Local is affordable #TourismForAll

Domestic Tourism is about to get more affordable for South Africans, thanks to the launch of the SA Tourism #TourismForAll campaign earlier this month.

With this campaign, SA Tourism aims to promote a culture of travel among South Africans and open tourist destination to South Africans across the board. The campaign focuses on providing affordable tourism options for South Africans within the country, close to where they live.

Affordability remains a key deterrent for domestic South African travellers, who say main tourist attractions in their country are priced with the international tourist in mind. Local tourist attractions are now actively involved to change this perception, according to SA Tourism.

In Cape Town South Africans can ride the cable car up Table Mountain for free on their birthdays, while there are also off-season rates for families with children. Both in Johannesburg and Cape Town, off-season rates allow for families to travel with either one or two children for free on the City Sightseeing busses.

The launch of the #TourismForAll campaign follows shortly after the announcement of a pilot project between South African Tourism (SA Tourism) and the Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA), aimed at encouraging local “bleisure” travellers to put the fun back into business travel by mixing it with leisure experiences within the borders of South Africa.

Another campaign aimed at domestic tourism is the upcoming South African National Parks free access week. SANParks will open its gates to proudly South African visitors for no charge from 12 to 16 September in celebration of Heritage Day on 24 September. This Parks week grants free access for day visitors holding a valid South African ID.

More South Africans can now apply for their passports online

Long queues at Home Affairs could officially be a thing of the past, as more South Africans will now be able to apply for their passports and Smart IDs online and collect the documents at their nearest bank

Whereas the eHomeAffairs portal was first only eligible for citizens between 30 and 35 years old, the system is now open to all citizens who bank with ABSA, FNB, Nedbank or Standard Bank, according to Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba, who was recently quoted in the Kempton Express.

Currently only 12 branches of these banks are connected to the system in Gauteng, with one branch in Cape Town. The branches are Absa Lifestyle in Centurion, Absa Towers North, Absa Ghandi Square, FNB Lifestyle Centurion, FNB Menlyn, FNB Merchant Place, Nedbank Rivonia, Nedbank Roodepoort, Standard Bank Centurion, Standard Bank Killarney Rosebank and Standard Bank Canal Walk in the Western Cape.

However, Home Affairs has announced it is planning to enter into a public-private partnership with participating banks, in order to increase the footprint in the provinces.

The process on eHome Affairs can be completed in a few easy steps:

Step 1: Profile Registration

Register your details on the eHome Affairs website here.

  • Create a profile
  • Answer the security questions
  • Create a password
  • Capture the one-time pin sent to your cellphone
  • Attach supporting documents (a copy of your ID)

Step 2: Payment

Enter your bank account details on the site. Submitting a payment on eHomeAffairs is only an instruction to your bank. In order to complete the payment process you need to login to your internet banking to authorise the payment.

Step 3: Appointment

Once the Department of Home Affairs registers your payment, you will be able to make an appointment to record your biometric data. If you are based in Johannesburg and Pretoria you will be able to select a bank branch close to home, if not you must go to your local Home Affairs which does not require an appointment.

Step 4: Head to the bank with your confirmation letter

Attend your appointment at the bank to have your photograph taken/ thumb print recorded. Don’t forget to bring your barcoded confirmation letter (which you can print at home) as well as your ID Book. There should be a special Home Affairs section in the bank and queues should be minimal.

Step 5: Collect your passport

Wait for an SMS and email notification to collect your passport from your chosen bank branch.

Gender Policy

Do your clients have a gender-sensitive travel policy?

Do your clients have a woman-friendly travel policy? In a time where Duty of Care is at the top of everyone’s minds, a recent study conducted by Maiden Voyage shows that women travellers would prefer a more gender-oriented travel policy.

The study shows that almost a third (31.4%) of female corporates have encountered sexual harassment while travelling on business. Handbag theft is the second most frequent incident, followed by drink spiking and sexual assault, according to the Women in Business Travel Report.

The 200-plus female business travellers who responded to the survey included company managers, directors, CEOs and owners, and came from a wide variety of industry sectors including professional services, healthcare, technology, retail, education and government.

More than three-quarters (77%) of women travellers believe their company’s travel programmes should take account of their specific gender needs and 70% believe travel providers need to try harder to address those needs.

Three-quarters (75.3%) said their companies should prioritise suppliers who pay special attention to the needs of female travellers and 73.4% said their experiences of travel providers affects their policy compliance.

Carolyn Pearson, founder and CEO of Maiden Voyage, says: “The increase in the number of women reaching senior positions and a subsequent increase in women travelling on business means there’s never been a better time to look at the issues facing women travellers.”

According to Pearson, travel suppliers, in particular some hotels, TMC’s and travel risk management organisations, have been pioneering change and responding to the needs of one of their fastest-growing market segments.

There’s still a long road ahead though. “As our report shows, there is still much work to be done,” says Pearson.

Why women pay less for business travel

We all know that women rock, as we celebrated Women’s Day at the beginning of the week. But, as it turns out, women are also smarter than men when it comes to booking business travel.

Male travellers could save up to $48,000 (R640 000) a year by booking the same way women do, according to a recent study conducted by Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) Solutions Group. That is the estimated savings amount for a company with 1 000 travellers, of which 70% are presumed to be men, who take on average four trips per year.

CWT conducted the study on a data set of 6.4 million air-booking transactions during 2014 by a sample of 1.8 million travellers aged between 25 and 70 years old, with a 70:30 male-female ratio. The study showed that female business travellers book an average of 1.9 days ahead of men, and this saves them $17.30 (R230) on the average paid fare in comparison to male travellers. Whilst the amount only makes up to approximately 2% of the average ticket price, its aggregate impact is difficult to ignore.

Advance booking without a doubt ties into the success of any corporate travel program. As opposed to the leisure segment, business travel is more constraining regarding the dates and places of travel, which implies a smaller selection of flights or hotels is typically available to travelers. As seats get filled, prices increase according to the yield management strategies defined by airlines. With very few exceptions, booking early saves money.

The report also declared that age played a role. Advance booking improves with age. As age increases from 30 to 70, the advance booking increases by roughly 5 days for both genders. Nevertheless, women consistently ranked higher for advanced bookings than male counterparts across all 10 age categories.

The relationship between advance booking and annual trip frequency was also investigated. As trips become more frequent, advanced booking decreases. This is partly explained by the increased percentage of short-haul trips taken (60% to 73%) and by the lower lead time available to book.

The study urged TMCs and travel managers to move beyond all-traveller averages towards analysing and understanding traveller segments top open up new ways of managing travel. This in turn represents a step forward in the quest for travel personalisation.


Air travel to become more child-friendly

On July 13, the US passed a Bill (The Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorisation Bill) that is expected to greatly improve family travel.

With the transition to new airline policies offering premium seats and boarding options for a fee, families are often facing anxiety-inducing challenges and choices. Parents are forced to pay additional fees when checking in to their flight just to ensure they can sit next to their small children on the plane. In many cases, parents must disrupt the boarding process to ask willing passengers to change their seats, despite the fact that these individuals may have already paid additional fees for seats themselves.

US Congressman Jerrold Nadler said in a statement that this Bill, dubbed the ‘Families Flying Together’ Bill, puts an end to the ‘absurdity’ of toddlers sitting separate or unattended on an airplane – requiring airlines to plan ahead so that families with young children under 13 can fly together. It also allows pregnant women to pre-board their flights.

U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, who drafted the family-friendly amendment to the Bill, added: “Parents shouldn’t have to pay extra to sit with their kids on a flight. Separating them is not safe and often leaves them at the mercy of other passengers who must decide whether to trade seats. Separating young kids from their parents during the screening process can be just as traumatic, and the TSA shouldn’t be allowed to do it. Our amendment puts in place commonsense protections that will reduce the extra and unnecessary stress applied to families and pregnant women traveling by air.”

It seems that airlines have taken note of the new regulations. According to an article in the APEX Daily, several airlines have started already introducing changes.

Denver-based Frontier Airlines added a Kid Zone to the rear of its aircraft the day after the FAA Reauthorisation Bill was passed. Families travelling together can book a middle seat for free, while window and aisle seats are available at a minimal charge.

BA re-launched its Kids Fly for Free offer, which allow children under 12 to fly for free with every adult ticket purchased on selected routes.

Ryanair is not as forthcoming, and gives consideration to those passengers who have pre-booked seats. Starting September, the airline will require adults travelling with children under 12 to buy one reserved seat. The child’s reserved seat will be free, as will the seat for an additional accompanying adult.

Families on long-haul flights with Air New Zealand can stretch out and get comfortable by booking an Economy Skycouch, a three-seat row that can be configured into a flat space using footrests that move into a horizontal position.

In South Africa, kulula.com rewards children under 12 with a kiddies certificate, whereas parents flying with Mango can purchase an entertainment pack for their children.


Digitisation is changing the travel industry forever

Digitisation has started having an impact on every aspect of our daily life, from the supermarket to yes, even the travel industry.

 Although not very prevalent in South Africa yet, European supermarkets for example have started introducing self-serve check-out lanes where shoppers can scan, bag and pay for their items without any assistance from a ‘human’ employee.

Also in the travel industry, digitisation is having a profound impact and it is leading to a more customer-centered travel experience giving clients more control over the booking and travel process.

Online travel sites are a perfect example of digitisation in the travel industry. Today’s travelers, much like the shopper at the local supermarket, can move seamlessly from shopping to purchasing at their own pace.

According to a report from DCS Travel Technologies, there are 3 ways in which digital technology is changing the travel industry.


Digital technologies such as Big Data and cloud computing, have made it easy for travel companies to personalise offers and packages based on consumer preference. A travel company can for example target a millennial traveller by using actionable, mined preference data to provide the traveller with unique, eclectic travel options.

While it’s true today’s traveler is more savvy when it comes to researching and booking trips or vacations, the sheer volume of available information can be overwhelming. Personalisation via digital technology gives travel companies a leg-up on providing a quick and convenient purchasing experience.

Be social

Social media as well as travel review websites, have changed the way travelers research, interact, and recommend destinations to friends, family, and other social media users. And this medium is also changing the way travel companies create, manage, and provide products and services.

Say for example a hotel offers more luxurious bath products in selected rooms. If online reviews about these higher-end products are positive, management can leverage this response and reevaluate the products offered hotel-wide.

Go Mobile

Recent studies show today’s traveller is glued to their mobile device at all times. With so many travelers researching, purchasing, and reviewing travel destinations via their mobile devices, responsiveness and agility in a travel company’s website and overall online presence is key.

Mobile technology has enabled travelers to book hotels or flights, order room service, or review a guided wine tour and tasting via handheld devices in their pockets, and this control and enhanced visibility is a boon to today’s traveler and an opportunity for growth and expansion for today’s travel companies.