Back The Resilience Council confirms South Africa meeting

The next regional meeting of the Resilience Council is to be hosted by the Africa Travel Association at its World Congress in South Africa in July.

The event will take place during the annual conference in Johannesburg on July 24.

It will include a series of panels that highlight the challenges faced by and opportunities posed for the travel and tourism industry regarding politics and government, security, risk management and media perspectives.

The Resilience Council was formed through a partnership between Travel Weekly UK parent Jacobs Media Group and the Pan Asian Travel Association (PATA).

ATA chief executive Naledi Khabo said: “When most people think about Africa through a western lens it’s primarily negative with a focus on crisis or war and not about it being a beautiful destination with amazing cultures and heritage. In Europe you can have a crisis in Paris but it’s not going to have the same sort of impact.

“We cannot rely on the media to correct the impression that’s given. We need to be more aggressive, more proactive in getting positive stories out, not just reacting to the narrative being put out there.

“South Africa is advanced in terms of infrastructure and having very strategic outreach programmes for marketing. They can be a model for other countries and can speak about how they have overcome their challenges.

“A lot of countries have to learn on the fly and in the midst of a crisis instead of having a resource they can go to. That’s why it’s important to have these regional meetings and centres of resilience. There is nothing else like that right now.”

ATA is looking to broaden its influence beyond Africa and the US to Europe, the Middle East and Asia with regional meetings and activities targeting travel agents and operators on areas such as digital marketing.

Khabo added: “ATA is changing focus to be more of a global organisation. We want to be truly global and this is one of the reasons we are partnering with Jacobs Media Group on the Resilience Council. We are partnering with people already in these markets doing things we should be involved with.

“As we evolve and understand better how people make their travel decisions, I think we will see a shift in culture. That’s where the opportunity lies, in those more emotional touchpoints. We have to increase the awareness to increase the appreciation.”

The Resilience Council event is sponsored by Africa Travel Association, Kenyon International, Mastercard and TripAdvisor.