The 12th TOMSA Annual General Meeting got underway on Thursday, 26 July 2012, at the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton.
Outgoing Board Chairman, Nils Heckscher, gave feedback on the performance of TOMSA in the past financial year. He noted that although trading conditions remained tough, it was encouraging to see that TOMSA still managed to increase its collector base. He attributed this to the improved administration of the project and the ongoing goodwill from the industry. The Chairman added that it was important to constantly re-evaluate TOMSA’s value proposition and to ensure that alliances with key partners continue to be strengthened.
Report by TBCSA CEO
The CEO of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), Mmatšatši Ramawela, provided a brief presentation about the administration of TOMSA in the previous financial year. She also highlighted some of the challenges to date and future plans for TOMSA.
Key highlights from the CEO’s presentation were the inclusion of Travel and Tourism in Government’s New Growth Path Plan and also the launch of the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) She also highlighted that in the year under review, TOMSA continued to strengthen relationships with both the National Department of Tourism and South African Tourism. SA Tourism and TOMSA continue to have bi-lateral meetings on a quarterly basis.
While 2011 was one of the most difficult years for many in the industry TOMSA collections remained steady. This was mainly attributed to improved administrative procedures and efforts. Total collections for 2011 amounted to R96 183 million excl VAT vs. R 97 829 million in 2010. Total collections paid to SA Tourism by end of 2011 amounted to R91 618 816 million.
Challenges affecting TOMSA
The challenges affecting TOMSA were discussed ; The most pertinent of these being collector resignations due to dissatisfaction with SA Tourism’s marketing activities.
Secondly, there is still a significant number of tourism products that are eligible for levy collection and are possibly collecting the levy but not paying the funds over to TOMSA. In some cases Local Tourism Associations have introduced their own version of the tourism levy collecting levy, adding pressure to TOMSA. It is important to be mindful of the fact that with no support for TOMSA, we will be inviting calls for the levy to be mandatory, which could mean less funds being ploughed back into the industry.
Lastly,Misguided perceptions around TOMSA remain a major concern.
TOMSA Takes Action
TOMSA management has instituted a number of initiatives to address some of the challenges mentioned above:
Firstly, we are engaging Local Tourism Associations to determine how we can establish mutually beneficial partnerships. We believe that LTAs have an important role to play in ensuring that all tourism operators in the respective regions, big and small, support TOMSA instead of establishing their own as some are already doing.
Secondly, through, TOMSA and the TBCSA have joined forces with SA Tourism to launch 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 Tourism’s UK office to strengthen the promotion and sale of South Africa as a tourist destination.
Lastly, TOMSA will also endeavour to urge greater awareness and support for its efforts through a targeted awareness campaign and will continue to meet with SA Tourism on a quarterly basis to address the challenges and concern facing the industry and our levy collectors.
TOMSA Board Elections
Being an election year, directors to the TOMSA Baord were elected as follows:
In accordance with the TBCSA Constitution, the Board is elected for a two year period and that both the Chairman and Deputy Chairman will be elected at its next seating later in October.
The meeting concluded with the Board Chairman thanking all the members for their attendance and input during the meeting.