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SouTHERN AFRiCA’S TRAVEL NEWS WEEKLY

March 17 2010 I No. 2098

TRAVEL NEWS WEEKLY

INSIDE

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NEWS

fEaTurE

Guten Tag, Axel

Something for everyone

new SA DireCTor for LufTHAnSA

NEWS

GermAny ny & AuSTriA

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2010 PriCe GouGinG Offenders to be named and shamed

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Page 12

The end of billbacks? Max Marx

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ORPORATE agents could soon see the back of billbacks, possibly the most expensive, time-consuming and certainly risky part of their jobs. A revolutionary technological innovation is currently being tested called the iVoucher, which speeds up payment between the TMC, hotel and corporate account. Travelbuy’s new iVoucher is currently being tested by BidTravel’s corporate booking engine, mymarket.com, in a pilot project with City Lodge Hotels and Edcon. George Gerber, gm of travel at mymarket.com, explains how it works: “Once somebody makes a hotel reservation and it gets approved and there’s a purchase order, we issue the establishment with an eVoucher, which actually guarantees payment at that point. So whatever payment instrument is used, whether it’s a lodged card or a bank account, we hold the funds at that point.” He says the new system will remove the massive administrative and costly nightmare that is the billback system. Clifford Ross, City Lodge Hotels ce, is delighted that there is finally a workable

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solution that could see the end of billbacks. “The industry has been trying to find a solution for years and we’re happy with the way the iVoucher system works. Now travel agents just need buyin from their corporates.” A system like the iVoucher will be beneficial to travel agents, adds Jim Weighell, Sure Travel’s corporate manager. “The billback system most often means that TMCs have to act as banks or credit providers and are exposed to considerable risk in the event of a client’s inability or reluctance to settle an account.”

“The industry has been trying to find a solution for years and we’re happy with the way the iVoucher system works. Now travel agents just need buy-in from their corporates.” He says it might be difficult, however, to persuade SMEs to opt for upfront payment as they like the 30- to 90-day credit facility and have become used to it. Mike Gray, ceo of Unglobe Travel, believes the iVoucher is going to bring a revolutionary change to the system. “The days of

travel agents being credit providers to companies are over. Government, corporates and small SMEs that can’t get credit from banks are using agents as last resort bankers and I’ve had five closures of small agencies in the past two years because of billbacks.” Mike says the iVoucher system will stop corporate travellers from abusing the system, which often sees travel agents left to foot the bill because companies refuse to pay for what they haven’t authorised. For Brett Dungan, Fedhasa ceo, the great thing about the iVoucher is that all the money is held in trust until the transaction is effected. “This protects consumers, travel agents, tour operators and hotels alike because it stops a tourism business from using the deposits and protects other parties if any supplier in the chain goes belly up.” Wally Gaynor, Club Travel md, says his agency grouping is interested in the iVoucher as a solution but would first like to see it thoroughly tested. He hopes corporates will go for it. “Billbacks are the bane of a corporate travel agency’s life and the most expensive, time-consuming part of the relationship with a corporate client.” To page 12

egg-ceptional easter specials Particular properties within the Three Cities Group are making the Easter weekend an affordable option for holidaying with their ‘Pay for two nights and stay for three’ Easter weekend special. Travellers can escape to various properties in KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga and North West Province, and the Western Cape as well as Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Meanwhile, guests who can’t make use of the exclusive Easter weekend special don’t lose out, with exceptional rates valid for the months of March and April. Delivering the egg-ceptional specials are Easter bunnies, regional sales manager Gauteng, Craig Parvess, (left) and sales executive, Arno Strydom Photo: Tiyana Huysamen

uS visitors to pay for esta Jeanette PhilliPs VISITORS to the United States may soon have to pay at least US$10 to complete the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) before travelling. This follows the passing of the Travel Promotion Act by the US Senate.

A corporation to promote travel to the US is likely to be set up to promote it as a tourist destination and to provide information for visitors and travel professionals overseas. The corporation will be funded by the ESTA charge, which will be put towards a Travel Promotion Fund. n


NEWS Top web stories ● Thai Airways to resume JNB service on May 16 ● TNW pick of the week: ‘Give us a chance’ – SAA’s Siza ● Monday smile: A procrastinator’s handbook ● Agents only: Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! Melrose Arch ● AF confirms daily A380 service ● SANParks to release MATCH inventory

Win with Air Namibia! Air Namibia is offering travel agents the opportunity to win a R1 000 voucher! To qualify, agents need to email or fax copies of the tickets they have issued and were flown during February and March on the airline’s JNB-ACC-JNB and/or JNB-LUN-JNB routes. The winner of the competition will be the agent with the most flown tickets issued during this period. To enter, agents can email mfourie@airnamibia.za.com or fax 086 5490 224 with their name and Iata number. Pictured here are sales executive, Nellita Scholtz (left), and reservations manager, Ange Snyman Photo: Tiyana Huysamen

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Rubes® By Leigh Rubin

World Cup room demand unpredictable – hoteliers Hilka Birns

“You’ll have to forgive me, but under the circumstances, I’m afraid I’m unable to fully appreciate the spectacular bird’s-eye view.”

TRAVEL NEWS WEEKLY

Published by Lugan Investments (Pty) Ltd trading as Now Media Printed by Juka Printing (Pty) Ltd Phone: (011) 327-4062 Fax: (011) 327-4094 E-mail: tnw@nowmedia.co.za Web: www.nowmedia.co.za Address: Now Media Centre, 32 Fricker Road, Illovo Boulevard, Illovo, Johannesburg. PO Box 55251, Northlands, 2116, South Africa.

EDITORIAL Editor: Natalia Thomson nataliat@nowmedia.co.za Sub­-Editor: Ann Braun annb@nowmedia.co.za Cape Town Editor: Hilka Birns hilkab@nowmedia.co.za Journalists: Jeanette Phillips jeanettep@nowmedia.co.za Natasha Tippel natashat@nowmedia.co.za Melody Brandon melodyb@nowmedia.co.za Photo Journalist: Tijana Huysamen tijanah@nowmedia.co.za Founding Editors: John H Marsh (1914-1996) Leona Marsh (1923-2003) ADVERTISING Sales Manager Kate Nathan Advertising Coordinator: Natalie Walker PRODUCTION Design Head: Brendon Bester

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is so volatile but he believes major centres such as Johannesburg and Cape Town will be full for the duration of the tournament, while other cities will be full for some of the time. Sean Bradley, director of sales and marketing at the Radisson Blu Sandton, says most of the hotel’s 290 rooms are booked, with deposits paid for the entire World Cup period, but that some of its 11 penthouses are still available. The hotel has not gone the MATCH route either but has stuck with key business partnerships. He says its rates for the World Cup are “slightly higher” than normal, but “realistic”. ■

Time’s up for price gougers From page 12 Soccer World Cup and was quoted R250 for a four-course meal in a far more expensive establishment,” Liz says.

Finding the best price

katen@nowmedia.co.za

Subscriptions: Subs tvlsubs@nowmedia.co.za Annual Subscription: RSA R490.00 Foreign R730,00 SADC R545,00 TNW Domestic may receive up to 10 copies per subscription to one address

2 n Wednesday March 17 2010

HOTELIERS are finding it difficult to predict hotel occupancies over the FIFA World Cup, saying a lot will depend on last-minute bookings and pricing, especially by the airlines. At least one of South Africa’s biggest hotel groups is in discussion with local carriers about the high fares being charged, which it is feared may discourage fans from attending. “We just hope the airlines will come to the party,” says Susanne Faussner-Ringer, md of Greenways Hotel in Cape Town. She says hoteliers are cautiously optimistic because they are hoping for a last-

minute run on rooms.  Meanwhile, Willie Williams, sales and marketing manager of the Sheraton Pretoria, says the hotel is not contracted to MATCH but is receiving daily enquiries for World Cup accommodation “but we find that people are experiencing a snowball effect in that they need game and airline tickets first before they are able to book rooms”. He says bookings for peak match days are looking excellent but there is still availability for the periods in between. Danny Bryer, Protea Hotels’ marketing, sales and revenue management manager, says demand during the World Cup is difficult to predict because the market

Developed by Fedhasa, with the support of the tourism ministry, Rooms4u is an online beds portal that Fedhasa ceo, Brett Dungan, says will force accommodation providers to think twice about what they’re charging. Some of the establishments

that did not contract with MATCH are the culprits in overpricing their rooms, says Brett. “The informal sector did not commit to pricing structures and this is where the problem came in.” Rooms4u will allow users to locate and book accommodation and flights in real time. “If you have an establishment wanting to charge R1 000 for a room for a night where a competitor

is charging R500 for the same product, it will not only lead to people pricing more realistically but the user will be able to find a better price too,” Brett explains. He says a fund has been put into place to protect anyone who books on the site, should the supplier default. Rooms4u.co.za allows accommodation providers to register their properties, while rooms4u.travel is the user interface for those looking for accommodation. ■

Tell us: Do you think prices will come down as more rooms are released from MATCH? Send your comments to tnw@nowmedia.co.za QUICK READ FOR DECISION-MAKERS


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AirHeads Heads VS to launch Accra service

VIRGIN Atlantic has announced that it will launch flights between Heathrow and Accra, starting May 24. The airline plans to operate three services a week, subject to government approval, using an A340-300 aircraft with 240 seats – 34 in Upper Class, 35 in premium economy and 171 in economy class. Flights from Heathrow will depart on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays at 22h30, arriving in Accra at 04h15 the next morning. The return service will depart on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays at 10h15, arriving in London at 18h00 the same day. The airline said flights would be timed to offer good connections to and from New York Newark.

Zambezi Airlines launches Malawi service

EFFECTIVE March 10, Zambezi Airlines will operate a twice-weekly service between Lusaka and Lilongwe with onward connections to Dar es Salaam. Lilongwe-based Ulendo Travel Group has been appointed general sales agent for the airline in Malawi. The flights will be operated on a codeshare basis with Air Malawi on Wednesdays and Fridays. The codeshare agreement with Air Malawi will mean that passengers from Malawi will now enjoy direct flights between Lilongwe and Dar es Salaam on Zambezi Airlines’ B737-500 aircraft, with 12 Premier Business class seats and 99 economy seats. The new services to Tanzania will also offer seamless connections with Qatar Airways’ services from Tanzania to the Middle East, while Zambezi’s network offers onward connections from Lilongwe via Lusaka to Harare, Nairobi and Johannesburg.

NEWS

Auf Wiedersehen Gabriel! Guten Tag, Axel! Hilka Birns

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FTER almost six years as Johannesburg-based director Southern and Eastern Africa for Lufthansa and Swiss International Air Lines, Gabriel Leupold has moved on to take up a position as director South America and the Caribbean in São Paulo. Gabriel took up his new position on March 1 but an official send-off/hand-over ceremony is planned in Johannesburg in April/May, says LH spokesperson, Karin Duncker. Gabriel’s replacement is Axel Simon, formerly md of Lufthansa Global TeleSales in Melbourne, Australia, who takes up his position in midApril. LH airports manager, Thomas Mueller, is filling in as acting director for the region.

Axel Simon Commenting on Gabriel’s quick departure, Karin says airline wheels move fast once new postings are finalised. She says Axel will bring 27 years of aviation and travel industry experience to the post and is no stranger to Southern Africa. He began his career as a travel consultant with Trip Travel in Windhoek in 1983,

joined Lufthansa’s JNB airport staff in 1986 and was later promoted to passenger sales services manager at the town office. In 1990 he moved to Nice, France, to join Amadeus, where he specialised in fare quote marketing. In 1996 he moved to Lufthansa’s Frankfurt headquarters, where he held managerial positions in yield management, pricing and capacity steering. In 2003, Axel was promoted to senior manager Alliances, Pricing and Onboard Product for South East Europe, Middle East and Africa, based at the LH regional management office in Dubai. Karin says Axel enjoys exploring unusual destinations in his free time and describes himself as an outdoor type who is passionate about photography. n

Friends Fly Free Travelinfo,s Cecile Scharneck selects the top specials from Travelinfo Buy 1 Ticket & your friend flies free From: Johannesburg – Kigali ZAR 4,200

Contact us for other special fares *Terms and conditions apply ●Sales valid until end March ●Travel valid until end May

For reservations GSA: Holiday Aviation A Holiday Holdings company Tel: (011) 289-8050 E-mail: rwandair@holidayaviation.co.za www.holidayaviation.co.za or visit you favourate travel agent

● Kenya Airways. Airways. Escape the World Cup to Kenya, Egypt, India, China or Thailand from R3 770 return (excl taxes). Valid for sales until April 30 and travel from May 1-June 15. ● Naïade Holidays.. Mauritius World Cup rates from R10 100pps. Includes return flights ex-JNB, return transfers, seven nights’ all-inclusive accommodation at Le Tropical, a full-day excursion to Ile des Deux Cocos with transfers, Mauritian barbecue lunch and local drinks. 21-day advance purchase may apply. Excludes airport taxes. Valid June 11 to July 11. ● Holiday Autos is offering ‘Summer Price Break’ rates from R230/day for a group A vehicle. Includes unlimited mileage, super collision damage and super theft loss waivers, airport surcharges and taxes, VAT and tourism levy. Valid for travel by March 31. ● Lathita Tailor Made Travel is offering Kenya specials from R10 455pps at Tropical Village, Malindi. Includes return flights ex-JNB, airport taxes, return transfers, seven nights’ accommodation with breakfast, lunch and dinner, snacks, selected beverages and a daily recreational programme. Valid until March 31.

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QUICK READ FOR DECISION-MAKERS


Pillow PillowTalk Debbie goes the extra mile Melody Brandon

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EBBIE Van Zyl has found her calling in the travel industry and says giving good customer service is what makes her job rewarding. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after school. I thought travel would be a good choice and did a travel and tourism diploma,” she says. Having started her career doing filing in an agency, nine years later Debbie is one of Sure Zenojet Travel’s star consultants. “I love doing holidays for people and giving clients options. If they are planning on going to Zanzibar and I am able to tell them what they would enjoy and what they should do while there, I feel I have done a good job,” she says. Debbie says that going the extra mile is what sets an agent apart and makes work rewarding. “When a client comes to you to book their holiday of a lifetime, you have to give them that extra attention. Even if it is just a long weekend trip to Cape Town, look at a day tour at a wine farm or something extra that is going to add value.”

A brief look at this week's hotel news

Jozini Tiger Lodge to open in March

JOZINI Tiger Lodge, part of the Signature Life Hotels and Resorts portfolio, will open in March. The lodge is built on the Jozini Dam in the Pongola Nature Reserve in Maputaland, northern KZN and features 60 thatched double bedrooms, a stand-alone restaurant, a bar, and an extensive menu. There is also a boma and the conference facilities accommodate up to 160 delegates. A variety of team-building activities are available. For an extra charge, guests can enjoy sunset boat cruises, cruise and game drives and boat hire. Nearby wildlife habitats include Umfolozi, Mhuze and Ndumo game reserves, Sodwana Bay and Ponogola reserve. All are home to four of the Big Five. Fishing is another draw card and the Tiger Fishing tournament in October attracts anglers from all over the world.

Constance Ephélia Resort opens

CONSTANCE Ephélia Resort, overlooking Port Launay marine national park in the Seychelles, officially opened on February 1. The first phase includes 184 junior suites, the main areas of the hotel, the spa and three of the five restaurants. The Senior suites, Family Villas, Beach Villas and Hillside Villas are due to open this month. The resort also features the Spa de Constance, a Shiseido Spa and children’s club, ‘Gecko Kids’. The resort also has a gymnasium, tennis and squash courts and several water sport activities for adults and children.

Jo’burg to Lusaka

Debbie Van Zyl

Q&A Best travel memory? Going to Brazil and staying with a family in the country. It was a great experience living like a typical Brazilian! Worst travel memory? A client booked his trip but did not get the required visa. He accused me of not telling him he needed one, but I had! Where are you planning on travelling to next? I would love to travel Europe more. Guaranteed pick-me-up? A glass of wine on a Friday afternoon.

Favourite movie? Avatar Where will we find you on a Sunday afternoon? Relaxing at home with family and friends. Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time? Still doing what I am doing now! Life motto? Live life to the fullest. What do you enjoy about TNW? The information on different countries, airline information and the Naked Agent.

T-Day Special Fare

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RETURN

Fly ZJ 228 Tue or Thu and return any day Book in GDS or call GSA Tel: (011) 289 8172 E-mail: Zambezi@holidayaviation.co.za Inc. RSA Taxes and Fuel Surcharge; excludes Zambian Tax USD 25; non-refundable; subject to availability, Terms & Conditions apply

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NEWS

India is incredible! India, one of the only countries in the world to avoid going into recession in 2009, is looking to grow its tourism industry, capitalising on the diversity the destination has to offer. This was the word from Additional Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, Sanjay Kothari, at a recent presentation held at the Wanderers Club in Illovo, Johannesburg. The minister affirmed that the tourism authority would focus on growing South Africa as an important source market for India Photo: Natasha Tippel

Air France to expand Premium Voyageur service Jeanette Phillips

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IR France, during its 2010 summer schedule, will continue to expand its premium economy product, Premium Voyageur on additional routes. Additional routes with B777-200ER services will be refitted with the product and from July it will be extended to the A330-200 and A340-300 fleet. Passengers travelling between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Johannesburg from June 8 to July 11 in the Premium Voyageur

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The Premium Voyageur cabin, which will be phased in on all long-haul flights operated with the B777, A340 and A330, is on sale to nine destinations: Beirut, Buenos Aires, Seoul, Hong Kong, Beijing, New York, Singapore, Osaka and Tokyo. The airline’s B747-400, selected A330-200 and A340-200, A380 as well as B777-300ER aircraft operating flights to the French overseas territory in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean will not feature the Premium Voyageur cabin. ■

Lufthansa A380 JNB flight a once-off Hilka Birns

Subject to availability and definite terms and conditions. E&OE.

cabin will benefit from a private cabin with 40% more space and a new seat that is 48cm wide with a 123-degree recline, equipped with a fixed shell. Further benefits are some of the services offered in business class, such as the travel kit, a feather pillow and wool blanket. The inflight meal service will, however, be the same as in the economy cabin. Other services include priority check-in desks, a 30kg baggage allowance, boarding at passengers’ convenience and priority baggage delivery.

LUFTHANSA has confirmed it may use its new A380 to fly the German national soccer team accompanied by 150 fans to Johannesburg in June for the FIFA 2010 World Cup. However, this will be a special, once-off flight as the German airline has no plans to increase capacity to South Africa over the World Cup, says spokesperson,

Karin Duncker. She says Lufthansa flights are in high demand over the World Cup, especially with groups, hence the critical availability during the peak days of the tournament. “We do, however, get requests on a daily basis from agents to assist in waitlist confirmations. Flights are partly open for bookings, with weekends being in much higher demand than departures

on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. “Frankfurt is closely monitoring bookings versus ticketed bookings and, as airlines cannot risk bookings being cancelled at the last minute, strict ticket time limits are in place.   “Depending on which teams make it to the semi-finals and final game, a high volume of fans travelling last minute to South Africa can be expected,” Karin adds. ■

From the Benchmark Advocate Louis Nel gives his tips in the countdown to the Consumer Protection Act… *

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Employees at all levels have to be trained to ensure that they meet the requirements of, and understand the aim and policy of, the CPA. Such training must focus on the manner in which they interact with the consumer and the following general principles: ● Any form of discrimination whatsoever

must be avoided ● Ethical and proper behaviour ● Do not be misleading or deceptive ● Avoid doing anything that is ‘unconscionable’ i.e. ‘would shock the conscience of a reasonable person’. ■ QUICK READ FOR DECISION-MAKERS


& TNW’s Hilka Birns looks at new travel trends for 2010…

There’s something for everyone

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ERMANY and Austria remain lake district and the ‘Sound of Music’ very popular with South Africans, countryside near Salzburg; and the high especially as destinations offering Alps surrounding Innsbruck. great cultural interest, fantastic family Vienna also sells well in conjunction with vacations and exciting skiing options. Prague and Budapest. The countries are becoming increasingly Inge also notes that, nowadays, more popular as a family holiday destination, South Africans want to experience the says Trafalgar’s South African gm, Nicolas Austrian countryside. A lovely way to le Roux. “We have seen from our demand do this is on a cycling tour. Austria and past passenger surveys, that they are Connection has a variety of cycling tours good destinations to enjoy as a family, on offer, the most popular being along because they have so much to offer: the River Danube. natural beauty, history, culture and good Meanwhile, Sure Tours is promoting catering for the whole family.” Germany’s ‘Romantische Strasse’ Trafalgar has included Austria in its new (Romantic Road) taking in medieval ‘Kingdoms & Tales’ towns, gothic “They are good destinations to walled Family Experiences cathedrals, castles, 2010 brochure, which enjoy as a family, because they cobbled streets has become the single have so much to offer: natural and half-timbered most successful houses. The route product ever launched beauty, history, culture and good runs from Frankfurt to by the company, catering for the whole family.” Heidelberg, Würzburg, says Geneva-based Rothenburg ob der president and ceo, Gavin Tollman, who Tauber, Dinkelsbühl and Augsburg visited South Africa recently. to Munich. Austria is always popular in winter for Berlin has also become very popular skiing – especially among the youth with South Africans because of its revival market served by Contiki SA – and if since the fall of the Wall, says Sure Tours the bad weather continues in Europe, product manager, Esmari Borchardt. the skiing season could be longer than “Berlin’s well-balanced mix of historic anticipated this year. sights and funky vibe, great nightlife In summer, South Africans like to visit and modern architecture makes for a the beautiful and historic cities of Vienna, stimulating environment.” Salzburg and Innsbruck and to attend The Oktoberfest in Munich remains a music events, particularly in Vienna, which particular attraction for the youth market, is Europe’s leading city for classical music according to Contiki SA gm, Kelly Jackson. events. Prices are high, though over that period ‘Highlights of Eastern Europe’, which accommodation is often fully booked far includes Vienna, is one of Insight in advance. Vacations’ top-selling tours, says South Germany also remains popular with Africa gm, Sharon Marx. South African business travellers who Austria Connection owner, Inge Dobihal, attend the myriad of trade fairs and says the top scenic highlights in Austria exhibitions held annually and often are the romantic Wachau Danube Valley add on a few extra days to see more of close to Vienna; the Salzkammergut the country.

Did you know? The Oberammergau Passion play, which will take place in Austria this year, stems from 1632 when almost half of the Bavarian village’s population died of the plague. In a final, desperate act of faith, the village elders pledged that if the village was spared, its residents would re-enact the passion of Christ every 10 years for all eternity. Miraculously no more inhabitants were infected and the villagers have been performing the passion play ever since.

QUICK READ FOR busiest people

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Oberammergau to boost tourism

& Creative Germany – youthful, innovative and inspiring

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OR those who still associate Germany with cuckoo clocks, lederhosen, bratwurst and beer fests…think again! Germany has a rich culture of literature, philosophy, music and art and is still setting trends today, says Petra Hedorfer, ceo of The German National Tourist Board (GNTB). The GNTB this year has launched ‘Creative Germany’, a worldwide marketing campaign that promotes Germany as a youthful, innovative and inspiring travel destination to a predominantly young target group. “We want to embrace this creative spirit to generate further tourism potential,” Petra explains. The campaign focuses on four areas: architecture, art, design and fashion. Visitors are drawn by a wealth of events such as Berlin’s Fashion Week; interior design trade fairs and the DMY International Design Festival, which alone hosts more than 100 events. The well-known ‘Made in Germany’ label, which stands for quality German manufacturing, has now been enhanced by a new ‘Created in Germany’ brand to underscore the creative side of the country. German cities are another focal point this year. “City districts such as Berlin’s Kreuzberg or the Schanzenviertel district in Hamburg have developed into fashionable areas with an alternative vibe and should feature in every city-break itinerary,” says Petra.

THIS year’s Oberammergau Passion Play – the legendary re-enactment of the Passion of Christ that takes place once every 10 years in the same-named Bavarian village – is boosting tourism not only to Austria and Germany but to the whole of Europe, says Inge Dobihal. It is already proving to be Trafalgar’s top seller for 2010, says Nicolas le Roux. “This is a highlight on the South African calendar with so many South Africans wanting to experience this moving play,” he says. Trafalgar is one of the largest operators offering at least 14 tour options to Oberammergau between May and September. Insight Vacations has designed six itineraries visiting Oberammergau along with other main European sights. Most popular are the eight-day 'Best of Germany' and 12-day 'Country Roads of Bavaria, Switzerland and Austria', says Sharon Marx. Sure Tours has experienced a big demand for Oberammergau FIT packages rather than coach tours, says Esmari Borchardt. The play is performed in two parts daily from May to September and the last performance is on October 3.

Did you know? Tradition dictates that the play’s cast of thousands is drawn from all walks of life. The coveted role of Christ could be the village postman, butcher or school teacher. This year, true to modern times, Christ is played by a psychologist and Mary by a flight attendant!

Lufthansa – expect last-minute specials Destination Experts for Austria Central Europe Croatia Tel: 011 476 3967 austria.co@mweb.co.za www.austriaconnection.co.za

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LUFTHANSA’S current advance booking data does not support the theory that South Africans are planning to “escape” during the World Cup, says spokesperson, Karin Duncker. “We believe travellers will adapt their schedules to depart either pre- or post World Cup. Corporate companies have implemented travel embargos [during that time]. “Popular belief would be that outbound demand would be weak during the World Cup and that inbound would be strong. However, with such a dynamic economic climate it is difficult to anticipate if the forecast will hold true. In essence there remains a possibility that there will be specials in the market outbound during the World Cup.” In general, however, Lufthansa’s normal pricing structure applies to flights to and from Germany in June and July, accessible via the GDSs, starting from R7 100 including taxes. “Lufthansa’s advanced bookings were off to a slow start in 2010,” says Karin. “[Bookings in] May, June and July are higher than those of the previous year. We have noted that companies are still extremely cautious and have strict travel policies in place. Currently the market remains volatile and forecasting particular trends without a comparable year is not possible.” The German carrier flies twice daily from JNB to FRA and four times a week from JNB to Munich. Its seasonal flights to Cape Town resume at the end of October for five months ending March 2011. Meanwhile, Lufthansa soon launches three new routes from Munich: ● March 26: a daily A319 service to Talinn, the capital of Estonia. ● March 27: Lufthansa CityLine weekend services to Rostock, on the Baltic coast; and a Lufthansa CityLine Saturday service to Zadar, Croatia. Popular Mediterrannean destinations Faro (Portugal), Split and Dubrovnik (Croatia) and Larnaca (Cyprus) feature again in Lufthansa’s European summer timetable.

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Trafalgar Tours:

● Germany and/or Austria feature in three ‘Cost Saver’ and in 10 First Class itineraries. ● 'Kingdoms & Tales' Family Experiences 2010 covers Prague, Lednice, Vienna, Esztergom and Budapest over 10 days from R14 800pp twin share. Prices are guaranteed in rands. By paying a R1 000 deposit the brochure prices are set and protected against any increases or currency fluctuations. ● Trafalgar also offers 1% extra commission for any bookings made on its online trade booking system.

Insight Vacations:

● 14-day ‘Highlights of Eastern Europe’ includes Vienna, Berlin and Potsdam. ● Book ‘Best of Germany’ and save up to R736pp. ● Insight’s range of discounts includes: - Friends and family discounts: five to eight passengers get 5%, further savings available for nine or more passengers - Extra tour discounts: book two Insight tours at the same time and get 5% off the cheaper one of the two tours. - Young traveller savings: five to 17-year-olds save up to 10%. - Early payment discounts: save up to 10% - Frequent traveller savings: save 5%

Contiki SA:

● Oktoberfest: five-day or seven-day options priced at R3 145pp and R3 995pp respectively. Clients camp in the Contiki Tent Village. ● Ski Austria: one- or two-week options at Hopfgarten from R4 145pp. ● Contiki offers agents 20% off these tours and they can combine it with Contiki’s Travelbucks.

Sure Tours:

● ‘Romantic Road’: four nights at R5 520pps, valid May 2 to Oct 16, 2010. The packages operate on a hopon-hop-off basis, ideal for people who don’t want to drive themselves but who want to explore points on the route a bit more. It also makes a great add-on for those visiting Oberammergau.

Austria Connection:

● ‘Interlude’ city packages for Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck include shuttle transfer upon arrival, three nights' accommodation with buffet breakfast, Vienna Card for 72 hours (free public transport and various discounts), 24-hour hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus, coffee and cake at a traditional coffee house and one traditional Viennese dinner. Priced from €272pp (R2 791) in centrally located threestar hotel. ● Danube Cycle Path ‘Hungarian Danube Spa and Bike’ tour from Vienna to Budapest. Eight days from €555 (R5 695). Departs every Saturday from April to October 2010. QUICK READ FOR DECISION-MAKERS


Air Namibia offers affordable outbound option AIR Namibia still has availability on the FRA-WDH-FRA and WDH-JNB/CPT routes during the forthcoming FIFA World Cup. The airline has not blocked out any dates during the period and all fares remain the same as the current published fares with seat allocation on the various classes the same as they are at present, says gm Southern Africa, Charmaine Thomé. The carrier is offering a special of R4 900 (plus R2 100 taxes) on the JNB-FRA leg, valid until June 30. “As there is large capacity directly out of South Africa into Europe, the route via Windhoek is not the first option for South African travellers. However, the fares are competitive and certainly offer a good alternative,” Charmaine says. She adds: “Although the connection is very good for South Africans, this route has never really been driven in the SA market as the focus has been inbound traffic or passengers travelling directly out of Namibia.” Charmaine says Air Namibia’s FRA route so far has been performing well in comparison with last year. It is supported 80% by European FIT tourists and tour groups. Air Namibia flies six times a week from WDH to FRA with connections from JNB and CPT. It uses a new Airbus A340300 with 30 seats in business class and 246 in economy class. The airline recently introduced online check-in and automated its Rewards frequent flyer programme. Clients can register online.

One of Germany's biggest festivals, Oktoberfest, takes place from September 18 to October 4 this year

Germany celebrates 300 years of porcelain production GERMANY this year celebrates the 300th anniversary of Meissen porcelain production, a theme being promoted worldwide by the German National Tourist Board (GNTB). Porcelain production in Germany began in 1710 at the Albrechtsburg Castle in Meissen, Saxony. It was a first for Europe because nobility previously had to import porcelain from China at exorbitant prices. Other porcelain works soon sprang up across Germany and gained international repute, such as Rosenthal in Upper Franconia and Villeroy and Boch in Saarland.

Celebrations this year in Meissen include exhibitions, limited editions and commemorative events, culminating in a special parade on September 26. Displays will include historic pieces such as those commissioned by Catherine the Great of Russia and contemporary porcelain art, notably the statue of a bald eagle made for the foyer of the new US embassy in Berlin. A special travel guide has been compiled and FIT or group accommodation packages can be booked, including a cycling tour from Meissen to Dresden.

TNW3846SD

QUICK READ FOR bUSIESt pEOplE

Wednesday March 17 2010 n 9


REPORT

Get web wise! Melody Brandon

T

HE Internet has reduced the world to a global village. From finding news to booking holidays, there is nothing you cannot find or buy and the new information age poses a threat to travel agents unless they learn how to use it to their advantage. “You have to know your product and be aware of what is on offer out there. If a client can save R100 and do it himself, he will, which means agents have to be more innovative,” says Kevin Banks, travel agent with Travel247. Kevin believes the key to success for any agent is their ability to get their name known and to be on top of

developments, including where potential clients may be going to book their travel. With the competition book-ityourself travel websites have brought, service delivery and efficiency have never been so important. “If tour operators are offering packages on their website straight to the public, tell friends and family and clients about what is on offer but tell them if they book it with you, you will do all the leg work without any additional costs,” Kevin advises. If nothing else, being aware of where potential clients are looking will enable agents to act pre-emptively and visiting the same sites will also assist with product knowledge.

What the online booking tools offer Travelocity.com What it offers: We have all seen Travelocity’s mascot – a little gnome on the Amazing Race. While the website is aimed at American travellers, you are able to book flights from South Africa. Travellers can book hotels, car rental, packages and cruises, among others. The 'activities by destination' and 'experience finder' are both useful tools. For the do-ityourself traveller, this website would be the first port of call. Design: Well laid out and neat, not too busy. Navigation: Everything is labelled clearly, making it easy to find what you are looking for. Ease of use: For the fairly inexperienced Internet user, the site is not difficult. Rating: 4/5

Expedia.com

23463 Travelport TNW editorial 2/1/10 2:33 PM Page 3 C

M

Y

CM

Travel Talk

Following a challenging year for

We are an era travel in entering 2009, plagued by in the effects of the economic recession travel, where technology and swine flu,new thoseways in the industry will provide will be hoping for a rapid recovery to aggregate and display in 2010. Indeed, IATA’s latest report content, transacting has hintedmaking at an increase in business easier and more efficient. travel following a strong rise But in worldchange trade inwill recent months. real require more Developing markets appear to be than GDS providers offering improving more and quickly than some richer content greater of the major economies, with Asia, choice. South America and African It will require a fundamental countries showing encouraging shift, with the industry growth. coming up with a shared In Southfor Africa, it isdistribution, likely that we model global will see more consolidation, with rather than pursuing smaller agencies seeking the sometimes conflicting relative security of their larger proprietary goals. groups will compatriots. Bigger continue to look at strengthening

affiliations with global groups. To really put our mutual customer – the traveller – at The FIFA World Cup will provide a the centre of everything we boost over the traditional winter do, weand must: trough hopefully also some longer-term growth for the local

airline, hospitality and related ● Accommodate a vast array industries and the broader of supplier travel optionsSouth

African economy. Another benefit is increased cooperation between

● Provide agencies with African airlines. GDS content is relevant, tailored being bolstered withsupport more

interlining and sharing agreements

toEnable improvepeople connections ● and and services for 2010, the advantages of which corporations to buy travel will extend wellwant beyond the way they to the tournament.

● Deliver choice and value Travel agents can expect to see more to increasingly informed full-content agreements from major travellers carriers and new airline participants

MY

CY CMY

on Galileo as they seek to regain ● Deliver that work some of thesolutions ground lost in 2009 and across agent and corporate capitalise on the World Cup. Although South Africa be centre client desktops andwill source stage during 2010, there will also be content from multiple opportunities for other African channels countries, with airline GDS sales showing growth in several To achieve this,African we need to countries. South travel createshould some standards so to agents be well placed capitalise on this. technology platforms can be The coming year will also see a compatible without creating number of new innovative products massive system overhead introduced to the region, including: costs. The focus should be Universal Desktop: a unified GDS more choice, not the lowest desktop that seamlessly integrates common denominator. We of content directly from a variety should not accept standards suppliers. Agents will no longer have to logonly into different systems but can that lend themselves access everything from theirbut oneto current technologies, stop-desktop, saving time, look to potential emerging improving service and efficiency. platforms and capabilities. KDS Portal 6: the latest version of a Travelport is investing corporate self-booking tool that in traveller desktop and enables travel management workflow to automation as well companies book and manage travel arrangements while reducing as technology to support costs. It combinesand Galileo, low-cost merchandising offer carrier, hotel, car and rail content the choices demanded by as well as agency and corporate consumers, corporate travel negotiated rates, presented in a buyersdisplay. and travel agencies. single Traversa: an online booking tool that Therebusiness is real potential allows travellers the ability forquickly the three sides of the shop to and cost-effectively distribution triangle to and make their own reservations comeenabling together to set newto while corporations standards andpolicies, give our maintain travel maximise supplier agreements and achieve customers informed travel high online adoption. It is currently choice. There has never been used by IBM. a better time to do it.

K

What it offers: Much like Travelocity, you can book flights from South Africa. Unlike Travelocity, the site offers flights on more airlines. The ‘deals and offers’ tool is quite useful. There is also a business travel tool with deals on four- and five-star hotels. Travellers can earn points on a reward system, which they can use for future travel. Design: Very functional. Navigation: Easy to navigate with a contact number should you not be able to find what you are looking for. Ease of use: Not difficult to use. Any reasonably capable Internet user could use it. Rating: 3½/5

Seekers.co.za What it offers: The South African site offers domestic and international packages, flights and car rental. Users can sign up for a newsletter that covers news and reviews on hotels, flights and destinations. The featured package, most popular package, top destination and top five packages’ toolbars on the home page are very helpful. Design: The layout is clean and user friendly. Navigation: All the links are clearly marked and the search function finds what you are looking for quickly. Ease of use: Easy to use and is not too busy. Rating: 4/5

Traveliafrica.co.za What it offers: It is a leisure and event ‘destination management company’ specialising in the organisation and logistics of meetings, events and leisure travel within Southern Africa. The site offers solutions for leisure travel, sport group travel and events. For those looking for packages in Southern Africa, it has much to offer. Unlike the other sites, you cannot book flights. Design: The site does not have the functionality of the others but it is well laid out for the purpose it serves. Navigation: Fairly easy to navigate. Ease of use: Because there are not that many options (flights etc), the site is easy to use. Rating: 3/5

Tripadvisor.com What it offers: Trip Advisor is a great site to use for information about your chosen destination. Travellers are able to upload their comments about their experience of the hotel, which gives the user an idea of what to expect. The site is linked to Expedia if a traveller is looking to book flights. A unique feature is the trip ideas tool, which gives the user options on types of holidays they might be interested in such as shopping, history and culture, and beaches and sun, among others. Design: The site is well designed but can get a little confusing with all the different destinations (over 400 000) hotels and reviews. Navigation: Not difficult to navigate but you need to set aside a considerable amount of time to look through all the information. Ease of use: Not difficult to use but you may feel a little overwhelmed with all the reviews of hotels, some good, some bad. There is an ‘average’ of all the votes and you may find yourself a little confused. Rating: 4½/5 n

to the point www.travelport.com TNW5116

10 n Wednesday March 17 2010 Composite

● Effective March 30, Air Zimbabwe will resume scheduled services between Johannesburg and Victoria Falls. Flights will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, departing Johannesburg at 09h30, arriving in Victoria Falls at 11h15. The return service will depart Victoria Falls at 12h30, arriving in Johannesburg at 14h15. Flights will be operated with a B737 aircraft. QUICK READ FOR DECISION-MAKERS


COMMUNITYNEWS

jObS

Births, deaths, marriages, promotions – we want to know! Please fax or e-mail TNW's Jeanette Phillips, at jeanettep@nowmedia.co.za or (011) 327 4094.

our website is updated daily! visit www.specialized.co.za

Appointments md, Africa. Sandro’s responsibilities will include overseeing the activities of the company’s two hotels in South Africa – The Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town and The Westcliff in Johannesburg – as well as its three safari camps in Botswana, Khwai River Lodge, Savute Elephant Camp and Eagle Island Camp. Sandro has been with Orient-Express for over 18 years in various managerial positions throughout Europe. Before moving to Cape Town, he was based in Madeira, where he was gm of Reid’s Palace for two years. Prior to this he was gm of both the Lapa Palace in Lisbon and Hotel Quinta do Lago on Portugal’s Algarve coast.

To advertise on this page contact Natalie on 011 214 7330 or email nataliew@nowmedia.co.za

Travel Assistant U.S. Consulate General, Johannesburg “An Equal Opportunity Employer” The U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg is seeking an individual for the position of Travel Assistant in the Management Section.

n Sarel du Plessis has joined Club Med as transportation manager. Sarel has 12 years’ experience in the industry including positions at Virgin Atlantic and Flight Centre.

TAP PORTUGAL RESERVATIONS AND TICKETING OFFICER. Requirements: ● 2 years experience ● Amadeus ● Matric ● Good communication skills ● Age between 20 – 35 years ● Fluent in Portuguese C.V. to servicos.jnb@tap.pt or fax (011) 455 4912 TNW5115

The ideal candidate must meet the following requirements: ● Successful completion of high school (Matric), plus diploma in hospitality or hotel management. ● One year of general clerical or administrative experience, plus two years of work experience in the hospitality, travel, tourism or event planning industry. ● English (fluent) reading/writing/speaking. (This will be tested). ● Must have knowledge of hospitality, conferencing and event planning. ● Ability to explain rules and regulations in a clear and concise fashion to all levels of employees. ● Must be proficient in the use of all aspects of Microsoft Office Suite. (This will be tested).

Personnel with the personal touch FINANCIAL SAlESMANAGER/ISANDO MANAGER/ Highly negotiable pacakage offered by Market Leader NORTHERN SUBURBS for your B.Comm/equivalent and ability to lead Strong Corporate Sales & department of 45 people! Management skills required by Market Leader!! NATIONAL SALES MANAGER/ NORTHERN SUBURBS

Hands on position with total responsibility for PRODUCT DEVElOPER/ SANDTON Key Account Managers Business Understanding ofand rates and Development Managers! to join commission structures leading inbound operator!!

Salary and Benefits Basic Salary Range: R186,980 – R261,769 p.a Benefits Range: R55,642 – R61,924 p.a Competitive Pension and Medical Package offered.

BRAND MANAGER/

NORTHERN SUBURBS SAlES ExECUTIVE/PRETORIA Person strong in Marketing invited to Promote exciting product tojoin the leading Wholesaler! Travel Industry!! SENIOR CONSULTANT/BOKSBURG INTERMEDIATE lEISURE

Register on line at http://www.americanembassy.pnet.co.za to file your application. Closing date: March 19, 2010

Join well established, friendly company and work CONSUlTANT/ BEDFORDVIEW closer to home! Utilise your leisure experience

to join super team!!

Please Take Note of Our New Telephone No.: 011 704 4909

CONTACT WENDY/KIM TEl: 011Contact 465 8221 FAx: 086 538 5889 Wendy/Kim E-MAIl: wtp@icon.co.za (011) 704 4909 or e-mail: wtp@icon.co.za

lee botti & associates Tel: Tracey (011) 803 6606 rivonia@nowjobs.co.za

TNW5113

THIS WEEK’S TOP JObS JOHANNESbURG

Well known, highly successful inbound operator wants you to join their team! If you have at least 3 years debtors experience and are deadline and results orientated, call us now! Stunning working environment and dynamic team! To R12 000 ctc.

CAPE TOWN

CAPE TOWN

CONTRACTING MANAGER – Cbd

Tel: Wayne (021) 418 1084 capetown@nowjobs.co.za

Tel: Jill (031) 201 8330 durban@nowjobs.co.za See our website for a further selection of exciting vacancies! www.leebotti.co.za

2010

QUICK READ FOR bUSIESt pEOplE

JOHANNESbURG

Do you have a proven track record in dev & building excellent relationships with agents? Top notch inbound operator requires your min5 years sales exp within a travel agency or tour operator environ. Your excellent PowerPoint presentation skills & dynamic persona will be your ticket to success! Will be resp for servicing Pretoria region. To R17 500 ctc + sales incentive

Bring your gift of the gab to secure allocations, negotiate the best rock bottom rates and still maintain super smooth relationships with suppliers. Working closely with hotels in Southern Africa as Africa awakens with opp! Previous contracting exp is ess. R15 000 plus bens

dEbTORS AdMINISTRATOR SANdTON AREA

SENIOR RETAIL CONSULTANT – Cbd

Wonderful opportunity exists to join young vibrant, but experienced corporate consulting team! You’ll have a passion for purpose in meeting & exceeding clients expectations. Bring along those loyal clients. Amadeus essential. Salary negotiable.

dURbAN

dURbAN

PERSONAL ASSISTANT! – MORNINGSIdE

bRANCH MANAGER! – dURbAN

Rare opportunity to work within busy, specialist tour operator & be part of the Soccer World Cup hype! Strong, wellpresented person who is well travelled, and with previous consulting experience sought. Perform PA duties, and bring along your superb Powerpoint presentation skills! R7,000 – R8,000 neg.

Rare opportunity in the Durban market! Well-established national retail agency seeks vibrant, outgoing person to head up their local branch. Will suit a strong leader with excellent communication skills, and top-notch consulting experience. Excellent package consists of basic salary, great incentives, laptop, cell allowance, etc.

Airline Station Manager – ORTIA Responsible for all flight and ground operational activities & overseeing GHA. Must be able to demonstrate good knowledge of government regulations, company policies and procedures, including dangerous goods, aircraft loading, flight security procedure and safety incident/hazard reporting. Valid Weight & Balance certification required. Min 5 years exp in a similar role. joyce@sgroup.co.za Airline PA/Executive Assistant-N/Suburb Min 3 years in similar role within an airline. Provide pro-active administrative & secretarial support plus facilitate day-to-day management activities effectively. Must have excellent interpersonal skills & be fully proficient in spoken/ written English and e-business communication. joyce@sgroup. co.za Airline Tours Consultant – East Rand Based within International Sales Department of well known airline. Customise itineraries, handle quotations & bookings. Experience within a leisure retail agency or tour operator is required & Amadeus is essential. Sound Regional & South African destination knowledge is essential. joyce@sgroup.co.za Airline District Sales Manager – KZN Minimum 5 years outdoor Airline Passenger Sales experience essential, Must be familiar with KZN travel agents, government accounts & corporate companies. joyce@sgroup.co.za

TRAVEL DIVISION: Consulting Opportunities in the Springs area Work closer to home! Candidates must have strong consulting skills in either corporate or leisure travel, with Amadeus an advantage but not essential. Highly negotiable salary depending on experience. Kati Something different! - N/Suburbs Strong fares/ticketing/BSP skills are required to play an all rounder role within an international company. Responsibilities will incorporate Quality Control, BSP and stand-in as a corporate consultant. Joyce Leisure Consultants!!!! Various different opportunities are available for consultants with leisure travel experience. The job descriptions vary so contact us for more details! Tina Senior Inbound Consultant N/Suburbs This is an impressive operation and a highly acclaimed company! Share in their success utilizing your strong inbound consulting skills. Kati Jnr/Int Inbound Consultant N/Suburbs R5500/R11000 depending on experience. Candidates must have inbound travel experience. Join top operator with scope to develop further! Kati Executive PA - Sandton Half day opportunity. Must have strong Dictaphone skills. Will be assista an Executive Chairman of highly regarded company. Tina Temp: Executive PA – Sandton A two week period from 12 – 28 April. Candidates must have previously held an Executive PA position and have excellent Dictaphone skills. Tina Receptionist – Bedfordview Based at a leisure travel agency in a front-line position. A Travel Course graduate would be ideal. Galileo advantageous. Tina BEE Receptionist – Boksburg area Play an important role in this busy agency handling reception duties. Emphasis is on filing and admin functions. A friendly, well spoken candidate with excellent attention to detail is required. Tina Credit Controller – Boksburg area A 5 month contract from May to October. Quicktrav is essential. Job description includes reconciling credit cards, invoices from suppliers, banking, speedpoint transactions and receipts. Will pay attractive salary for the right skills! Kati

Office Hrs (011) 884-9113 Website: www.specialized.co.za e-mail: kati@sgroup.co.za

TNW0714

n Orient-Express has announced the appointment of Sandro Fabris as regional

AVIATION DIVISION:

TNW2048 TNW2048

n Fancourt’s hotel gm, Kerrin Titmas, has been appointed ceo, effective April 1. Kerrin will take over from current ceo, Niall O’Hagan, the company’s former financial director who held the role of ceo in a temporary capacity ahead of his retirement at the end of March. Kerrin will head up some 500 permanent staff members and 250 casuals in a range of responsibilities that include hotel, golf, real estate, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility and environmental considerations. Since her appointment as Fancourt’s hotel gm in February 2009, Kerrin has overseen the successful completion of various initiatives, including the refurbishment of a number of hotel rooms and facilities and spearheading a renewed focus on service levels and standards.

SpecialiZed Travel perSonnel

Wednesday March 17 2010 n 11


TNW NEWS

Time’s up for price gougers Melody Brandon

S Paddy’s Day is here! Tourism Ireland and Etihad Airways are inviting travel consultants to join them in celebrating St Patrick’s Day at an Irish Pub Quiz evening on March 17 at the Killarney Country Club in Houghton Estate, Johannesburg, from 18h00-20h30. “The evening promises to be a lot of fun with lots of prizes to be won,” says Jane Davidson, md of Development Promotions, which represents Tourism Ireland. “Consultants should brush up their general knowledge of Ireland. There will also be a small welcome gift for the consultants who have completed the Shamrock Agents’ online training.” To RSVP, email jnbsales@ etihad.ae. Kicking off the celebrations are (from left): Helen Fraser, pr and publicity Tourism Ireland; Jane Davidson and Natalia Thomson, editor of TNW Photo: Tijana Huysamen

brought to you by

eTNW and TRAVELINFO

OUTH Africa is battling to protect its reputation as a value-for-money destination. In the latest move, the Department of Tourism says it will investigate accommodation prices over the 2010 World Cup to name and shame price gougers. “In recent weeks we have noted allegations that accommodation establishments in the tourism industry are not acting responsibly and are inflating prices excessively. We believe this should be investigated and the results made public,” says tourism minister, Marthinus van Schalkwyk. Grant Thornton has been commissioned to conduct a survey and benchmark South African accommodation prices against those of other nations that have previously hosted the event. The results should be released at the end of the month. “Of course there will always be establishments that will take chances. We have always and will always continue to discourage this

Do you think the World Cup will have a positive effect on your business? n Yes 23% n No, it’s just a load of hype 42% n No change whatsoever 35% A recent survey by SA Tourism and TNW sister publication, Tourism Update Online, measured the inbound industry’s attitude and physical preparations ahead of the World Cup. Some 350 businesses, representing the broad spectrum of services and facilities in tourism, took part. The majority of respondents (70%) believed the World Cup would be excellent for business. This was at odds with the outbound market’s take on the event (see pie chart). The remaining inbound respondents (30%) were cynical, saying it was nothing but a “load of hype”. They did not think South Africa was ready to host the event and were eager to “see the back of it”. eTravel is the ITC market leader in South Africa and assists senior Travel Consultants and Travel business owners to realise their dreams. If you have ever dreamt of owning your own travel business or would like to cut costs by doing away with your IATA license and improve your current business efficiencies then you should call eTravel. We run the back office for over 190 Independent Travel Companies and specialise in making your travel business a success by offering the best commissions, overrides & a comprehensive support structure. If you have a client base, 5 years retail travel experience or already own your own business but want to make more, then contact us! You’ll be amazed at how easy it is!

lauraw@etravel.co.za / charmainem@etravelcpt.co.za

12 n Wednesday March 17 2010

has enquired I have referred to someone else. I am playing a game called honesty, have made a note of the hotels that have overpriced themselves ridiculously and will not use them again,” she says. Dorienne says she had seen a shift in a few hotels’ prices to standard winter rates. “Some hotels have lowered their prices but then that is based on a minimum three- or four-night stay. What is a client going to do if they are following their team around the country and don’t want to stay in one place for that long?” XL Oceanair manager, Liz Budge, says the tourism department should instead be investigating overpriced dayto-day costs. “Some hotels are charging ridiculous rates and I just support the ones that don’t. Those that are reasonable will do well, the ones who are overcharging will be left with beds to fill and no one to sell them to. “What worries me more is a three-star lodge in Bloemfontein charging R190 for breakfast. I did a quote for a president and his entourage coming to the country for the To page 2

Thai GSA for Cullinan? natalia thoMson

World Cup bonanza – inbound and outbound markets disagree

kind of exploitation. We believe this survey will assist us in getting to the bottom of these allegations,” says Marthinus. The survey might actually be unnecessary as with MATCH’s release of 314 220 room nights since January 19, prices appear to be dropping. But it might be too little too late, says the industry. The damage has already been done to South Africa’s reputation, explains Selftours marketing manager, Steve Falconer. “It is like shattered glass, you can’t fix it.” Steve thinks the prices some accommodation establishments have been charging are tantamount to theft, citing the example of a property charging R2 000 when they would normally charge R500. “We may have a situation from April where hotels are so desperate to fill beds they may lower their prices, but I am not holding my breath,” he says. Dorienne Levitt, owner of African Stay, says she has not sold any packages over June and July on principle. “I took a decision not to have anything to do with the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Anyone who

THAI Airways has yet to make an official announcement regarding its newly appointed GSA in South Africa but rumours are circulating that Cullinan Holdings will be awarded the contract. According to sources, three companies were vying for the GSA in this market, two of which have since confirmed to TNW they were

unsuccessful in their bid. Cullinan Holdings chairman, Michael Tollman, told TNW this week that no actual announcement had been made. “I can confirm that Cullinan Holdings is in discussion with Thai Airways but a decision on the way forward has not been taken at this time.” Thai Airways will be launching its three direct flights a week from

Johannesburg to Bangkok on June 2. The schedule is as follows: ● TG 704 departs Johannesburg on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 13h40, arriving at Bangkok at 06h05 the next day. ● TG 703 departs Bangkok on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 00h40 arriving in Johannesburg at 06h55 the same day. n

The end of billbacks? About the iVoucher From page 1 The iVoucher is an electronic voucher that speeds up payment between the hotel and corporate account. It guarantees immediate electronic payment of hotel reservations when a deposit for a booking is made or on checkin or check-out depending on the contract between the hotel and booking engine. No matter whether payment is through a lodged card or a corporate’s bank account, it ensures there are funds

available to fulfil the voucher and enables a corporate booking engine like mymarket to automate settlement of those funds. As soon as a customer checks out of a hotel, an encrypted electronic invoice with detailed MIS information is sent through to the consultant/agency that made the booking, enabling them to pass this on to their corporate clients and use the information for better corporate travel management. Travel agents will also save

massively on their merchant fees, as the iVoucher will assign the correct cost to the correct merchant. Alistair Crawford, ITIS ceo, says instead of agents having to pay 100% of the merchant fee when swiping a lodged card for a billback, the iVoucher will split the merchant fee charges between hotel and agent, with agents only paying the merchant fee on the service fee portion of the transaction. “This could save agents up to 90% in merchant fees.” n

QUICK READ FOR DECISION-MAKERS


Travel News Weekly - 17 March 2010