Brazil’s biggest Airlines in support for US-Brazil open Skies Agreement

Brazil’s biggest airlines Gol, Azuk and Latan are currently racing to prepare for the much-anticipated ratification of the U.S.-Brazil Open Skies agreement.

In March, Brazil’s federal government approved the agreement, which was made in 2010. The agreement is expected to pave ways for more flights between the two countries and greater competition among airlines.

Sergio Kakinoff, CEO of Gol, said “Within two years of Open Skies, the airlines in Brazil will have joint ventures with U.S. airlines.”

Kakinoff, who works for the country’s most popular domestic airline added that with the U.S.-Brazil Open Skies agreement on the horizon the company would soon be adding flights from Fortaleza and Brasilia to Orlando and Miami.

According the Brazilian airline association, Abear, among Brazilian airlines, Gol tops the domestic market with 34% market share, with Latam a close second at 33%.

United Airlines Vice President, Andrew Levy, said that: “Following our initial investment [in Azul] in 2015, connecting traffic between our airlines is at an all-time high, significantly benefiting our customers traveling between the US and Brazil,”

He added that Azul’s strong network in Brazil has a unique business model and exceptional customer service make this transaction a good long-term investment.



Chinese tourists have shown an increased interest for the Russia World Cup

Major Chinese online travel agencies have confirmed that Chinese tourists are showing more and more interest in Russia, the host country for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

According to the agencies, the number of airline tickets reserved for major venues such as Moscow and St. Petersburg are up by 50% year-on-year for the period of 14 June – 15 July 2018.

Travel packages have increased, which means hotels around the 12 major arenas are being booked out, with less than a month to go before the world’s biggest soccer tournament kicks off.

According to the Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation, at least 1.5 million overseas visitors are expected in Russia during the tournament, with expenses amounting to over 140 million euros (USD 165 million).

The agencies also noted that Shanghai fans have placed the most orders for World Cup-related travel, followed by Beijing and Chengdu. About six of the top 10 cities with the largest number of World Cup game attendees are from second-tier cities.



Travel Indaba comes to a close

The Africa Travel Indaba wraps up in Durban today. This year’s event welcomed over 7 000 delegates from 80 countries, 23 of which are African countries. The annual Indaba plays an integral role in shaping Africa’s stories along with the success of the continent in the future.

Scott Larney from Durban ICC shared his appreciation of the city playing host to the Indaba for the next 4 years.

“We hope our attendees have formed some meaningful relationships from being here and have seen the value of the show.” Larney said.

According to the Travel Indaba organisers, the highlight of this year’s event was partnering with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s centenary.  An application called Madiba Journey was designed to experience the 100 locations around the country that defined Madiba’s life and legacy.

SA Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona said that the Travel Indaba is a marketing platform that enables Africans to showcase their talents to the world.

“We’ve come to the end of this show. It was an environment full of energy and we’re very proud of the show we’ve put out.”

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

Why the Brazilian interest rate was cut to a record low

The board of directors of the Central Bank recently decided to cut the basic interest rate for the Brazilian economy, known as Selic (The Sistema Especial de Liquidação e Custodia (SELIC). The rate was reduced from 7% to 6.50% per year, reaching the lowest recorded rate since it was first set in 1986.

According to Reuters, the Central Bank has indicated that it will continue cutting interest rates at its May meeting.
“Unless the Brazilian real comes under pressure for domestic or external reasons, the Central Bank will be in no hurry to begin the tightening cycle,” economists at Societe Generale wrote in a report.

The Brazilian government has attributed this calculated condition to numerous factors, including fiscal adjustments, public spending ceiling and a general more positive economic stance.

A lower interest rate is good news for the consumer because it means better access to jobs, stronger economic growth and greater access to credit.

Source : Reuters,

SA to welcome more international tourists

South Africa plans to increase its international tourists by five million in the next five years for the sector to contribute significantly to the country’s GDP.

The country recorded a record-breaking 10 million international tourists in 2016 but its contribution to the economy stands at about 3% and Tourism SA CEO Sisa Ntshona said this needs to change.

“The continent as a whole reported an 8% surge in international arrivals in 2016, with Sub-Saharan Africa increasing by 11% and South Africa by a massive 13%. These figures far exceed the global increase in international arrivals of 3.9% overall. So Africa is definitely the happening place to be, with vast untapped tourism potential that could buoy the greater African economy and contribute to its prosperity,” he said this at the launch of Tourism Indaba 2017 to be hosted in Durban in May.

Ntshona said their role is to get the message to the world that Africa’s tourism industry is open for business and ripe with possibility.

“Our continent is a value-for-money destination offering multiple incredible experiences that will take your breath away, from high-end luxury to bush-whacking fun,” Ntshona said.

On Tourism Indaba 2017, Ntshona said they expect 7 000 delegates from around the world to meet in Durban to grow the African tourism economy through constructive conversations and dynamic partnerships.

About 90 small tourism businesses would be hosted at the show to “be given valuable exposure as well as an exposure to pitch their offerings.”– emerging and existing enterprises that are at least 50% black-owned,” Ntshona said.

“They are drawn from each of South Africa’s nine provinces and we call them our Hidden Gems, because they are tucked-away treasures that only a select few know about.”

Thanks to a partnership between South African Tourism, the National Department of Tourism and the Southern African Tourism Services Association, these entrepreneurs will be given valuable exposure at INDABA as well as the opportunity to “pitch” their offerings to travel buyers during speed marketing sessions.

The Indaba, dubbed “Africa’s Top Travel” show is expected to attract exhibitors from about 15 African countries.

Head of Durban Tourism and Acting Deputy City Manager of eThekwini Philip Sithole  said despite the highly competitive tourism environment, Indaba has been able to maintain its position as the premier travel show on the African continent.

BRICS Journal TV: In Conversation With Judi Nwokedi

BRICS Journal Executive Editor, Vuyo Dlamini caught up with Tourvest (Africa’s largest Integrated Tourism company) COO, Judi Nwokedi at the BRICS Trade Fair to talk about Medical Tourism and how technology will advance the health sector.