden webinar held today assembled some of the industry practitioners, Suzanne Bayly-Coupe, Chris Mears, Elmar Conradie and Graeme Wood, as panellists to lead the conversation towards building an inclusive pool of ideas to influence the big recovery plan.
Moderated by the CEO of South African Tourism Sisa Ntshona and Jon Howell CEO of AViaDev Africa, the virtual meeting had over 2000 delegates participating.
Touching on the reason for the launch of the webinar, Mr Ntshona said, ”We essentially don’t want to be caught on the back foot when the gate is open after covid19. It’s also offer us the finest opportunity to build magic for SA Tourism.”
”The recovery plan is to help compile blueprint post covid-19. Our data collection capabilities need to be enhanced,” he added.
Suzanne Bayly-Coupe, CEO of Classic Portfolios recalled how the effects of coronavirus have had on their business.
In summary, she suggested: ”It has been absolutely devastating for us … we initially thought it was going to be a short time when the cancellations starting coming in.”
”People are going to be reluctant to travel and most especially for long haul,” Chris Mears, CEO of African Travel and Tourism Association (UK) added.
The CEO of FlySafair, Elmar Conradie, opined that even covid-19 is over, there wouldn’t be immediate travel.
He added that, airline tickets are going to be incredibly cheap after the pandemic.
This is a real time of crisis which is an opportunity for us to come together and work on our fundamentals- Graeme Wood, COO of Sun International.
”We’ve got to be pragmatic about handling this situation but let’s use this time to rethink how we do our business.”
Chris Mears, CEO of African Travel and Tourism Association (UK) said :”One thing we’ve got to do is to create that demand to promote regional tourism.”
South African Tourism will be rolling out two more webinars to continue engaging and soliciting opinions from the tourism stakeholders.