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TRAVEL NEWS WEEKLY
SOUTHERN AFRICA’S TRAVEL NEWS WEEKLYDecember 19/26 2018 I No. 2525
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TNW wishes all its readers a joyful festive season and a happy and prosperous new year. Now Media’s offices close on December 14 and reopen on January 7, 2019.
GTA rate disparity frustrates agents Sarah robertSon
EARLY adopter agents of the new bedsonline reservations system are reporting rate disparities between its sister company systems: namely bedsonline, GTA and Hotelbeds.
This comes after bedsonline’s announcement that the GTA platform would be discontinued by the end of January following a merger between GTA, Hotelbeds and Tourico Holidays. The company has also confirmed that, while retail agents will be migrated across to the new bedsonline system, the Hotelbeds system
will remain operational for the large tour operator and the OTA market only.
Shaun Beckley, key account manager at bedsonline, said the current rate disparity was due to the ongoing process of hotel contracts being renewed, unified and streamlined and that, as this took place, agents would see rates aligning.
“However, there will still be a price difference between Hotelbeds and bedsonline as Hotelbeds will be used by large-scale tour operators, with the rest of the channel using bedsonline. Retail agents currently using the Hotelbeds system will also be migrated
across to bedsonline during quarter one of 2019,” he added.
For sales support Shaun and his BDM team will be managing all bedsonline bookings locally from South Africa. The company has also launched a local South African number that can be called for operations support. Hotelbeds bookings will continue to be supported by the Dubai office with no local representatives.
Bedsonline has also introduced ‘package rates’ for the first time, which must be sold together with other travel bookings without disclosing the
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FlySafair integrates with Sabre Savannah Freemantle
AGENTS who ticket through Sabre can now access more competitive rates for both FlySafair’s value fares (starting from R699) and its flexi fares (starting from R1 299) than were previously available on Sabre, as the airline is now bookable under its FA code.
This is because FlySafair’s content has been directly integrated with Sabre. The airline was previously only marketed on Sabre via a codeshare agreement with Hahn Air Systems, bookable under the H1 code.
Kirby Gordon, head of sales and distribution at FlySafair, said the change
KLM is celebrating 80 years in the South African market and, at 99 years old this year, is the world’s oldest airline still using its original name. For more on this story, see page 6.
To page 12
The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa has unveiled new and revised grading standards that include new categories – apartment hotels and small hotels as well as a new dimension recognising properties by niche offerings such as child-friendly, pet-friendly, wedding venues, spa and wellness facilities. The new criteria have been gazetted for implementation from April 2019. Pictured: Darryl Erasmus, chief quality assurance officer, SA Tourism: TGCSA. Photo: Shannon Van Zyl
2 n Wednesday December 19/26 2018 QUICK READ FOR DECISION-MAKERS
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Depressed economy triggers retrenchments Sarah robertSon
THIS year has seen a drop in vacancies in the travel industry as well as an increased workload for those employed, recruiters say. Reasons cited include retrenchments, smaller agencies being bought out or closing down, cash
flow problems, recession conditions, the weak rand, legislative red tape, government payment delays and resignation positions not being refilled.
Where retrenchments have taken place or resignation positions have not been refilled, existing staff are being put under more pressure to
perform, which is resulting in job dissatisfaction, say recruiters.
Kim Botti, director of Lee Botti and Associates, told TNW she had noticed a decrease in vacancies compared with this time last year.
“Where retrenchments have taken place, remaining staff are required to handle the additional workload, placing more pressure on these employees.
“This can sometimes lead to them resigning without positions to go to, not realising how few roles are available,” said Kim.
Jean Rymer, Professional Career Services senior recruiter – travel industry, confirmed that there had been retrenchments in the industry this year. These had been across the board, affecting
finance, junior, intermediate and senior consultants.
She added that the most common reason job candidates cited for seeking new positions was exhaustion, resulting from working 13 to 16 hours a day.
Nadine Drake, managing member of Equity Connections, said she had seen a number of small agencies closing their doors and that people were holding
on to existing jobs for fear of future retrenchments, knowing the rule of last in, first out applied.
“The pressure on senior consultants is immense. As consumers become more comfortable with online booking platforms, consultants are required to provide increasingly better service levels to hold on to their existing clients and maintain their KPIs,” said Nadine.
All recruiters unanimously agreed that senior consultants remained in particular demand with juniors struggling to get a foot in the door. Another notable industry trend included a decrease in annual salary increase percentages. While 10% was an expected increase in previous years, the average was now between four and six percent. n
Infrastructure limitations bedevil local cruising hilka birnS
MSC Cruises South Africa wants to bring bigger cruise ships to the country but the biggest problem bedevilling local cruising is the lack of appropriate infrastructure, says md, Ross Volk.
Addressing the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Africa Leaders Forum in Stellenbosch recently, he said: “One of the strategic challenges in Africa is around infrastructure for cruising. Cruise vessels mainly call at Cape Town.” He added that MSC Cruises was looking to bring bigger ships here. Over the past few years, MSC has increased capacity from 2 500 pax on the MSC Sinfonia; to 2 550-3 223
guests on MSC Musica. Next year, its similar-sized sister ship, MSC Orchestra (2 550-3 200 guests) is scheduled to cruise locally from November.
MSC Cruises is already the fourth-largest cruise line in the world, and Ross said it was spending €13,5bn (R212bn) over the next 12 years on 17 new ships as part of a global expansion plan. Its passenger numbers are expected to grow from two million to five million by 2027. He said, by 2022, MSC would be operating the world’s largest ship, with 6 500 passengers and 2 500 crew on board.
Ross said there was a need for more collaboration between the private and public sectors to address
the infrastructure problems. In this vein, MSC Cruises was partnering with the Africa Armada Consortium to build the new R200m Durban Cruise Terminal. When it opens in 2020, it is expected to put Durban on a par with Cape Town as a cruise port and boost the city’s share of the growing global cruise industry.
Meanwhile, Ross told TNW he had approached the Department of Home Affairs about installing a biometric border control system at Cape Town’s cruise terminal and Durban as it came on line, but was told the system, being piloted at Cape Town International Airport from March, would be tested at Acsa airports first. n
“Where retrenchments have taken place,
remaining staff are required to handle the additional workload,
placing more pressure on these employees.”
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