TOMSA invited its members during the TOMSA feedback session in Durban on 07 May to explore creative ways to utilise the Collaborative Fund for important industry initiatives.
The TOMSA Collaborative Fund is a recent innovation of the TOMSA/TBCSA collaboration with SA Tourism. It has been agreed that the Fund will drive various industry initiatives, which may or may not directly fall under the mandate of destination marketing. The funding allocation for projects will be on the basis of joint agreements between SAT and the trade as represented by the TBCSA.
“People always ask, What’s in it for me?, when we speak about TOMSA. The Collaborative Fund will now allow them to submit projects for funding that will benefit the broader tourism industry,” says TBCSA CEO, Mmatšatši Ramawela.
The Fund was initially conceptualised in 2016 when South Africa was hit by downgrades. “The country needed quick wins and the tourism industry was called to the rescue,” says Ramawela. She adds that this year, the fund was utilised to help support SA Tourism’s
#WaterWiseTourism global PR campaign. TOMSA provided funding for this campaign to the tune of R10 million.
The importance of TOMSA is undeniable, agreed Dr Tanya Ethel Abrahamse, Chair of the SA Tourism Board and the original founder of TOMSA. “TOMSA is a very unique economic inclusion mechanism that shows that we as a tourism industry are all ‘in it together’ and that together we will go on the journey.”
Today, TOMSA is providing SA Tourism with 10% of its budget, but its importance will only grow, according to Abrahamse: “Government funds are getting more and more constrained. It is therefore important for SA Tourism to spend time and energy in bolstering its relationship with TOMSA, as TOMSA is vital for the sustainability of SA Tourism. TOMSA is a very clever South African mechanism that truly works: don’t let it die,” she urged
“I get goosebumps when I hear how the industry is contributing. It’s truly amazing,” Tony Nkadimeng, Government and Industry Relations, said. “We have to all journey with the same vision: to grow numbers and create jobs.”
According to Nkadimeng, South Africa somehow lost some momentum when it comes to growing tourism numbers after the World Cup. “We are an innovative country, so now we have to think hard and be creative to bring the momentum back,” he said, adding that we should look at attracting travellers from the Chinese markets. “We have to work together to open new markets, which will in turn bring new airlines.”
In terms of domestic travel, Nkadimeng urged the industry to make use of Sho’t left and load special deals to attract the local market.
Boitumelo Moleleki, TOMSA Member Relations Manager, explained the tourism industry often doesn’t understand how the 1% TOMSA levy that they charge to visitors is being utilised. She explained: “The aim of the tourism levy was to match government fund for SA Tourism to efficiently carry out marketing activities. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go before we are able to match the government fund, but if everyone contributed, we could get there easily.”
Currently, mainly hotels are collecting the levy, but also car rental companies, tour operators and travel agents are doing their bit. Moleleki explained that TOMSA can not only result in industry growth and job creation, but the collection of the TOMSA levies also allows industry players to have a voice in terms of the direction of SA Tourism’s marketing activities.
Moleleki explains the benefits for contibutors are great. Contributors receive 3% BEE points, discounts at local industry trade shows, quarterly updates as well as updates on TSI, a platform to engage with SA Tourism on marketing as well as discounts on tourism grading fees.
Funding through the Collaborative Fund is available for the following projects:
1. Joint Marketing Agreements (JMAs), particularly as they relate to increasing tourist arrivals through empowerment initiatives for local operators and local tourism businesses
2. Empowering bursaries and scholarships to support travel and tourism students/youths
3. Crisis management initiatives, with the current drought/water crisis PR campaign as a start
4. Support for or trade shows for TOMSA Levy Contributors including the sponsorship for emerging businesses which require funding to attend and exhibit
5. Initiatives to facilitate a welcome environment at ports of entry into South Africa, which may include information provision facilities
6. Support for Provincial/Local Tourism agencies and DMOs in the promotion of their destinations
7. Support for the business tourism industry to increase tourist arrivals into the country
8. Initiatives to support and promote domestic tourism by supporting local travel and tour operators
Attendees welcomed the possibilities to suggest worthwhile initiatives for funding. One idea that was brought forward was the possibility to attract the emerging black middle class. A suggestion that was welcomed by Ramawela as she said: “After 10 years we still somehow struggle to attract this huge group of spenders in the travel industry. There is definitely untapped potential in this space.”