Summit committed to improving South Africa’s global competitiveness

Maslow Hotel
Maslow Hotel

It’s all system go for the inaugural South African Travel & Tourism Summit sponsored by South African Tourism. The Summit kicks-off next Monday, 14 October 2013, at the recently renovated Maslow Hotel in Sandton.

Speaking at the media breakfast organised ahead of the Summit, former destination Melbourne chief executive officer, Chris Buckingham, expressed his delight to be in South Africa and being able to share knowledge and insight on the concept of how to make urban cities “visitable” and “livable”. “I’m looking forward to the Summit and believe it will serve as a true national platform, exploring learnings from successful visitor-focused destinations. This bodes well for the future of sustainable tourism development in South Africa,” explains Mr Buckingham.

“For the sustainable growth of the sector and for the benefit of the South African economy, we need to become a winning nation, within a very competitive global sector,” says Dawn Robertson, chief executive officer of Gauteng Tourism, co-hosts of The Summit.  “This will require us to shift gear and focus on designing and implementing action plans that will enable the achievement of the grand objectives of the National Tourism Sector Strategy. For us in Gauteng, it’s about playing that catalytically role is creating a viable environment for products and our regions to market and promote themselves” says Ms Robertson.

The 2013 Summit programme comprises a number of plenary addresses and dialogues, including focused tracks, with each focused on developing actionable points with involvement from delegates. The Summit will be addressed by, among others, the Deputy National Minister of Tourism, Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, chief executive officers of other provincial tourism agencies, and South Africa’s leading trend spotters making this a true national Summit.

The panelists include a broad array of industry and associated specialists and high profile individuals, including the Gauteng MEC for Transport, the chief executive officer of SAA, the chief executive officers of Google and Expedia SA, the chief executive officer of Gautrain, the chief executive officer of Mango, the General Secretary of SANTACO, leaders from both the National and Gauteng Planning Commissions, the chief operating officer and chief marketing officer of South African Tourism and senior officials from the National Department of Tourism in South Africa.
Chris Buckingham, who is set to deliver the keynote address at the Summit, emphasises the need for the South African tourism sector to collaborate with leading international destinations that has embedded the notion of visitability, which is about deliberately setting up a destination to be visitor-focused and take proactive steps in leading the crusade, especially in the African continent. “We need South Africa to be proactive and decisive in making tourism business everybody’s business and government can play an active and stewardship role in that regard”, Mr Buckingham stresses.

Accordingly, The Summit is also set to be a “a green affair”, with a number of initiatives being taken to ensure that delegates’ carbon footprints are offset by tangible actions like the use of recyclable material and giving each delegate a tree to plant, to name but a few. A Summit Green Initiative Statement binding all the delegates and participants to the promotion of responsible and sustainable tourism practice will be unveiled at The Summit.

The conference registration fee is R1 500 per delegate and registration is still open.

Media accreditation closes at 17h00 on Thursday, 10 October 2013 and you can register through clicking on the linkadobeformscentral.com/?f=CwatIksz1HJyFOxBiAKxEw.

For more information on The Summit, visit its website: www.sasummit.net. Follow the summit on twitter @visitgauteng with #SASummit13.