Friday, December 14, 2007

Tourism Officials Committed to Service Excellence

-Zelia Mullins-

Chantelle and I recently attended a two-day SA Host Customer Care Workshop held at Ko-Ka Tsara Bush Camp just north of Beaufort West. We found the workshop to be informative, well presented and most beneficial. But what exactly is SA Host and why is it applicable to Prince Albert?

SA Host is a National project aimed at improving service standards throughout South Africa and is funded by both government and the private sector. In South Africa, we are faced with many of the same problems encountered elsewhere, namely – a generally low standard of service quality, and an indifferent attitude towards visitors.

Although initiated by the tourism industry, SA Host is applicable to every organisation that has customers. Let’s face it – if you don’t have customers you are not in business, whatever that business may be. SA host aims to change the culture of all organisations so that they become customer driven. That way South Africans as well as visitors will begin to receive excellent service, and the quality of life will improve for all of us. Imagine if you were treated as an important partner in every business and government department that you dealt with – every time!

If you are not working for an organisation designated as part of the tourism industry, you may wonder what a programme involving tourism has to do with you. Most of us think of visitors as just people who come to South Africa on holiday, who invade our local attractions and are sometimes a nuisance. In fact, visitors include business people who may be looking to invest in our country. They may be from outside the country or from other communities in South Africa. They may stay for a few days, or work here for a few years. Visitors to a community impact directly on that area’s economy because they spend money there. Local visitors help to circulate money throughout the country (so don’t get irritated the next time you see those GP number plates filling up all the parking spaces in town), whilst foreign visitors bring in new money and add to the general wealth of businesses, communities and South Africa as a whole.

Every visitor takes away with them an impression of our home, our country and the community in which we live. They spread the word in their own countries about their impressions of South Africa. The people they encounter on their trip create these impressions. Long after they have forgotten about their trip over the Swartberg Pass and through Meiringspoort, visitors remember the people they met.

We want people to leave with a good impression. We want them to come back, stay longer and spend more money here – to help us create jobs and improve our economy. Each of us plays and important role and we are all personally responsible for the environment, in which we live and work.

Chantelle and I now proudly sport SA Host lapel pins which identify us as SA Hosts and as individuals who have made a commitment to provide excellent service and hospitality.

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