Responsible Tourism: Travel Indaba Day 2

Day 2 of the Travel Indaba was led with a business conversation about responsible tourism in South Africa. Alongside various delegates, SA Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona shared experiences about managing and running business operations successfully in the country.

Ntshona reiterated the importance of working together to uphold an excellent standard of tourism on the continent, in order to compete globally.

The Chief Marketing Officer of Wesgro, Judy Lain was involved in the recent global campaign to inform the world that Cape Town is still open for business despite the water shortages.

“We provide incentives to promote responsible tourism. Things like the responsible tourism awards are some of the measures we have to encourage more people to get on board.” She said.

Lain mentioned that the drought crisis taught people to change their relationship with water. “From our Wesgro perspective, our job is to bring tourists. We faced a lot of backlash from community about bringing tourists into their communities during a crisis.”

She added that their job was to highlights the benefits of tourism while encouraging visitors to save water like a local.

“Sharing the problem with tourists and inviting them to be a part of the solution has been an effective method. These issues affect all of us, we need to encourage people to be part of the solution.”

Lain also mentioned that millennial traveller is a responsible traveller. “They want authentic experiences and doing things as the locals do them is an experience that appeals to the consumer. If they can live like a local, they can save like a local.” She said.

The Fair Trade Tourism’s board member, Jane Edge referred to a conference they hosted that focused on the impact of waste on the environment, as a result lot of tourism stakeholders pledge to support and take measure to fight the issue.

“Responsible tourism is about mitigating the long term negative impact. With over 1.8 billion people travelling in 2018, we need to have measures in place instead of reacting when issues arise.”





The Africa Travel Indaba kicks off

The 26th Africa Travel Indaba is currently underway at Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban for the next three days. It is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar which showcases the widest variety of Southern Africa’s best tourism products and attracts international buyers and media from across the world.

The CEO of SA Tourism, Sisa Ntshona says she is looking forward to hosting and providing the necessary platforms to grow and create opportunities for Africa to shine in the travel and tourism industry.

This year, SA Tourism has partnered with the Nelson Mandela Foundation for the Nelson Mandela Centenary celebrations. The event will identify 100 experiences, attractions and destinations around South Africa that have strong historical and social ties to his life.

Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom welcomed delegates to the event. “We are about to ring the bell that signals the start of trading at Africa’s Travel Indaba, and what makes this significant is that it symbolises that our continent is open for tourism business.”

Hanekom mentioned that Africa’s share of the global tourism pie has not yet reached its potential.

“Buyers, you are ahead of the curve and I have no doubt that you will reap rich rewards from your buying decisions in the next days. And, sellers from all over the continent, we know that increased demand is the engine for growth of the tourism economy in our different countries.”

He also stated that the event is the result of collaboration between the bid parties, South African Tourism and the South African Government and the owners and operators of attraction and facilities.

“All the hard work everyone has put in behind the scenes for the past year, all the meeting and planning- it’s about to pay off.”





China the largest contributor to Thailand tourism

Thailand’s capital, Bangkok has seen the largest number of holiday bookings compared to other overseas destinations.

According to MasterCard International, Bangkok has replaced London and Paris as the most frequented tourist destination in the world for two consecutive years.

In 2016, the city welcomed about 194 million tourists from around the world. Thailand was one of the earliest countries open to Chinese tourists, and it has always been a preferred travel destination for Chinese tourists.

Pongpanu Svetarundra, Permanent Secretary of Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports, said that last year Chinese tourists brought more than 520 billion baht in revenue to Thailand, becoming the largest contributor to the country’s tourism sector in terms of the number of arrivals and the size of profit.

At the beginning of this year, the number of Chinese tourists arriving in Thailand hit 350,000 – an increase of 113.8% from the previous year, according to statistics. That figure was more than a quarter of the total outbound Chinese tourism during the same period.


How to Grow and Develop Small Manufacturing Businesses

With the onset of pioneering innovations in the manufacturing sphere, prospective business owners are often faced with a plethora of questions when contemplating how to break into this sector. To answer and address the most pressing questions and concerns regarding the development of small manufacturing units, a team of manufacturing pundits and entrepreneurs are to gather at the Small Business Indaba. This event will feature alongside the Manufacturing Indaba 2018, to be held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, Africa’s economic hub, on the 19th and 20th of June 2018.

Business expansion through capital acquisition is one of the most challenging phases of company growth. Within the manufacturing sector, this aspect is even more concerning, due to the extensive financial injections required during the initial phases of business development. Lack of information and awareness regarding financing options often hampers potential entrepreneurs from executing their plans. It is therefore imperative to explore the merits and drawbacks of all available options for acquiring capital and applying effective strategies for improving a company’s chances of receiving funding from financial institutions.

Small manufacturing units are usually backed by a competent idea for driving business growth, however, these ideas are seldom supported by a strong and well-researched business plan. Industry analysts believe that thorough business plans play a critical role in ensuring that a company becomes an ideal candidate for lending. By integrating the elements of financial projections, economic forecasts, product marketing, organisational overview, target market and expected sales revenue, a business plan depicts the entrepreneur’s confidence in the success of a venture.

With the launch of several industrial initiatives across Sub-Saharan Africa that have extended to the fields of technology, healthcare, construction and social development, amongst many others, the entrepreneurial conditions in the region are indeed promising. This provides the ideal opportunity for prospective speculators in South Africa to learn the tools required to drive a manufacturing venture towards the path of success. As the government aims to establish a positive and welcoming climate to stimulate investment in South African Small and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs), a number of funding options have become available to kick-start potential projects.

Apart from government institutions and financing bodies, private investors who are optimistic about the economic growth of the region are willing to extend their capital to South African business ventures with the potential to provide a superior return on investment. While these investors will secure a portion of the profits generated by the company as a reward for their investment, a business has a better chance of obtaining substantial funding through this option without any additional borrowing costs. As Sub-Saharan Africa propels itself towards a promising economic future, small manufacturing businesses can benefit by applying effective strategies and ideas to grow the scale of their operations.

The Small Business Indaba will serve as an excellent liaison and business networking opportunity for the small manufacturer, manufacturing stakeholders and SMME leaders and entrepreneurs to advise potential manufacturing business owners on definitive strategies to advance the development of their business.

– Issued by: Siyenza Management

Russian economy gaining momentum on rising oil prices.

The impact of higher oil prices recirculating throughout the economy is likely to further support domestic demand and thus GDP which is expected to grow by 1.7% in 2018, the European Commission stated in its recent forecast.

The commission expects the growth rate to fall to 1.6% of GDP, reflecting the long-term consequences of Western sanctions.

“Growth is expected to edge down slightly to 1.6% in the outer of the forecast horizon, reflecting subdued productivity growth and lingering effects of sanctions.” European Commission said.

Oil has significantly strengthened in the last week, with Brent benchmark rising above $70 for first time since 2014. It was trading near the $73 per barrel mark, while the US West Texas Intermediate was slipped below $68.

According to Russia Today, real wages in Russia are growing after three years of declines with indexation of public employees’ salaries.

“Uncertainties surrounding the geopolitical situation and the impact of the recent US sanctions of investors’ confidence remain the key downside risk facing the economic outlook for Russia, while higher oil prices and stronger wage growth are the major risks for growth outlook,”the European Commission said. 

The EC forecasts inflation in Russia to be 3.7% this year, and 4% in 2019, which corresponds with the target of the Central Bank.


President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Japan-Africa Public-Private Economic Forum

Africa is striving to achieve reasonable and inclusive social and economic development to fight poverty, unemployment and under-development, says President Cyril Ramaphosa,  speaking at the Japan-Africa Economic Forum in Sandton, Johannesburg.

This annual event provides opportunities for Japanese and African business leaders to highlight their work in Africa, and other opportunities to enhance business partnership.

President Ramaphosa wishes that the forum will enable new ground in further advancing the relationship between the countries in Africa and Japan.

“This forum is about cooperation and collaboration, not only different countries, but also between the public and private sectors in those countries.”

He also stated that social and economic challenges on the African continent needs the government and corporate sectors to work together to address them.

“Similarly, we will not be able to expand trade and investment relations between Japan and African countries unless our respective governments, state owned entities and other public institutions are aligned with the work of the private sector.”

Ramaphosa declares that for Africa to grow and its people to prosper, economies need to be more effectively integrated into global economy.

“They need to attract capital, technology, expertise and best practice from advanced economies and use that to take full advantage of its plentiful natural resources.” He said.

Trade ties between Africa and Asia have grown significantly in recent years. In 2007, Africa’s exports to Asia were worth around $64 billion and Japan is accounted for around $8.3.

“However, the current basket of exports is very much commodity-based, exposing African countries to price fluctuations and denying them the opportunity to extract additional value from commodities.

“African economies therefore need to diversify and shift towards greater production of intermediate and final consumer and industrial products.” Ramaphosa said.

He also said African countries need to ensure that their manufacturing capabilities feed into regional and global value chains.

“As it stands, Africa is the second fastest growing region in the world and has the largest number of developing countries.”

Ramaphosa stated that in the past decade Africa has grown at a rate of 2 to 3 % points faster than global GDP.

African countries now require some fundamental changes of approaches to job creation and skill development to a renewed focus on the continent’s economic capability.




Rural purchases to boost Indian gold demand through December

The World Gold Council (WGC) has indicated that India’s gold demand may improve through to December because of positive rainy season and government efforts to raise farmers incomes.

According to Reuters, India is the world’s second-biggest gold consumer and higher demand there could support global prices XAU= that have risen over 5% since mid-December, while a rise in imports of the metal would widen India’s trade shortfall.

Somasundaram PR, who is the managing director of WGC’s Indian operations, has said that the government’s measures to boost rural incomes by increasing the subsidized prices for food grains and the forecast for a normal monsoon rains this year will strengthen demand.

“The aggregate demand in April to December would be higher than last year’s three quarters,” he said.

India’s gold consumption this year is likely to be between 700 and 800 tonnes versus 737.5 tonnes last year, Somasundaram said. Indian demand has averaged 840 tonnes over the last 10 years.

A majority of India’s gold demand comes from rural areas where jewellery is a traditional store of wealth.

India Meteorological Department noted that the country is likely to receive average monsoon rains this year, possibly raising farm and economic growth in Asia’s third-biggest economy.



Russia plans to draw up a draft law to raise the pension age

Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev has stated that Russia will soon draw up a draft law to raise the pension age, while carefully looking for ways to avoid disrupting the existing pension system or causing social tensions.

“We are on the brink of starting to discuss this at a legislative level, it (a decision) will be taken based on different factors, it will be done carefully, and in such a way that will not unbalance the pension system or, on the other hand, create negative feelings among people.” Medvedev said.

Former finance minister Alexei Kudrin – now an unofficial adviser to President Vladimir Putin -said that Russia is currently faces a big increase in the number of pensioners in coming years which will coincide with a shrinking workforce.

According to Reuters, any increase in the pension age would allow the government to cut contributions from the state budget, which could help fund pre-election promises of higher social and infrastructure spending by Putin, who starts a new term in office on 7 May.

Russia would see the pension age increased every year by one year until it reaches 65 years for both men and women. While there would increase the retirement age for women by six months every year until it reaches 63 years, and by four months each year for men until it reaches 65 years.

Source: Reuters


Indian youth learn Chinese to access job opportunities

A number of Indian young people have chosen to learn Chinese/ Mandarin to gain access to greater job opportunities in Chinese-funded enterprises, as more and more Chinese enterprises flock to India to conduct business.

Student Heena Nakhwa feels that learning to speak Chinese was the turning point of her life.

In 2015, she successfully got a government scholarship to learn Chinese, which landed her a job in  the sales team of Air China BOM.

“Now I have become financially stable, more responsible. I have learnt a foreign language (Chinese) and have also encouraged my friends to learn. I won people’s respect and it makes my parents proud.”

Nakhwa says she experienced the new trend of “Chinese fever” in India at the Indo Sino Bridge in the University of Mumbai, where there are events that showcase Indians and Chinese singing, dancing, reading poetry and other art performances.

Professor Dibo Jie, or BR Deepak, from the Center of Chinese and Southeast Asian Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, says that learning to speak Chinese in India has become a common practice.

“Chinese is one of the working languages of the United Nations, and is the most used language in the world, with the continued expansion of Chinese economic and political influence, prompting countries to learn Chinese, India is no exception,” he said.

He believes that the current “Chinese fever” is the significant growth in trade between China and India, and it has brought several jobs. To add, the the development of tourism between the two countries has also stimulated the development of Chinese learning in India.

According to official figures from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, China’s trade with India reached a record high of 84.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, up 20.3% from the previous year. China remains India’s largest trading partner.

Chinese companies have invested more than 8 billion dollars in real investment, and Indian companies have increased their investment in China by an average of 18.5% over the past three years.


Exciting prospects for trade relationship between SA and India

Expert, diplomats and speakers from India and South Africa came together in Johannesburg for the India-South Africa Business Summit 2018, where they discussed ways to expand trade relationships between the two countries.

India’s Commerce and Industry Minister, Suresh Prabhu believes that great potential exists between the two regions.

A meeting was held in New Delhi just a month earlier, to explore trade possibilities.

Says Prabhu: “We realised that some of these countries have so much capability which we were not aware of, so we can actually use that and bring it into India as well.”

“We are preparing for each and every country what it is that we can do together. We don’t want to offer one single solution to all the countries, but something befitting each of the countries in the southern African region.”

Prabhu added that India’s commitment to trade relations with Africa is “very strong” and efforts are on to find out how the credit extended for project financing in some of these countries can be further improved.

South African Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies detailed that South Africa has a strategic relationship with India.

“Our bilateral trade is growing and has increased from R68 million in 2012 to R107 million in 2018. Investment has also grown seeing 130 Indian firms investing in South Africa and 29 South African FDIs in India for R10 billion.”