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Tech offers tourism sector prospects of growth

by DION HENRICK in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN – TECHNOLOGY is hailed for offering South Africa’s hospitality industry a clear growth path as it rebounds from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, safeguarding sensitive data, keeping guests safe, preventing unauthorised visitors and mitigating against theft are some of the key security concerns facing the local hospitality sector.

A growing number of operators are using technology to improve customer service, deliver better guest experiences, and drive greater operational efficiencies to gain an advantage in a highly competitive sector.

Department of Home Affairs data showed a 152 percent increase in tourist arrivals in 2022 over the previous year.

At the same time, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) expects Africa’s travel and tourism sector to create almost 14 million new jobs over the next decade, with growth of 6,8 percent annually between 2022-2032.

To take advantage of this boom, hospitality operators are looking to tried and tested technologies like integrated communications, security and document management to cut costs, gain insights into their customers and operations, and reach new audiences, said Esti Kilian, Head of Product at managed business services provider Itec SA.

“Technology offers numerous benefits for the hospitality industry at a time when it’s looking to position itself for growth,” the official said.

“These benefits include providing better guest experiences, enhancing operational efficiencies, reducing costs and improving customer service.”

Itec SA believes using digital solutions to address the above mentioned challenges become central to delivering a quality guest experience.

Equally important as physical security is cyber security, because the hospitality sector is one of the most targeted globally when it comes to cyber attacks.

In 2021, a third of organisations operating in hospitality reported a data breach amounting to hundreds of thousands of rands of damages – both financial and to brand reputation.

Kilian noted that in the hospitality industry, technology typically does three things – increase efficiency to save time and money, generate more revenue with smart tools, data collection, and analysis as well as increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

“It’s important to stay on top of technology trends – because if you don’t, your competitors certainly are,” Kilian concluded.

– CAJ News

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