Private Sector Initiatives Move the New National Tourism Sector Strategy Forward


Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa, recently consulted with the tourism industry on the revised National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS), which aims to increase the sector’s direct contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product to R302 billion by 2026. The NTSS also seeks to grow the number of jobs (both direct and indirect) supported by the industry to 2.2 billion and boost investment in tourism to R148 billion.

Premier Hotels & Resorts’ Chief Operations Officer, Sigal Geva, says: “We look forward to the impending publication of the revised NTSS following the review panel’s consideration of the public submissions and their presentation of the Final Draft to the Minister for endorsement. The new NTSS has been formulated on the back of changes in the domestic and global environment since the original was published in 2011. It identifies priority actions for implementation in the short-, medium- and long-term, many of which we at Premier have already put into action - particularly in terms of the Strategy’s Visitor Experience and Broad-based Benefits pillars.” 

A key area for enhancement under the Visitor Experience pillar of the NTSS is the development of excellent tourism skills and service levels, with a special emphasis on soft skills. “This has critical bearing on the visitor experience,” shares Geva. To address this, Premier Hotels & Resorts  established the Academic College of South Africa, which helps provide the hospitality industry with a competent and skilled workforce. Those who undergo training here learn about delivering exceptional service while they earn nationally recognised qualifications in a variety of areas. A range of soft skills courses on subjects such as interpersonal communication excellence and conflict management are also offered. Graduates are provided opportunities to put what they have learnt into practice at the Group’s properties.

Data derived from SA Tourism’s annual domestic tourism survey has indicated that there has been a decline in the number of domestic tourism trips, attributable to reduced consumer disposable income as a direct consequence of slow growth in the domestic economy. To unlock and encourage domestic travel, the Visitor Experience pillar also lists the provision of tourism experiences and facilities that cater to domestic market segments as a priority action. Aligned with this, Premier Hotels & Resorts offers its Splendid Inns portfolio of properties - 3-star establishments available at an affordable price point. Over and above this, the hotel group has a Royalty Rewards  programme that provides guests with an array of benefits and discounts. 

The NTSS’ Broad-based Benefits pillar concentrates on the development and growth of the tourism industry and prioritises the inclusive participation of poor communities and increased representation of Black people – especially women and young entrepreneurs. Priority actions enabling this include achieving Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) targets and supporting sustainable Enterprise Development. In line with this, Premier Hotels & Resorts is actively enhancing the skill sets of previously disadvantaged people who are running accommodation establishments within many of the communities in which the Group operates. In addition, several initiatives aimed at uplifting previously disadvantaged staff and assisting them in furthering their careers are underway, with bursaries set to be awarded to selected employees next year. Furthermore, in keeping with the company’s overall transformation targets, all properties in the Group have Employment Equity (EE) strategies in place, as well as Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) compliance certifications.

“The implementation of these actions have enabled us to play a part in fulfilling the NTSS’ vision of ‘a rapidly and inclusively growing tourism economy that leverages South Africa’s competitive advantages in nature, culture and heritage, supported by innovative products and service excellence’,” concludes Geva.

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