Kusa Cast


A Conversation with Adele Mackenzie

Season 1, Ep. 12


Recorded earlier today, Adele Mackenzie of Tourism Update discussed many of the current stories in the tourism industry. We chose to release this podcast early as we discuss the latest stories and trends in the industry.

To subscribe to Tourism Update, log onto www.tourismupdate.co.za.

More Episodes

Sunday, June 4, 2023

A Conversation with Melissa Foley

Season 1, Ep. 29
In the latest episode of Kusa Cast, Graeme Watson sits down with Melissa Foley, the passionate founder of All About Africa Consulting. Melissa's mission is to promote social and environmental sustainability in the tourism industry throughout Africa, with a particular focus on ethical climbing on Kilimanjaro. As a board member of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP), based in Moshi and Arusha, she works tirelessly to raise public awareness about the challenges faced by mountain crew members.KPAP, an organization with a 20-year history, has created a monitoring program to ensure that local climbing companies in Tanzania adhere to best practices and provide fair wages, adequate meals, and suitable living conditions for their crew members. Out of approximately 160 properly licensed climbing companies in Tanzania, about 50 have chosen to participate in the KPAP program. This initiative has proven highly beneficial for these local companies, giving them a competitive edge in a saturated market.What's remarkable about KPAP is that it's completely free to join, offering advantages to operations in terms of best practices and marketing. Despite its limited resources, KPAP provides educational classes and raises awareness about ethical climbing practices. In fact, due to increasing encouragement from consumers and agents, there has been a significant 30% rise in new local companies joining the program. The organisation relies on donations to sustain its operations and continue its crucial work.One of the key objectives of Kiliporters.org is to prevent exploitation of porters and eliminate the practice of bribes being paid to guides for selection on climbs. Additionally, the organization ensures that porters receive proper tips from clients at the end of the climb, further promoting fair treatment within the industry.If you're passionate about promoting social and environmental sustainability within Africa's tourism industry and want to learn more about ethical climbing on Kilimanjaro, this is an episode of Kusa Cast you don't want to miss! Tune in to the podcast now to listen to Graeme Watson's engaging interview with Melissa Foley, and discover the inspiring work of KPAP and log onto www.kiliporters.org. Join the conversation and be part of the movement for positive change!
Friday, May 19, 2023

A Conversation with Robyn Whaley

Season 1, Ep. 28
In this episode of Kusa Cast, Graeme Watson interviews Robyn Whaley, the director of Off The Track Expeditions, a Zimbabwe-based tour operator specialising in tailor made and adventure travel to Zimbabwe. Robyn shares her experience and insights on how her business started and how it has grown over the years.Robyn begins by discussing her journey in the tourism industry, highlighting her previous roles at Wilderness Safaris. She emphasises the importance of her personal experiences in visiting and exploring the camps, lodges, and safari destinations that Off The Track offers. Robyn's deep knowledge and firsthand encounters allow her to match clients with the perfect properties and activities.Taking ownership of Off The Track in May 2015, Robyn saw the tremendous potential to promote the beauty of Zimbabwe. As a born and bred Zimbabwean, she brings a unique perspective and passion for showcasing her country. Robyn shares her dedication to ensuring the highest level of service and expertise for her clients.The conversation delves into the challenges faced by the business and the tourism industry in general during the Covid pandemic. Robyn highlights how she navigated the uncertainties and adapted to the changing circumstances. Despite the difficulties, Off The Track managed to maintain its commitment to providing exceptional travel experiences.Throughout the interview, Robyn emphasises her personal connection to the destinations she offers. Her firsthand experiences contribute to her expert knowledge and the quality of the tours provided by Off The Track Expeditions.To get in touch with Robyn, email robyn@offthetrack.co.zw.
Sunday, May 14, 2023

A Conversation with Stanley Edwards

Season 1, Ep. 27
In this podcast episode, Graeme Watson speaks with Stanley Edwards, director of Platypus Digital, about how virtual reality (VR) can be used as a marketing tool for tourism businesses. They stress the importance of focusing on content objectives when using VR, rather than just admiring the technology. They discuss the different ways VR can be used, such as 360 images and videos, virtual guided tours, and interactive and immersive experiences. They highlight how VR has changed the way people view and experience travel and real estate, and how it can be an ideal tool for selling destinations and providing users with an interactive tour.During the podcast, Graeme and Stanley discuss how VR technology has evolved to become more accessible and cost-effective. In the past, VR was associated with expensive gear and complex production processes, but now it is easier to shoot and produce, and can be shared and embedded on multiple platforms. This accessibility has opened up opportunities for small businesses in the tourism industry to use VR as a marketing tool and reach a wider audience.Stanley also emphasises the importance of storytelling when using VR for marketing. VR can be used to create immersive experiences that engage viewers and allow them to explore a destination or property at their own pace. This can create a stronger emotional connection with the viewer and increase the chances of them choosing that destination or property for their next trip or purchase.The conversation also touches on the potential for VR to be used in other industries, such as real estate. Virtual walkthroughs of properties can give potential buyers a realistic sense of the space and help them make informed decisions without the need for in-person visits. This can be especially useful for international buyers who may not be able to physically visit the property.Stanley can be reached at stanley@platypus.co.za. Tune into Kusa Cast to learn more.
Wednesday, May 3, 2023

A Conversation with Katy Lee

Season 1, Ep. 26
Today's guest on Kusa Cast is Katy Lee, Senior Business Development at Feefo, a consumer insight business, who through their ratings and reviews technology help businesses collect, verified customer reviews and insights, allowing you to improve your products and customer experiences.Katy discusses the challenges and opportunities facing the tourism industry in the wake of the pandemic. With over 30 years of experience in the field, Katy shares her insights on the importance of personal responsibility, strong foundations, and inspiring leadership in the industry. She also talks about Feefo's innovative subscription model, which helps businesses collect customer sentiment and improve their reviews.The tourism industry has faced unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic, with travel restrictions and lockdowns impacting businesses around the world. However, there are signs of hope as the industry slowly comes back to life, with events like World Travel Market seeing high attendance.Katy believes that the industry needs leaders to inspire people to travel and explore. She also stresses the importance of having strong foundations in life, which allow individuals to rebuild even when they get knocked down.Katy's experience in the industry spans over 30 years, starting with her absolute love of travel from a young age. She worked at Virgin Holidays and British Airways Holidays, selling the virtues of travel to agents and operators. Now, she helps businesses collect customer sentiment and data to improve customer experience and drive sales.Feefo's subscription model is based on the number of transactions or interactions a business processes a month. Their technology gives you visibility over issues that are impacting your Feefo rating and the ability to prioritise changes to improve your customer experience. Feefo also has a team of account directors and customer service managers to provide guidance and best practices based on industry experienceJoin us as we explore the future of tourism and the role of technology in shaping it.For more information, you can contact Katy on katy.lee@feefo.com.
Wednesday, April 26, 2023

A Conversation with Cathy Entwistle and Nick Fox

Season 1, Ep. 25
The tourism industry in South Africa has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with limited help assistance to support struggling businesses. Despite the challenges, there is still a strong desire for travel to South Africa, particularly for wine tourism and safaris.In a recent episode of the Kusa Cast, "A Conversation with Cathy Entwistle and Nick Fox," the challenges facing the tourism industry in South Africa were discussed, along with potential solutions to revive the industry.Cathy Entwistle, owner of Val du Charron Wine and Leisure estate in Wellington, shared her experience of buying a wine farm and expanding to four and five-star accommodation with plans to add more family rooms. Nick Fox, who owns Sibuya Game Reserve highlighted the importance of resilience and adaptability in the face of unexpected challenges.To revive the tourism industry, the government needs to prioritise tourism and work with banks to provide financing for businesses in the industry. The revival of South African Airways (SAA) is seen as crucial for the tourism industry, as it would help bring more flights into the country and promote the national flag.Starting a tourism or winemaking business in South Africa is challenging and requires significant investment and infrastructure, but it is important for job creation and the growth of the economy. The advice given is to have a dream, believe in oneself, and seek mentorship from experienced individuals in the industry.Despite the challenges, there is still a strong desire for travel to South Africa. t is important for the government and banks to provide support to struggling businesses in the tourism industry to help revive the economy and create jobs. The potential for tourism to drive economic growth and job creation is significant, and it is vital that the government and industry work together to overcome the challenges faced by the industry.Tune in to hear how Cathy and Nick have managed to survive and come out stronger on the other side, and get inspired to pursue your dreams in the tourism and winemaking industry!Learn more about Val du Charron here, and more about Sibuya Game Reserve here.
Tuesday, April 18, 2023

A Conversation with Grant Fowlds

Season 1, Ep. 24
We hear from Grant Fowlds, a conservationist fighting to protect rhinos in Africa. He shares his experiences of both heart-wrenching losses and inspiring victories in the battle against poaching, and discusses the challenges faced by conservationists, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these challenges, Grant remains dedicated to preserving the ecosystem and saving endangered species, and his determination offers hope for the future of rhinos and Africa's tourism industry.Rhinos have been a target of poaching for over a decade, resulting in a dramatic decline in their population worldwide. However, there are individuals, organisations, and even entire countries fighting to protect these majestic creatures, and it is through their hard work and dedication that progress is being made.Grant Fowlds, who has been involved in marketing the Eastern Cape as a tourist destination, is one of those individuals. Project Rhino, a collaboration among landowners, was born out of the need to protect rhinos from poaching.Grant has seen a decline in the price of illegal rhino horn trading, which he attributes to the fact that it has become just another commodity in the illegal trade of money, sex, drugs, contraband, and weapons. He believes that educating people about the cruelty involved in harvesting rhino horn and the lack of medicinal or aphrodisiac properties in it can change the belief that it is a byproduct of a natural process like a deer's antler falling off.However, in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, poaching rates have risen again after a temporary decline, posing a new challenge for conservationists. The tourism industry, crucial for conservation efforts and job creation in Africa, has been hit hard by the pandemic, leading to a loss of experienced staff in the industry. Running a game reserve or ecosystem is expensive, with costs ranging from water for the animals to anti-poaching units. This cost is necessary to maintain the animals and their ecosystem, whether in a concession in a park in Central Africa or a private reserve with a fence and necessary equipment for protection. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of taking care of the Earth and preserving ecosystems. Every person on the planet is connected, and it is essential to plant trees, live responsibly, and re-wild to preserve the ecosystem.Africa has a lot to offer in terms of tourism, with unique experiences such as mega herbivores, special places like Victoria Falls and Cape Town, gorillas in Central Africa, the migration in East Africa and rhinos in Southern Africa, and cultural experiences in places like Burundi. However, red tape and bureaucracy are significant stumbling blocks to making tourism easier in Africa, with endless forms to fill out and long queues at airports. Efforts are being made to make things easier for travellers, but there is still room for improvement.Despite the many challenges faced by conservationists, their hard work is paying off, and rhino populations are slowly recovering. It is a long battle, but with the dedication and perseverance of people like Grant Fowlds, there is hope for the future of rhinos and other endangered species. Tune in to hear his inspiring story.To learn more about Project Rhino, click here.
Wednesday, April 12, 2023

A Conversation with Zile de Kock

Season 1, Ep. 23
Zile de Kock, executive marketing manager of Marine Dynamics, shares insights on how the tourism industry can adapt and survive during the COVID-19 pandemic. She discusses the impact of the pandemic on Marine Dynamics and how they have cut costs, expanded to Saudi Arabia, and offered specials for locals to sustain their business. Zile also emphasises the importance of conservation efforts, particularly in protecting the declining great white shark population, and urges the industry to prioritise it. Through attending tourism shows and making people aware of the significance of marine wildlife, Zile believes that companies can help protect the ocean ecosystem for generations to come. Join Zile as she shares her experiences and insights on the future of tourism in this engaging and informative podcast.During the pandemic, Marine Dynamics had to cut costs, expand to Saudi Arabia and offer specials for locals. The tourism industry in South Africa, and globally, has been greatly impacted by COVID-19, but industry professionals have come together to support each other through the tough times. The friendships formed during the pandemic have strengthened the industry and made professionals more loyal to each other. They have also learned to prioritise each other's health and well-being, checking in regularly and offering support.One of the biggest challenges facing Marine Dynamics, a shark cage diving company, is the decline in marine wildlife, particularly the great white shark population. This is due to overfishing, pollution, and the hunting of sharks by orcas. Marine Dynamics has tried to protect the shores of South Africa through court cases and lobbying the government, but financial support is needed to continue these efforts.Zile de Kock, a representative from Marine Dynamics, has traveled extensively to experience different whale watching and marine wildlife tours around the world to stay on top of the industry and offer the best experiences to customers. She believes that the main thing that needs to change in the world of tourism is more focus on conservation.Zile will be attending various tourism shows, including WTM Africa and Indaba, and hopes to attend WTM in London and other shows. She believes that attending these shows is the only way to make people aware of sharks and what amazing species they are, and that we should protect them and look after the ocean and the sharks because it's really important for the ecosystem.To learn more about the conservation efforts of Marine Dynamics, click here.
Wednesday, April 5, 2023

A Conversation with Ross Kennedy

Season 1, Ep. 22
Ross Kennedy, CEO of Africa Albida Tourism, discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Victoria Falls region's tourism industry. Kennedy shares the tough business decisions that were necessary for survival, but also highlights the community outreach programs and focus on sustainable and eco-friendly tourism practices that emerged during this difficult time. With a commitment to its long-standing employees and a vision for a more cooperative and efficient border system, this conversation is a must-listen for anyone interested in the future of tourism in southern Africa.The Victoria Falls region in southern Africa has been a central hub for tourism for over 50 years, with the flagship Victoria Falls Safari Lodge and The Boma - Dinner & Drum Show being just a few of the many offerings provided by Africa Albida Tourism. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the tourism industry to re-evaluate its priorities and adapt to the new normal.In a recent episode of Kusa Cast, "A Conversation with Ross Kennedy", the CEO of Africa Albida Tourism discussed the impact of the pandemic on the region's tourism industry. He noted that tough business decisions, such as cost-cutting measures and putting the estate into a care and security status, were necessary to survive. However, the community came together to provide outreach programs, feeding programs, and care for children.The pandemic also brought about a new focus on sustainable and eco-friendly tourism, with the industry implementing measures to make borders more user-friendly and efficient. Ross emphasised the importance of getting bureaucracy right and making borders quick, efficient, and clean ports of entry. The goal is to create a culture of cooperation with competitors and make the region a desirable destination for visitors.The Victoria Falls region is made up of four countries: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, and Namibia, and is part of the KAZA Transfrontier Conservation Area. Ross believes that the lasting difference from the pandemic will be a focus on sustainable and eco-friendly tourism, as well as community outreach and training programs.Africa Albida Tourism has a strong commitment to its employees, with many team members having been with the company for 20-30 years. They recently held a long service award ceremony, with three people receiving their 30-year awards and six receiving their 25-year awards. During the pandemic, businesses in the region were judged on how they treated their staff, and history will likely continue to judge them based on this.Kennedy believes that the pandemic has taught important lessons that will continue to shape the future of the tourism industry in the region. Cost-cutting, efficiencies, and productivity will be critical in the post-pandemic world, but so will sustainable and eco-friendly tourism practices. The Victoria Falls region has always been a beautiful and unique destination, but with the right priorities and focus, it can become an even more desirable place to visit for years to come.To learn more about the beautiful experiences of Africa Albida Tourism, click here.
Sunday, April 2, 2023

A Conversation with Andre du Toit

Season 1, Ep. 21
We hear from Andre du Toit, a consultant to tourism players across Africa, about his two exciting projects that aim to provide peace of mind to travellers and minimise liability risk. He discusses the SECURA traveller app, which aggregates emergency response services for security or medical incidents and the inbound travel insurance that includes access to Africa's leading critical incident management service.Andre also talks about the importance of resilience and collaboration in the tourism industry, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This podcast is a must-listen for anyone interested in the future of African tourism and how technology can play a vital role in enhancing guest safety.Andre is also working on an inbound travel insurance owned by South African tour operators that includes a buy-up option for cancellation for any reason. The product includes access to Africa's leading critical incident management service, which sets it apart from other travel insurance products. While there is currently no product that insures against a pandemic from an operator's perspective, travel insurance products that include cancellation for any reason are becoming more requested by travellers. Andre acknowledges the challenge of marketing and selling products that address safety and security concerns in Africa. Still, he believes in being honest with travellers and providing them with peace of mind through services like the SATSA supported SECURA traveler app.The COVID-19 pandemic has taught the tourism industry the importance of resilience and the need to surround oneself with credible and trustworthy partners. It has also brought the industry together and forced it to take a step back to push forward with lasting changes in the future. People have realised how much their health, well-being, and mental health depend on travel, and tourism is here to stay and will be bigger and stronger than ever.Tourism relies on partnerships and collaboration, and newcomers should build relationships and collaborate with individuals who have integrity and sustainability in mind. African governments need to understand the critical point of preserving wilderness landscapes across Africa, securing wilderness landscapes that work with communities to create healthy wildlife economies, and integrating wilderness safaris or other models to ensure biodiversity is at the centre of sustainable and regenerative practices around wilderness areas.To learn more about the services Andre can assist your business with, please email andre@firstequity.co.za.