South African Tourism and Qatar Airways recently hosted a trade webinar, featuring over 300 global partners, in an effort to aid the recovery of the global tourism sector.

South African Tourism Chief Executive, Sisa Ntshona thanked Qatar Airways for its commitment to carrying travellers to and from South Africa. Ntshona also reiterated the role of collaboration and partnerships in the recovery of the tourism sector.  

“Our partnership with Qatar Airways is testament of how no destination can do it alone, we need partnerships which span across the tourism value chain in order to ensure an inclusive and fully rounded recovery of the sector,” said Ntshona.

Qatar Airways Chief Commercial Officer, Thierry Antinori reinforced the airlines commitment to excellence and to destination South Africa, despite the challenging trading environment: “The DNA of Qatar Airways has always been about putting the customer and their needs first and being where the customer needs us to be. We have continued to fly during this crisis to many destinations including South Africa, because we understand the power of mobility and how it connects people.”

Antinori also expressed Qatar Airways commitment to trade, both in South Africa and the rest of the world.

South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, attended the webinar, outlining the country’s efforts in ensuring destination readiness and ease of entry into South Africa; including the e-visa system which is critical. She also thanked Qatar Airways for its commitment to ensuring airlift to and from South Africa.

Earlier this year, Qatar increased its flight frequencies into South Africa to a total of 28 weekly flights between Doha and Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

New quality verification programme rolls out across Eastern Cape

In order to underpin South Africa’s tourism offering, the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA), a business unit of South African Tourism, has rolled out a pilot phase of the Basic Quality Verification (BQV) programme, in the Eastern Cape.

The BQV programme ensures that all accommodation products, including those in rural areas, have a formal quality assurance level in place. On successful completion of the pilot, BQV will be rolled out to the other eight provinces.

Ntshona said that South Africa has many unexplored hidden gems especially in villages, small towns and dorpies and the BQV programme provides an opportunity for travellers to also enjoy unique and authentic tourism experiences.

The BQV programme uses the skills of unemployed tourism graduates who are trained as evaluators in the areas they live in. 

Ntshona said: “Youth development is extremely urgent in our sector especially at this time when our country is facing a high rate of unemployment compounded by the effects of COVID-19.

“Through the training received from the BQV programme, tourism graduates who already know the areas they live in will now perform these verifications. This gives them entrepreneurial skills and the technical specialisation they need to be accredited assessors in future.”

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