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Expanding South Africas tourist market share and improving the destinations global competitiveness are two key issues to be debated the inaugural South African Travel and Tourism Industry Conference (SATTIC). The conference will be hosted from 2 to 4 September at the Protea Hotel, OR Tambo in Ekurhuleni. According to a recent media release from the Office of the National Tourism Minister, the first quarter of 2012 showed exceptional growth in tourist arrivals with a 10, 5% growth in all tourist arrivals and a 17,8% growth in overseas tourist arrivals, but according to Tourism Updates on-line poll the word from the industry is that recovery is still a long way off.

Despite now being bigger than Gold Mining, travel and tourisms role in the South African economy is still under-achieving its potential, says Michael Tatalias, CEO of Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA), a participating association of SATTIC. Partly this is as a consequence of the ongoing global economic turmoil and shifts in economic power, but also partly as a consequence of a lack of understanding, awareness and alignment in the private sector, public sector and the media, he said

As an industry, we need to continually engage and collectively explore ways in which we can increase our destinations global market share and competitiveness, hence the theme Working Together, Winning Together. says CEO of TBCSA Mmatati Ramawela. It is becoming clearer that all the role players in the industry need to pull resources and efforts together and there is no better time than now.

Timed to kick off Tourism Month, the 2- day conference will provide the opportunity for all industry thought and opinion leaders, across the total value chain, to get to grips with what it will take for South Africa to become a winning Tourism Nation and command more than its fair share of the global tourism cake.

Honourable Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk will officially open the conference. His address will be followed by a high level discussion on the industrys competitiveness led by a presentation of the 2012 World Economic Forums Global Competitiveness report by Professor Geoffrey Lipman, advisor to the UNWTO and WEF and a presentation by David Scowsill, CEO and President of the World Travel and Tourism Council. The panel for this session will include speakers such as Frank Kilbourn, Board Chairman of SA Tourism, MEC Michael Mabuyakhulu of the KZN Economic Development and Tourism Department and will be ably moderated by Peter Bruce, the Editor-in-Chief at Business Day.

In the session aptly titled Is South Africa getting its fair share of tourist arrivals? the conference will delve deeper into the dynamics impacting South Africas ability to grow its market share and explore possible solutions. This session will be moderated by Wayne Duvenage, previous CEO of Avis Car Rental and current Chairman of Opposition to Urban Tolling (OUTA). Panel speakers will include Thulani Nzima, CEO of SA Tourism, Martin Wiest, CEO of Tourvest Destination Management Services and Bongani Maseko, Acting MD of Airport Company South Africa (ACSA).