Radisson Hotel exec positive about SA, Africa potential

The Radisson Red in Cape Town.
The Radisson Red in Cape Town.

The South African hospitality and tourism industry is still very important for the country's economy and now that the visa process has been improved, it is helping international arrivals, Radisson Hotel Group's head of Middle East & Africa, Tim Cordon tells Fin24.

The number of visitors from Asia, for instance, has increased, not only to South Africa, but globally.

"People from Asia are starting to travel more frequently. The local hospitality industry should tailor operations to make them feel welcome," said Cordon.

Another trend he has observed is an increase in travellers combining business and leisure travel to South Africa, by adding on a weekend or staying on a few extra days.

As for Cape Town's water challenge, he praised the City and residents for their efforts to have drastically saved water consumption. In his view, it ended up not negatively impacting tourism arrivals in the long-term.

At the same time, it remains a challenge for hotels to ensure sustainable sources of water.

Asked about the impact safety and security concerns have for international travellers, he said the issue has become a concern for destinations all over the world.

"We focus on training and educating our staff about safety and security. That is the best solution for a hospitality company."

Africa has been a real success story for Radisson Hotels, with SA leading the way.

"We have expanded dramatically over the past few years and our portfolio is strong. We will open 3rd hotel in Nairobi this year and our first one in Algiers and one in Casablanca, also this year," says Cordon.

"We put some significant investment in Africa in general. We see Africa as one of the future scale areas for our global organisation. Africa is a diverse and rich continent and popular among travellers. There is still plenty of opportunity to develop and market the continent."

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