South Africa’s travel and tourism landscape looked very different prior to the establishment of the TBCSA. With the existence of only a few industry sector associations, namely ASATA (Association of Southern African Travel Agents), FEDHASA (Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa), SATSA (Southern African Tourism Services Association), SAVRALA (Southern African Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association, and SAACI (Southern African Association for the Conference Industry), there was no cohesive industry voice to tackle key macro-economic issues that impacted on tourism. A co-ordinated structure was required in which industry could better interact amongst themselves, businesses, and more importantly government as well as key policy makers.

It was with this rationale that the Tourism Business Council of South Africa was set up in 1995. The organisation’s primary aim was to provide a single point of interface for government to engage with the travel and tourism private sector. The organisation’s mandate from the very beginning was to represent the ‘voice’ of the industry and its core functions included lobbying and guiding government in regards to policy making on behalf and for the benefit of its members.

Other core functions identified in the organisation’s foundation years included:

  • Bring the ‘fractured’ private sector together under the TBCSA umbrella to mutually deal with macro-economic issues impacting on travel and tourism
  • Find cohesion with government on what the ‘tourism puzzle pieces’ entail and realise its economic potential for South Africa
  • Initiate public/private partnerships (PPP)

In 1999 the TBCSA expanded its mandate to include destination marketing and underwent a comprehensive review of the marketing structures for destination South Africa. It was through this review that TOMSA – Tourism Marketing South Africa – was born. TOMSA was established with the premise that if the travel and tourism private sector can also contribute to the official (public sector) promotion of South Africa, it can significantly add to more domestic and international tourist arrivals to the country. The TBCSA would be used as the administrative and promotional vehicle for TOMSA.

In 2006, 10 years after the TBCSA’s establishment, the organisation moved into a new era where different needs and approaches were implemented by the TBCSA Board to keep on par with the rapidly growing global trends and advances in technology. The Board identified the following 10 macro priorities for the TBCSA (in no order of importance):

  1. Airlift and Air Access
  2. Land and Infrastructure Development
  3. Safety and Security
  4. Skills Development
  5. Transformation and Empowerment
  6. Service Excellence
  7. Knowledge Management and Market Intelligence
  8. Responsible Tourism
  9. Investment Promotion
  10. Destination Marketing


  • Collaboration with the National Department of Tourism to develop the Tourism BEE, then a first of its kind in the country
  • Successful lobbying for the establishment of a dedicated National Tourism Department (NDT)
  • Collaboration with industry stakeholders to develop the National Service Excellence Strategy, which formed the basis of the Tourism Service Excellence Initiative
  • Collaboration with the National Department of Tourism (NDT) to develop the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS)
  • Strengthening industry relations with organisations such as the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA), the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). In February 2015, we hosted a member engagement session at the University of Johannesburg’s School of Tourism & Hospitality (STH) which included the Minister of Tourism Mr. Derek Hanekom, the WTTC President and CEO Mr. David Scowsill, as well as the Secretary-General of the UNWTO Dr. Taleb Rifai.
  • To date TOMSA has contributed over R 115 000 000 to South African Tourism (SAT) for the active marketing, both locally and internationally, of Destination South Africa.