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Jurni CEO reflects on SATSA Conference

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4 min read

Jurni recently attended the Annual Conference of the South Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA) to interact with key industry stakeholders and collaborate on important industry issues.

“We are in the engine room of change for our country,” Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, chief convention bureau officer at the South African National Convention Bureau, told delegates. She explained the time had come for the tourism industry to ‘buckle up’ and for each tourism stakeholder to play a role in transformation.

SATSA Conference

In order to achieve real change, Kotze-Nhlapo said it was imperative for the private and the public sector to collaborate and focus on tangible outcomes. “Every small village can be part of our tourism industry. After all, tourism is everyone’s business,” she said.

One suggestion Kotze-Nhlapo brought to the table was for national associations to take their meetings, conferences and events to smaller villages in South Africa, to showcase what the country has to offer.

Jurni was launched this year with the purpose to address exactly these challenges. This innovative public-private venture is expected to revolutionise and transform South Africa’s Travel and Tourism Industry by delivering unbiased, consolidated and comprehensive tourism data that will equip tourism businesses with valuable insights to inform their business strategies.

Until now, tourism data in South Africa has been fragmented with the collection of statistics and data happening in silos. The result is that nobody has a clear picture of the tourism industry in its entirety. As the adage goes, ‘knowledge is power’. Knowledge through data will deliver the granular data that our tourism industry needs to achieve the goals outlined in the National Tourism Sector Strategy.

With the launch of the Jurni data hub, the tourism industry has already received a more complete picture of what South Africa’s tourism landscape looks like. These are exciting times that will see the entire tourism industry come together. Reliable data and statistics can put South Africa’s ‘hidden’ tourism gems on the map, allowing these areas to attract more investment.

A great number of little villages situated around South Africa have tremendous tourism potential, but hardly ever make it on the international listings of places to visit in our country. One of the overriding reasons for this lack of exposure is that our country doesn’t have the right tourism data in place to showcase the potential of our ‘hidden’ tourism gems.

“Hidden gems should not remain hidden forever,” Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, Chief Executive Officer at the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, said during the conference. “The transformation agenda is in our hands. It’s up to us as an industry to work together and grow the tourism pie.”

SATSA Conference

Jurni’s innovative booking tool was created to grow the tourism pie. SMMEs in travel and tourism struggle to grow as they often lack the knowledge and resources to promote their businesses internationally.  Jurni will help connect SMMEs to the market in a new and exciting way. The company will offer a simple, mobile-enabled booking system which provides visibility to multiple SMME providers within the global market.

At a time when the tourism sector enjoys support from the highest levels of government with President Cyril Ramaphosa himself publicly stating the sector’s potential to achieve 21 million international tourists, it’s important to have access to reliable and meaningful tourism data to support this vision.

Darryl Erasmus, Chief Quality Assurance Officer, South African Tourism, explained the time has come to ‘super charge ‘the 5-in-5 strategy in order to achieve two million jobs by 2030. The strategies to achieve this ambitious goal is to maximise industry partnerships and collaboration, and to ignite brand South Africa.

The Jurni Visitor App and Information Portal has the potential to ignite our country’s brand by providing location-tailored recommendations to travellers, showing them what South Africa has to offer.

This has the potential to increase the visibility of the less ‘visible’ hospitality and leisure providers in South Africa, giving everyone in the tourism sector the opportunity to drive additional revenue streams while at the same time enhancing the traveller’s experience.

“There is no future in the past. Either drive change or be driven by it,” said Founder of Safari Company Rhino Africa David Ryan during the SATSA conference, and he is right. So, let’s drive change and connect travellers and travel experiences in South Africa through cutting-edge technology and data intelligence.

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