This Tourism Week. 26 October 2012

This week:  

(And remember you can follow the links above to read these articles on line – or to comment on them – or you can just keep on scrolling down to read them right here in this super-friendly e-mail… Ahem…) 

Help save your planet: A 6th Skydive for Rhinos event

I’m gob-smacked. Twitter has been alive in recent days with people calling racism on rhino conservation. Apparently, for some (hopefully just a few) black people in South Africa, “I care fuck all for the #rhino” has become a badge of honour.

Thing is, the rhino represents our tourism industry, and therefore a disproportionately large number of jobs and dependents: but more important, it represents the entire eco-system, and if we don’t start protecting THAT – the spaceship we live on – we’ll ALL have fuck all to care about in very short time.

The best response to this idiocy came from Twitter, though. @ charlesfrith: “Strong people stand up for themselves, but stronger people stand up for others.”

And ‘others,’ of course, would include other species.

Which brings me to an important announcement from the African Conservation Trust: a sixth ‘SkyDive for Rhinos’ event will take place on the 17th and 18th of November at SkyDive Rustenburg (about 110 km from Jozi and 100 km from Pretoria).

May I recommend this as your year-end team building function? You have to raise or donate R 5,000 to the Trust in order to jump, but donations (from individuals and corporates) are fully tax deductible – and you’ll be having a jorl while you’re deducting.

Here’s a little background: as of the 18th of October, 463 South African Rhinos had been lost to poaching since the beginning of this year (against for 448 the whole of last year). But 384 Ordinary (capital O) South Africans have taken a stand, raised awareness, raised funds, and Skydived for Rhinos this year – and the campaign has raised R 6.5 million for tactical support and anti-poaching efforts in South Africa. This includes donations, funds raised by strategic partners, and so on. And it’s money which is already going into on-the-ground action at the front-line of the crisis. 

  • An attack on any of South Africa’s Big Five is an attack on South Africa itself.
  • Poaching is a serious crime. It is theft.
  • It’s our duty to preserve the planet for future generations.
  • Protecting Rhinos at the frontline of attack requires funding and resources.
  • We don’t have time is not on our side.
  • Failure is not an option, because extinction is forever.
  • As long as there are still things in the wild, there is still hope.

To get involved:  

‘SkyDive for Rhinos’ is an initiative of the African Conservation Trust, which is a KZN-based, section 18a company, to which donations are tax deductible (donation certificates will be provided on request). It’s been established for 12 years, and works throughout Southern Africa. It is a registered trust (IT 2174/00), and a registered Non-Profit Organisation (NPO 030-243); it’s registered with SARS as a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO 930014758), a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (NG/25190), and a founder member of Project Rhino KZN.

Every Rand raised for Skydive for Rhinos is accounted for, and only the cost of participating in the skydiving is deducted from the total collected – no charges or administration fees are levied. 

Lets keep ’em Wild and Horny!

(Thanks Mike Rumble – Rhino Ambassador, African Conservation Trust volunteer, national coordinator of ‘SkyDive for Rhinos’ and, most important of all, damned good mate. –

+27 82 926 3591)

Well, have you supported the NSRI yet?

The preliminary results of the capsize at Duiker Island earlier this month are out – and if you read the articles (What caused the Miroshga tragedy ?), you’ll agree: if it wasn’t for the NSRI’s help, the tragedy would have been far, far greater indeed.

So – while we’re saving the rhinos, let’s not forget to save institutions like the Sea Rescue. Please check out my article from last week Hout Bay disaster: the NSRI deserves tourism’s fullest support  – and take part in the ‘Double Mitsubishi’ competition. “That’s TWO Mitsubishis – the 3.2 DI-DC GLX LWB and the ASX 2.0L Classic, which, together, are worth more than eight. hundred. thousand. South African ront!”

“And you’ve got a good chance of winning, too, since only 26,000 tickets have been made available for sale.

“There’s a second prize, too: a Gemini Waverider 470 rigid inflatable boat with trailer and a 40 hp Honda engine – valued at more than R 100 000.00 – and third prize is a trip for two to Spain valued at R 55 000.00, with accommodation in a superior beach resort and grand stand seats at the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix. (Count me in.)”

I nformation about the competition here  – or call 021 430 4710 or 021 430 4702, or email to ask for an entry form.

Oh, and I spoke to Annie Stein after last week’s article went out, and it seems that the number of ticket sales is now approaching 8,000. Good – but still about 18,000 to go. (And apropos last week’s article: Annie HAS now had her corn flakes).

SA Tourism/ TGCSA / TEP Power of One Sessions deliver the goods

Folks, it looks like there’s a positive thing going on at last: all (well, most) of the tourism bodies in one room? It happened at SATTIC – the South African Travel and Tourism Industry Conference (which I praised highly in ‘Inaugural tourism industries conference sets course for ‘Top 20 by 2020’ ) and now, in a brilliant series of follow-up workshops, South African Tourism, TEP, TOMSA, The Department of Tourism, and others have “joined forces to bring you a single workshop, in your province, where you get the benefit of being educated on matters that are key to you and your business in the Tourism Industry.”

Eleven such workshops – which they’re called, perhaps unfortunately, the “Power of One Sessions” (acronym: POOS) have been planned for various parts of the country, and ours took place here in Knysna on Wednesday at the beautiful (yes, I’m biased)  Simola 5* Hotel

I’m really sorry that an emergency caused me to miss three quarters of the thing. Nevertheless, I was able to interview three of the speakers – Thekiso Rakolojane of TGCSA, Jonathan Jacobs of TEP, and Mabeka Makola of SA Tourism (and I noted that the Welcome Dudie is back: it was good to see him again).

Listen to what they had to say in  this video

Basically, the Power of One Sessions 

  • Provide insights into our markets;
  • Describe how star grading provides access to millions of global travellers through TGCSA’s partnerships with sites like TripAdvisor;
  • Discuss how the tourism enterprise partnership (TEP) can support SMMEs in the tourism and hospitality sector;
  • Discuss the benefits of being a collecting member for the TOMSA levy;
  • Explain the National Convention Bureau and its value to the industry; and
  • Discuss how service excellence contributes to South Africa’s positioning as a welcoming nation. 

The one presentation that I did manage to hear really did impress me. Even though the speaker (names aren’t important) struggled with her English, it’s what she spoke about that was music to my touristy ears. And what she spoke about was a new publication from the Department of Tourism called the “National Tourism Service Excellence Strategy – Building a service excellence culture in the tourism sector and its value chain.”

It’s a strategy that seems solid to me, since it’s built on five simple pillars: 

  • Research and information;
  • Upskilling of service delivery;
  • Public awareness;
  • Service standards and norms; and
  • A consumer feedback system. 

The publication is available from the Department’s web site  as a pdf., and I know you’re going to download it and read it, so I won’t go on about it too much. Hopefully, though, you’ll want to talk about it, and you’ll post your comments here

Just one or two things, though: a happy staff is the heartbeat of top class service. Happy employees are confident and friendly, and that’s what you want in tourism – but I think we as an industry are sometimes blind to this. We have a reputation for paying poorly, for imposing long working hours, for expecting line staff to survive largely on tips. And this is a worldwide phenomenon (doubt me? Check out Joey Quits in the USA). So the one thing that is missing from the Power of One Sessions, I think, is a discussion that looks at working conditions in our industry.

But that’s just me, I suppose. Bunny hugger, bleeding heart liberal, vegetarian. Stormers fan. Pfff.

One more thing: it was only because of the good offices of good Jacques Maritz (who’s just recently begin doing communications work for TEP) that I found out about the Session in Knysna – and at the last minute, too. Actually one or two of the organisers admitted on Wednesday that they’d slipped up, but they were humble enough to ask for ideas about how they could improve their communications with the notoriously apathetic people in this notoriously fractious Tourism industry of ours. (Of course I offered This Tourism Week’s services on the spot. So if you keep following me, you’ll have plenty of time to book your seat.)

And that’s another good thing: the booking system  is on line, real time, and a pleasure.

All sessions start at 8:00 and end at 2:30, cost nothing (well, cost the delegates nothing), and include lunch (the tomato soup at Simola was sublime).

Here’s the schedule: 

  • 20 November: Protea Hluhluwe, Kwazulu-Natal
  • 21 November: Elangeni Hotel, Durban
  • 22 November: Summerstrand Hotel, Port Elizabeth
  • 23 January: Protea Hotel Bloemfontein Central
  • 24 January: SANParks, Clarens
  • 12 February: Garden Court Kimberley
  • 14 February: Naba Lodge, Uppington
  • 28 February: Gallagher Estate, Gauteng
  • 1 March: Premier Hotel Pretoria, Pretoria. 

Book here. 

Now go away on holiday. It’s in the economy’s best interest

With best Barefoot Wishes – MMARTIN HATCHUEL, Barefoot Writer

Specialist writer for the tourism industry
Social media & advertising
Media management
Responsible tourism
Cell +27(0)84 951 0574
Fax +27(0)86 614 8853
Skype: reefgod
PO Box 2690 Knysna 6570

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