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SA Tourism resigns from MATCH Advisory Board

by Michael Appel
on 03 Nov 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

South African Tourism has pulled out as a member of the advisory board of the FIFA-appointed hospitality company MATCH.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of South African Tourism, Moeketsi Mosola, on Monday announced SAT's resignation explaining that this was due to the unfavourable trading terms placed on local accommodation establishments.

"As we move towards 2010, we want you to know [as the South African tourism industry] that we at South African Tourism are on your side. We have decided to resign from the MATCH Advisory Board," the CEO said.

MATCH is tasked with ensuring there are enough rooms available for all visiting FIFA officials and associated members and as such, pre-pay for accommodation.

Speaking at the 7th Annual National Tourism Conference, Mr Mosola said that MATCH should be expected to pay market related prices for all accommodation reserved during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

South African Tourism, he said, was dedicated and committed in every way to working with national and local government to bridge the gap in service excellence identified in an Accenture Report released in 2007.

According to the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, the report ranked South Africa's service delivery in terms of customer service the lowest in the world.

Mr Mosola highlighted that one unhappy customer could lead to 10 unhappy customers, and that this situation needed to be avoided at all costs, particularly as the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup were on the horizon.

Tourism needs to be everybody's business and if South Africa wants to transform itself in a world class travel and tourism destination, South Africans need to start traveling in their own country.

The CEO conceded that service levels in the country were not up to scratch and that much was needed to be done to rectify the situation as the world is watching and hundreds of thousands of visitors would be visiting South Africa and expecting world class customer service.

"I refuse to accept that such a highly motivated industry such as the tourism industry cannot deal with something like customer service," said the CEO, adding that by working with academic institutions, the problem of a skill shortage in the industry could be addressed.

Gauteng Local Government MEC Dorothy Mahlangu told delegates that South Africans need to be proud of their country and strive for service excellence. - BuaNews


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