South Africa must engage more with other countries internationally in tourism business, and universities must also engage with other universities globally to address issues of the global community. This was the message by the Minister of South African Tourism, Mr Derek Hanekom, when he addressed international travel and tourism industry leaders at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Monday, 16 February 2015.
Industry leaders in travel and tourism in South Africa converged at the University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality (STH) to discuss destination marketing, skills development, visa regulations and the broader issues around travel facilitation.
Mr David Scowsill, President and CEO of World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and Dr Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the UN World Travel and Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), urged South Africa to open its borders to international visitors: “To expand free travel and our tourism sector, we must open the borders, abandon Visas, but we need to adhere to technological security measures. South Africa contributes about R300 billion GDP to the travel industry. Free flow of travel means good business. South Africa, the world knows about you more than you know the world,” said Mr Scowsill.
Other points of the discussion were the threat of Ebola and how Visas are detrimental to the tourism industry, globally.
UJ’s STH was selected as the perfect venue to host the occasion. UJ students in the tourism and hospitality field prepared the food for the event, to showcase the contribution the University is making towards the industry.