The joint travel and tourism industry conference, which was scheduled to take place from 23 to 25 October 2011, has been postponed to next year.
The conference will be hosted by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) in collaboration with five of its member associations: Association of South African Travel Agents (ASATA), Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa), National Accommodation Association of South Africa (NAA-SA), Southern African Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (SAVRALA) and Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA).
Named the “Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Conference Southern Africa”, the event is designed to combine the annual conferences of the TBCSA’s member associations into a single platform where members can address industry specific issues as well as the challenges facing the entire industry.
“Central to our decision to postpone the conference is the current strained economic conditions in which business is operating,” explains Mmatsatsi Marobe, CEO of the TBCSA.
Marobe says that the current environment was not conducive for the industry to host an event of this nature: “The reality is that right now members are more concerned about keeping their businesses afloat and as associations it is important that we re-focus our resources where they are most needed.”
Michel Tatalias, CEO of SATSA agrees with Marobe’s view and emphasises that the planning process for the event will still continue: “This postponement does not mean our preparations for the conference have come to a halt. Behind the scenes, we will still be working hard to ensure that we secure speakers of a high calibre and develop a compelling programme for the event.”
Marobe adds: “We do not want this event to be another industry ‘talk shop’, but a platform where delegates can walk away from with a strong sense of confidence about the future of the sector. We will be using the additional time afforded to us by this postponement to try and get more associations on board, to make this conference more reflective of the broader travel and tourism industry.”
It is envisioned that the Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Conference Southern Africa will take place in September 2012 and will form part of a bigger initiative to get private sector more involved in celebrating Tourism Month.