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Opportunity Issue 100

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Opportunity magazine is a niche business-to-business publication that explores various investment opportunities within Southern Africa’s economic sectors and looks to provide its readers with first-hand knowledge about South African business. Opportunity also looks to present South African business to international markets that may have interests in investing in South Africa. The publication is endorsed by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI).

TOURISM KwaZulu-Natal

TOURISM KwaZulu-Natal welcomes resumption of SAA and Qatar flights A statement issued by the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government in January 2022 described the flights as a sign of economic recovery. Credit: Qatar Airways The Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala, says the tourism sector will benefit significantly from the recent return to Durban’s King Shaka International Airport of both SAA and Qatar Airways and help lift KwaZulu-Natal’s economic recovery. This follows SAA’s announcement that its first scheduled flight will take off from OR Tambo International to King Shaka International in March 2022. This will be the first time in almost two years since the airline exited the route. SAA said it will fly the route seven days per week at least three times a day on a return service between the two cities. SAA’s return to King Shaka Airport follows close on the heels of the resumption by Qatar Airways of flights out of Durban. Qatar, the Gulf airline headquartered in Doha, resumed flying from KwaZulu- Natal on 14 January with an initial frequency of four flights a week. “The resumption of SAA and Qatar Airways flights between Durban and Johannesburg, Durban and Doha respectively will benefit the tourism sector which remains one of the greatest creators of employment in the economy of KwaZulu-Natal. “Through our Economic Recovery, Reconstruction and Transformation Plan we have stated our commitment to increasing trade, tourism and beneficial collaboration with the rest of the world. Efficient and regular aviation services are necessary if we are to increase visits to our province, to grow tourism numbers and to create jobs up and down the value chain,” said Premier Zikalala. “We wish to welcome the return of Qatar Airways to Durban following its withdrawal ahead of the festive season over Covid-19 related health and safety concerns. Direct links to mid-hemisphere hubs such as Doha in the Gulf region bring the world closer by providing easy access to the global capitals of the world. The uptick in tourism numbers which is directly related to aviation links can only mean that KwaZulu-Natal is truly on the rise, and that better things will come in 2022,” added Premier Zikalala. MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Ravi Pillay says air transport is key to advancing economic growth of KwaZulu-Natal. “We welcome the reintroduction of SAA flights between Durban and Johannesburg. This is crucial in growing our economy and domestic capacity on the essential Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal route. This announcement comes straight after positive tourism numbers during the festive season which were anchored on the high occupancy rate of around 80% during the Christmas week,” said Pillay. Pillay added that the provincial government had worked hard to address the negative impact on the KwaZulu-Natal economy caused by disruption in connectivity resulting from the grounding of many airlines including SAA. “This is a fresh start, and a timely boost to our economic recovery efforts. It strengthens our argument that the Durban route is a significant cog in the revival of the aviation industry in South Africa,” said Pillay. Pillay also noted that Qatar Airways provides KwaZulu-Natal with connectivity to over 150 markets around the world. “With our vaccination programme well underway, the reintroduction of Qatar Airways allows us to revive our connectivity to strategic global markets, while rebuilding our relationships with both business and leisure travellers as well as service the demands of our airfreight market directly from Durban," concluded Pillay. 54 |

Millat Investments is upbeat about the South African tourism sector Hamza Farooqui, CEO of Millat Investments, outlines the strategy behind the company that has opened three hotels in as many years. Biography A tourism trailblazer, Hamza Farooqui, has put his years of experience in the hospitality and tourism sector to good use with this industry in South Africa benefiting from his wily yet focused entrepreneurial approach. Not letting the Covid-19 pandemic scupper any of his plans, Farooqui, the CEO of global venture capital and investment firm, Millat Investments, has been the driving force behind the opening of three Hyatt-branded properties in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Farooqui, eats, sleeps and drinks tourism and hospitality and is focussed on creating opportunities in the sector and ensuring economic growth for all involved. What is the Millat Investments model? The model is to make investments in sectors which we understand, in sectors where we believe there are significant arbitrage values. We are historic investors in tourism and hospitality. I personally built my first hotel when I was 27 years old which was historically Hilton and now the Hyatt. We have grown that portfolio judiciously. A lot of that growth has come during the time of Covid and we are very excited about the opportunity the sector presents. South Africa continues to be an untapped market. There has been no real innovation over the last 10 or 15 years. The only time you really saw new hotels was during the 2010 World Cup so there is a time to reinvigorate and rebuild and Millat is hoping to be at the forefront of that and, with our strategy, to build our assets. Describe your relationship with Hyatt Hotels. Our relationship with Hyatt is one of owner/operator. They operate our assets on our behalf under a management contract. We don’t operate under the typical guise of management contracts, we are fairly active and hands-on. We have a great working relationship with the Hyatt teams within their various geographies and we are very grateful for their support and trust. location in Cape Town. Hyatt House Sandton and Rosebank are Africa’s first extended-stay products yet they cater to a growing corporate and a leisure market. They are internationally branded with many amenities and they are a compelling offering to the market segment. Why is tourism a good sector to stimulate jobs and growth? Tourism is a very underappreciated and misunderstood sector. It is a sector which can create other sectors and create jobs. When you open and build a hotel there is the construction element, there is the procurement element of furniture, there is laundry and cleaning. It is a sector that encompasses so many other touchpoints and factors. And then there are the international tourists, who are a key driver of foreign exchange income. South Africa with all its natural beauty has a huge opportunity to continue doing that and more. We believe that South Africa has a significant opportunity and can continue driving and building on that. How important is airlift to tourism? South Africa needs to consider an open-skies policy; we need to invite carriers and make access easy. We need to make our airports friendly, make our ports of arrival accessible and we need to open the ecosystem of South Africa. Border security is very important, so we need to do so responsibly but we do need to welcome the people who want to be here who are the right kinds of people, not just internationally but also from within the continent. What are steps that the sector could take to improve tourism? Understanding the importance of the sector, getting policy right, getting product right and putting it in the right places. There is no better time than this to rebuild the sector and to recreate the opportunity and that is what we are doing at Millat. What can government do to support and grow the sector? Today there are still challenges for entrepreneurs to enter the sector. For black entrepreneurs it is even more difficult. Government needs to place a significant amount of resourcing and understanding and that needs to stretch to financiers and the availability of resources and capital. Government needs to take the sector seriously and more needs to be done to build a collaborative and a collective ecosystem from which the country and its people can ultimately benefit. With investments in three hotels in three years, it suggests you are upbeat about tourism. We believe that these hotels are uniquely positioned and branded. Regency is an established full-service property brand in a great

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