SA Tourism appoints Debbie Damant as Country Manager, Southern Africa

SOUTH AFRICAN TOURISM is pleased to announce the appointment of Debbie Damant to the position of Country Manager, Southern Africa.

Chief Marketing Officer, Roshene Singh, said South African Tourism was delighted to welcome Debbie on board this week as operational and strategic head of one of the most important regional marketing portfolios for the destination.

“The domestic and SADC markets are extremely important and valuable markets for us,” said Singh. “South African and SADC tourists contribute billions each year to the national economy and account for the vast majority of tourists in South Africa at any one time.

“Last year alone, domestic tourism was 76 percent of South Africa’s total tourism volume and contributed R20.3 billion to the national economy. And it’s a market that yet holds significant potential for further growth.

“These are huge, diverse and complex markets that demand a clear strategic approach; creativity and innovation. They are also markets that we are determined to protect, grow and maximise.”

Debbie joins South African Tourism six months into the new domestic marketing campaign, “Vaya Mzansi: It’s Here” and days after the launch in Johannesburg of Tourism Month 2012, whose clear objective it is to grow the number of South Africans who go on holiday in their own country.

“Debbie brings immense enthusiasm, passion and skill to the task. She has a track record in destination marketing that brims with a variety of experience that she now brings to the task of positioning South Africa as a major leisure destination here at home and in our neighbouring countries,” Singh said.

Debbie’s responsibilities include assisting the organisation to achieve the domestic tourism development targets set out in the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) that was launched by the Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, in March 2011. The NTSS aims to increase the number of domestic trips from 30.9 million in 2009 to 54 million by 2020.

She comes to South African Tourism from Cape Town Routes Unlimited, where she was Senior Manager of Leisure Marketing, a post she held for six years. Whilst there, she focussed on the Domestic, Regional and Middle East markets, and on attracting holidaymakers to the Western Cape. The task involved exploiting the niche attractions of the province, (such as wine tourism, birding and golf tourism) and working closely with product and trade to ensure symbiotic and effective delivery of the marketing strategy for Cape Town and the Western Cape. Her relationships and partnerships with the trade, the media and the airlines are amongst the most significant strengths she brings to her new position. Provinces are critical partners to South African Tourism and Debbie’s position is instrumental in ensuring that the organisation works closely with them to further grow and promote domestic tourism.

Debbie has previously worked at Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (as leisure tourism brand manager and also as marketing services coordinator of customer relations); the V&A Waterfront (as promotions manager); and ATL Travel (as trade marketing manager).

“We sometimes forget that it actually all starts right here in Mzansi! I am truly honored and excited to join the South African Tourism family and to begin this epic journey of living the brand and promoting our beautiful country to our fellow South Africans and to our neighbours in Southern Africa, said Debbie.”

Debbie has a National Diploma in Public Management (from Technikon SA); a certificate in Travel and Tourism (from ML Sultan College); and a certificate in leadership development (from Organisational Interface Management). She managed host city media for Cape Town during the 2010 FIFATM World Cup; has won a Pendoring radio award for Cape Town’s 2008 domestic marketing campaign, Another Reason to Visit; is a member of the Tourism Growth Committee chaired by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism; and is a member of the tourism advisory committee at Natal Technikon.

Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You're also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]tourismedition.com

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