The Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa) will merge with the South African Youth Travel Confederation (SAYTC) in January next year.
The decision was made following a SAYTC AGM in Cederberg recently, where members voted overwhelmingly to join Satsa. This would, in effect, create Satsa’s first Youth Chapter, opening up new markets for the organisation and expanding Satsa’s footprint into a more diverse tourism product.
Satsa CEO, David Frost, said: “We are incredibly excited with this merger, which not only increases Satsa’s footprint into key youth sectors, but also into the millennial and youth markets. These are some of the ‘coolest’ people we’ve met, and we look forward to working with them to grow tourism in these future-generational markets.”
Frost continued that the merger would bring Satsa’s membership to over 1 000, adding gravitas to, and more responsibility for, Satsa. The organisation represents a broad footprint of the inbound tourism sector, including tour operators, car-rental companies, hotels, guesthouses, tourism activities and destination marketing organisations – and the addition of SAYTC members would incorporate an even more diverse tourism product.
From SAYTC’s perspective, Satsa’s lobbying efforts, membership benefits and market initiatives would benefit the youth arm of the newly formed co-operation. “We have always thought that to move the association forward, we need to be part of a larger tourism voice – one where we can keep our identity, which has over 25 years of brand value,” said Gavin Eyre, Chairman of SAYTC. “We welcome the merger with Satsa, while retaining our unique identity as its youth chapter. Joining forces with Satsa was the logical way forward as we seek to expand our influence in the tourism sector and work jointly to boost inbound tourism to South Africa.”
Eyre continued that SAYTC has always been very pro-active in bringing youth into the tourism industry, and “we have no plans to stop this now. Lots of our members have very good mentorship programs running, and this is where we would like to continue to expand across all four sectors”.
Frost concluded: “The footprint of SAYTC into backpacking, tours and transport, education, volunteering, and tourism services, will add greatly to Satsa’s reach into these markets, growing the organisation’s voice in these pivotal markets to tourism.”