By VICTOR NZE
South African Tourism (SAT) has appointed Thekiso Rakolojane to lead the organisation’s destination marketing efforts and to expand strategic business partnerships in Ghana and Nigeria.
“The West African markets are critical to us being able to achieve the goal of 5 million tourist arrivals by 2021 because the potential to grow the region is significant enough to make a big impact to South Africa’s tourism results,” Sthembiso Dlamini, Chief Operating Officer at South African Tourism said.
Growth in tourist arrivals means a better performing economy and increased job creation. In South Africa, 1.5 million jobs were supported by travel and tourism in 2017, which is 9.5per cent of the total employment in the country. The total contribution of travel and tourism to South Africa’s GDP was R412.5bn (8.9percent of GDP) in 2017 and is forecast to rise by 2.9 percent in 2018.
Rakolojane takes over from Hloni Pitso who has since been appointed as head of SA Tourism’s South Europe Hub. Rakolojane brings 18 years’ worth brand management experience to his new role and will call upon his tourism industry knowledge to ensure market excellence.
Dlamini added that: “We are excited at the prospect of seeing Thekiso building on successes generated in these markets and enhancing stakeholder relationships to deliver on mutually beneficial business results.”
Talking about his focus in his new role, Rakolojane had this to say, “Addressing travel barrier concerns are important to our business goal and is the focus for South African officials in negotiating an ease on travel restrictions for Ghana and Nigeria.
I look forward to entrenching myself in new cultures, learning from our partners, and with my team, implementing innovative campaigns and effective business projects.”
Prior to being Hub Head, Rakolojane served as regional brand manager looking after the Africa and Domestic Tourism markets at SA Tourism. Before that he was the marketing and communications manager at the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, a business unit operating within SA Tourism and is still the only recognised and globally credible quality assurance body for tourism products in South Africa that other African Tourism Boards are benchmarking themselves against.