SUDIPTA DEV – Mumbai
South African Tourism recently concluded its ‘Learn South Africa’ training programme for the Indian travel trade in 15 cities across the country. Apart from Mumbai and Delhi, where many training sessions were organised, the delegation went to many tier II/III markets like Kochi, Coimbatore, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, and others. “We handpicked a few suppliers who understand the Indian market to come here for a month. The training sessions give the staff of travel agencies a chance to ask questions that are more product related. We ensure that every single sector is covered,” said Hanneli Slabber, country manager, South African Tourism in India.
According to Slabber, the programme is changed as per the needs of the agents. Their feedback is an important criteria in the process of revamping the modules. In total a thousand travel agents attended the sessions across the country. “In Mumbai about a hundred people attended one of the sessions. In a city like Ahmedabad where the agencies are smaller and they cannot send two people so we kept each session for 50 people,” she added. The travel agents get a certificate for attendance.
South African Tourism recently relaunched its new online programme. “We want to make sure that they go through the learning sessions and then go online,” said Slabber. When these travel agents do the South Africa Specialist Programme, they get extra points for attending these training sessions. Slabber emphasised on the value of the SA Specialist programme. This programme is aimed to make a travel agent an authority on South Africa’s tourism attractions and sell the country better as a holiday destination. “That is the transition that we are looking at,” mentioned Slabber.