The Barsa Aviation Summit 2018 is being described as a game changer for tourism in southern Africa after two years of planning by the Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa, which was created to unite aviation, tourism and government.
Tourism Update reports the board was created to improving the collaboration between the three sectors, ensuring the various industries’ growth, creation of jobs, as well as ensuring greater contribution to the economy.
The website quotes Barsa Chairman, Carla da Silva, who said the objectives of creating the board was to “identify the gaps, encouraging the value chain of aviation to achieve the next level of growth, and work diligently to achieve it”.
She told Tourism Update: “It was evident that with all the challenges we’ve had, and with the non-alignment with all the different bodies, whether it’s aviation, whether it’s stakeholders, airports, different bodies, tourism and, of course, government, that it was important for us to collaborate to come together to highlight the importance of us working together, and what are the issues that we want to take forward.”
Three core aspects threaded through the Summit, which was themed the “blueprint for collaboration”: collaboration, communication, and measurable actualisation. The event raised the importance of collaboration within the aviation, tourism and government sectors – from a secure and dependable policy framework, to a strong and supported interconnected business and operating infrastructure – to facilitate stronger communication and solution/information-sharing structures amongst and within the three sectors. The fourth tier was measurable actionables, and an accountability grid to ensure that these vital deliverables are achieved.
Government was represented by Deputy Minister of Transport, Sindiswe Chikungu; Minister of Energy, Jeff Radebe; and newly appointed Minister of Tourism, Derek Hankom – who used the opportunity to deliver his maiden speech in his new position.
Chikungu called the Summit a “momentous occasion” and said the Department of Transport had developed a roadmap to address the shortcomings in the current economic regulatory framework for Airports Company South Africa, the SA Civil Aviation Authority and the Air Traffic and Navigation Services. “The amendments to the respective pieces of legislation are already at advanced stages of approval in the legislative process. Our team in the aviation branch and aviation entities is working with the industry on the development of relevant regulations to enhance the current amended Acts. We have also recently taken, through Nedlac, the review and rationalisation of two other pieces of legislation – the Air Licensing Act No. 115 of 1990 and the International Air Services Act No. 60 of 1993 to ensure complementarity and alignment. In the same spirit, we are wanting to ensure that the industry is better served and that the bottlenecks in the process of, for example, administering the applications for Foreign Operator Permits are eliminated and internationally benchmarked.”
Another vital project raised by Chikungu as pivotal to the growth of intra-continental alignment that will contribute massively towards tourism is the SAATM: “Less than two weeks ago, we launched one of the African Union’s flagship policies – The Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) in Addis Ababa. The SAATM gives effect to the Yamoussoukro Decision. We are delighted that so far, 23 of the 54 member states of the AU have already agreed to implement SAATM.”
The goals of the Summit were further espoused by Radebe, who said that the Summit filtered directly into the country’s National Development Plan (NDP), an entire chapter of which was dedicated to economic infrastructure that made specific mention of the importance of the transport sector as one of the critical areas to enhance the development of South Africa. He also noted the importance of tangible deliverables, and clear targets and timeframes in which to achieve them.
Government admitted to the need for a collaboration to address challenges and gaps in the existing structure that are throwing up barriers to growth; and committed to supporting the aviation and tourism industries in their efforts to close these gaps, publicly opening a dialogue where the industries can “authoritatively inform us of the challenges of the constraints experienced in the industry. Our role is to work together with you to unshackle the industry from persistent constraints that inhibit growth. We want to walk this journey hand in hand with you to ensure that you run an efficient industry.” (Radebe)
The Summit explored breaking down the barriers in the acceleration of tourism through aviation; the defining of a collaborative path to economic growth and renewal across Africa; and the role of technology in aviation as a cog in the transport and tourism value chain. Major industry leaders across the respective industries stood up in support of the blueprint initiative, including associations such as Business Unity South Africa, Iata, South African Civil Aviation Authority, Airlines Association of Southern Africa, Asata and Air Transport Action Group. Major national and international airline carriers were represented, including SAA, Lufthansa, Air Mauritius, FastJet, EgyptAir, Qantas Airways and Ethiopian Airlines. And business took a strong complementary stance with representation from Econometrix, XL Travel Group, Orenda Advisory and Strategy Group. Acsa and Lanseria International Airport completed the power-group of industry representatives, who either presented or were on panels that deliberated the ins and outs of the broad initiative.
The key areas that were identified as the focus of collaboration, communication and measurable actualisation were identified as the following:
- Collaborative and broadly consultative strategic planning
- Public and private sector alignment
- Seamless traveller experiences
- Safety and security