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Tourism Marketing South Africa (TOMSA), the levy collecting arm of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), has joined forces with South African Tourism on a pilot project, aimed at boosting tourist arrivals from the United Kingdom.

The project entails the appointment of an in market Sales Conversion Consultant, who will work side by side with SA Tourisms UK office to strengthen the promotion and sale of South Africa as a tourist destination. Former Marketing and Sales Director at Mantis Collection, Sheree Simpson has been appointed to fulfil this important mandate. Simpson will begin her work from 6 August 2012.

Mmatati Ramawela, CEO of the TBCSA, says the project is as a result of constructive engagement with SA Tourism on the need to narrow the gap between raising awareness about South Africa as a destination and converting potential tourists into actual tourist arrivals. She explained that TOMSA and SA Tourism both agree on the importance of looking after the country’s traditional source markets, whilst pursuing new growth opportunities in the emerging markets. The UK is South Africas biggest overseas source market.

The pilot project has two key objectives. One is to complement current marketing efforts from a brand awareness perspective. The other is to focus our attention on the tourism

distribution channel, traditional and new, to ensure that we offer attractive South African packages for the UK market, considering the ongoing economic pressures affecting global travel.

The announcement of the UK pilot project, follows the TOMSA Annual General Meeting held on 26 July, where new members of the Board were elected. They are:

1. Lance Smith, Executive Director of Sales at Avis Car Rental

2. Franco Jordaan, MD of Court Classique Hotels

3. Nic Griffin, CEO of The Thornybush Collection

4. Alistair Dooley, Divisional Director of Financials at City Lodge Hotels

5. Dale Pretorius, Marketing Manager for Value South Africa

6. Kobus Tait, CEO of Forever Resorts

7. Nils Heckscher, MD of the Winchester Mansions Hotel

8. Paddy Brearley, MD of Legacy Hotels and Resorts

9. Mavuso Msimang, TBCSA Board Chairman, and

10. Mmatati Ramawela, TBCSA CEO

This project is another way in which TOMSA is creating value in the travel and tourism industry, Ramawela said. TOMSA supporters and the broader membership of the TBCSA will see more collaboration with SA Tourism. Based on the success of this pilot project, there are plans to expand it to other key source markets for South Africa.

In his presentation of SA Tourisms five year strategic plan and 2013/14 annual performance plan during the TBCSA/TOMSA AGM, the CEO of SA Tourism Thulani Nzima thanked the TOMSA and broader industry for their continued support of SA Tourisms work. He committed to work with both TOMSA and the TBCSA to ensure that the UK pilot project succeeds.