It is Day 1 of the Indaba Travel 2019. The atmosphere is electric as accents from across the continent and world bounce around the packed Durban ICC halls.
Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom takes the stage to reveal a much-anticipated, public-private technology initiative, called Jurni. Currently in development.
Hoping to revolutionise the South African tourism industry as we know it, Hanekom stresses the importance of ensuring this hub is used as a tool for development.
"We need to enhance the experiences of people - extending it to as many people as possible," he says.
What is it?
A centralised data hub, and a global first. Jurni is the official rebranding of the National Tourism Visitor Information System (NTVIS) initiative, which was launched by Amadeus IT in conjunction with the South African Department of Tourism and the Thebe Tourism Group at Indaba last year.
Dr Nomvuselelo Songelwa, CEO of Jurni says that this data hub will deliver unbiased, consolidated and comprehensive tourism data that will equip tourism businesses with valuable insights to inform their business strategies. At the same time, Jurni will develop a booking tool that will improve access of small and medium tourism enterprises to the global market as well as a visitor portal that will better showcase the South African tourism product.
READ: Hanekom: A third of those who visit SA for the first time at a conference, come back for a holiday
“Tourism data and information sources in South Africa do not provide intelligence at a granular level to inform South Africa’s travel and tourism sector. With the launch of Jurni, existing data sources will be consolidated, as well as digital platforms developed to harness missing data and plug data gaps identified by the tourism sector," says Songelwa.
The hub will work towards eliminating data gaps, allowing informed decisions to be made based on evidence and reliable feedback from travellers, which will serve as an enabler of the industry.
But Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom says that with this product, what they are striving for is a global first, but that it also needs to be a global best as it can help us to make informed decisions about where and how we spend our efforts.
"Because of measurable results, this will allow us to know whether we are spending our limited resources in the right places."
Why do tourists come to SA? What do they enjoy most in SA? What could be better?
These are the kinds of questions a hub like Jurni could answer for the tourism industry, as all-access will be granted for all within it. Improving our South African tourism offering, Jurni could enhance people's experiences, as marketing will know whether it's hitting the rights chords.
The hub is set to officially launch in December 2019.
Africa's Travel and Tourism Indaba is taking place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in Durban from 2 - 4 May. As Africa's leading trade show, it sees some 7 000 delegates attending from 80 different countries.
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