Amadeus Integrated Solutions (a subsidiary of Amadeus IT Group) has stated that there have been bold steps forward in creating a National Tourism Visitor Information System (NTVIS), and Travel and Tourism Training Academy (TTTA) – which are being developed in collaboration with the public and private tourism sector stakeholders in South Africa.

The statement was made on October 24, at the fifth South Africa-Italy Summit/Indaba 2018, where Amadeus’ Head of Industry Affairs for Southern Africa, Angelica Mkok, said the initiative, which is the result of two years of planning, was in motion, with buy-in and participation of tourism stakeholders across SA.

The NTVIS initiative is made of up of three initial projects that the industry stakeholders have identified as necessary, to enhance the visitor experience, improve effectiveness of marketing and contribute towards inclusive enterprise development in the sector:

  • Visitor Portal and App
  • Tourism Data Hub
  • SMME Booking Tool and Business App

“We are at the point of setup to start activity and start project development by the beginning of 2019,” said Mkok. “A BEE-certified company will be driving the project. The NTVIS will be providing the seed-funding to start it off; then the company will be working with service providers to enable it to put all three projects into place.” This will include setting up the technology buoying the initiative, and securing the participation of SMMEs.

The NTVIS will be accessible to international tourists who wish to explore South African destinations and their offerings – from accommodation and transport options, to events, cultural and heritage sites, and offerings by all participating tourism players in the industry. Accessible through an online portal or via a dedicated app, travellers can gather information, do comparisons, and explore destinations and their offerings – all with the assurance that participants have a guaranteed global standard of quality and service.

“The other side of the NTVIS is a targeted skills-building facility, a Travel & Tourism Industry Training Academy, which will respond to the skills-building needs that come from the NTVIS – through projects, and also from tourism businesses. It identifies where the skills gaps are, and where tourism business are having difficulty in getting recruits with skills that match the needs of a transforming market,” says Mkok.

“The skills-building programme will be run by another BEE-certified company,” she continues. “In that way, we are already engaging in and empowering local enterprise, with the vision of the participation of the industry stakeholders, so that moving forward, it is owned by the industry. So when they have a need, this is where they come to develop it. It will require sourcing from other providers in the market, creating more enterprise. And then the same businesses can then consume the developed products – be it the portal, promoting themselves on the NTVIS platform, or consuming some of the data products that come out of the data warehouse for their own business needs.”

This is why industry-wide participation is so vital, says Mkok – for support of the platforms, contribution to the data to ensure that stakeholders’ key needs are met, to sustain the platform with real-time updated information, and finally to be able to use the data on the platform to develop their businesses to cater knowledgeably for travellers’ requirements.

A more detailed breakdown of the NTVIS and TTTS projects will be published on Tourism Update