The SA National Department of Tourism (NDT) has noted the influence of new technologies on the tourism sector, in a lekgotla (business meeting) held at the end of November by senior management and executives of SA Tourism and the NDT.

The lekgotla is the NDT’s annual strategic planning session, which sets out the parameters for its five-year priorities, and it was noted in the meeting that a series of changes would need to be made by the tourism sector in working methods as applied to the development, production and marketing of tourism activities, as well as changes in specifically technical fields of production.

One of the ideas raised in this year’s meeting was the idea of an eMall. This platform would be a resource where government deposits information on its services for the public and corporates to access. For tourism, the NDT has indicated that various functionalities in the eMall could include, but not limited to, datasets and establishing real-time transactional capabilities for tourism stakeholders, along with the recruitment of graduate chefs, online tours of graded establishments, bursaries applications, job openings, incentives schemes application, funding/grants, events calendars, online tourism auctions (which would include offers for sponsorships rights, bidding of major events), and business match-making.

“We believe that there are untapped opportunities in creating an online portal where a variety of tourism services and goods can be pooled and then sold/offered,” says Blessing Manale, Chief Director of Communications of the NDT. “The project is led by the Department of Posts and Telecommunications, and our Department is in the initial stages of identifying Pilot ‘Stalls’.”