Representation matters

South Africa’s travel industry has made some incredible strides this past decade in response to the B-BBEE Act of 2003

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A study conducted by Grant Thornton and commissioned by the Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA) aimed to reveal the representation of black people in the South Africa tourism industry.

The overall results are quite positive with the majority of travel companies receiving excellent scores on their BEE scorecards. The South Africa tourism industry consists of around 1,780 branches or outlets, including travel agencies and independent travel consultants.

What Does Diversity in South African Tourism Look Like?

Interestingly, out of all the candidates researched for the study, more than 55% of all South Africa tourism enterprises with BEE certificates have a status of either Level 1 or 2. This impressive achievement across the board that shows dedicated commitment to transformation.,

In terms of ownership, all the travel based organisations that were looked at are around 40% black and 25% black female owned. With regards to larger enterprises, the study has shown that they’ve achieved the Tourism BEE scorecard target, set out for black women across all levels of management.

SA introduced the Tourism BEE Sector Code to address two main challenges, namely:

  1. The need to become more globally competitive
  2. The need to include black people in the tourism sector

The specific targets can be found in this guide by the Department of Tourism, essentially the Tourism BEE Sector Code aims to align itself and create a more inclusive and overall strong framework for the implementation of the BEE Amendment Acts initial vision.

This, in turn, helps achieve more total black participation – specifically in middle and senior management levels. This is because having a higher proportion of black employees means further potential for growth within the company and industry as a whole.

Further skills development for black employees is a tool that can lead to increasing the amount of higher management positions occupied by black South Africans in the travel industry. The industry is still largely white-occupied at this time. This is despite the presence of large diversity improvement throughout the entire tourism sector. This is a core driver of diversity-promoting initiatives.

What This Means for The South African Tourism Industry

The travel sector is now able to serve as a worthy case study that can help other industries follow suit when it comes to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and for industries as a whole. By making such strides in the pursuit of economic empowerment, the South Africa tourism industry has not only paved the way but shown tremendous value involved in doing so.

Other Industries Making Progress in Transforming Diversity

Alongside the Tourism Sector Code, there are quite a few other charters in key industries providing clear goals and objectives for what transformation looks like in their industry. Black management in the Information and Communication Technology sector was reported at being 27.1%, with only 11% of top management positions being held by women as reported in 2017.

Many other industries like Marketing, Advertising, and Communications as well as the Property Sector and many more have set out their industry expectations as proponents of transformation. This is in an effort to create a trickle-down effect that spreads through other related and impactful industries.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Making the efforts in your company to ensure you’re compliant with BEE and have improved your scorecard as much as possible is one of the best investments you can make in both the long and short term. By using the tourism industry, and other examples of people doing it right – we can see what an effect these initiatives can have on a business and industries as a whole.

The benefits of becoming BEE compliant can also be directly beneficial to the level of success a company is capable of. For example, having a BEE certificate allows you to perform business with government sectors and other public entities. It also allows your business to tender. Having a higher BEE level improves your chances drastically on attaining these tenders.

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