By Friday Nwosu
South African Tourism (SAT), has announced that it closing its Italy office effective May 31st, 2016.
SAT said a South Europe hub has been established to service the France and Italy markets, with the office based in Paris. “We therefore no longer have an office in Italy, closed effective 31 May 2016.”
According to the board, it is continuously exploring better operating models to reduce overheads and improve its marketing efficiencies, as well as return on investment in markets, adding that it has thus continued to reprioritise its market portfolio as well as its marketing operations through the hub model.
Ms Sthembiso Dlamini, Acting CEO for SA Tourism said the hub strategy is part of the strategic intent to maximise the marketing spend in the markets South African Tourism operates in.
She stated that Italy is South Africa’s fifth biggest source market in Europe, and remains an extremely important market, affirming that the model will allow “us to be more efficient in supporting the trade selling our beautiful country without the cost of a physical office.”
She said an Italian based representative will be appointed to ensure that the trade work continues in that market, adding that other support functions will include the PR agency that will continue with the important media work in this crucial market.
“As we implement our strategy for the Italian market, we are thankful to the entire South African tourism Italy team for their continued commitment. A big thank you goes out to the Italy Country Manager, Lance Littlefield, who has given 12 years of service to growing the country’s tourism industry in various international markets. It is with great sadness that we are bidding him farewell, as he has made the decision to leave the organisation following the closure,” commented Ms Sthembiso Dlamini, Acting CEO for SA Tourism.
“When I joined South African Tourism, what started out as a “3-year sabbatical,” turned into a 12 year love affair with our amazing country, as part of a team working tirelessly every day to unlock the benefits of the tourism economy for all South Africans. Working for SA Tourism was not a job; It was the most fantastic form of national services that there is, and I am humbled to have been part of the team. Thank you to my colleagues and the many supportive friends in the industry, locally and abroad, who have contributed to so many achievements over the years.
“South African Tourism recalls with pride the magnificent work that has come out of this office. Through the team’s hard work, the office’s biggest contribution to the market over the years has been to work with the media and the trade in aligning them to what South Africa, as a tourist destination, has to offer. This has contributed to the introduction, awareness, and love the Italians have for our destination.”