Gauteng Business News

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MOBILE: Mobile Payment Technology Key to Tourism Growth


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The World Tourism Organisation reports that tourism continues to be an important driver of socio-economic development in Africa, after growing from 26 million international tourists in 2000 to 56 million in 2014.

According to Wiza Nyondo, Head of Niches at FNB Business, “Tourism in Africa continues to prove its resilience despite numerous challenges across the continent. In South Africa, the sector faces challenges such as the lack of consistent power supply and restrained economic growth. However, a weaker Rand mitigates some of these factors as the country remains a cost-effective destination for international travellers.”

Whilst Nyondo believes that tourism in South Africa is likely to remain on a sustainable growth path, he says the local sector needs to take advantage of the ‘boom’ in mobile technologies such as Apps and new payment systems, to sustain its growth.

“Mobile technologies are already proving to be one of the differentiators for tourism industry players as they provide an opportunity to virtually showcase tourism services and interact with potential clients in real-time, regardless of the destination. More importantly, new technology enables clients to easily process payments through online or mobile platforms, making tourism services a lot more convenient,” he adds.

The significant factor for SA is that the country is ahead of many African counterparts on the rollout of new technologies and the infrastructure to support future growth. Whilst the telecoms sector has been crucial in providing the infrastructure, local banks have also been leading the evolution of banking systems on the African continent.

According to Nyondo, “A strong and highly competitive local banking sector has been great for the tourism sector. Currently, small as well as large tourism businesses are able to access a wide-range of world-class mobile payment solutions, making it much more convenient to conduct business.

Even though mobile technology is likely to remain a contributor to tourism growth, Nyondo emphasises that tourism businesses will still need to strike a balance between the virtual and actual experiences. “At the end of the day, you want your clients to come back or at least recommend your business to acquaintances. Therefore, the actual experience needs to live-up to or surpass expectations,” he concludes.
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