Tourism businesses should be focusing on technology, upskilling employees, marketing strategies and pushing sales as they strive to recover from COVID, according to industry experts.
In a webinar hosted by World Travel Market recently, panellists discussed the steps small-, medium- and micro-sized enterprises (SMEs) need to take to fully recover from the impact of COVID.
Moderator of the webinar and founder of tourism SME network, SEEZA, Septi Bukula, told panellists that he had recently read a report from McKinsey and Company detailing how South African SMEs could survive and thrive post-COVID-19.
“It identifies four main areas where SMEs can take action to mitigate the effects of COVID-19,” said Septi. “The first area is that of leveraging technology to reach new customers or to provide a distinctive value proposition that gives businesses a competitive edge. The second one is developing clear market access strategies. The third and fourth are driving efficiency as well as sales and developing team skills and empowering leadership.”
Ceo of SA Tourism, Sisa Ntshona, noted that although these focus areas were directed at SMEs, the same principles applied to an organisation like SA Tourism.
“In terms of leveraging technology; our business model as a destination management agency is changing fundamentally and we are going digital, because we want direct access and interaction with the consumer,” said Sisa.
He added that SA Tourism was refining a clear market access strategy by analysing South Africa’s source markets as to how those countries were handling the virus, and where potential travellers may come from once the country is ready to welcome international visitors again.
Ceo of Pacific Tours and President of the Tour Operators Union of Ghana, Kwesi Eyison, agreed saying that, much as in South Africa, the tourism sector in Ghana was using the opportunity presented by COVID to upskill employees and sharpen recovery strategies.
“There are short-term strategies that we have implemented, but as private sector entrepreneurs we have been looking at innovations and adaptability. We have looked at changes in our business model and transforming our business operations,” said Kwesi.