ASATA Awards
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The Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA) recently announced the winners of the prestigious 2017 ASATA Awards.

Considered the highest accolade in the South African travel industry, the ASATA Awards recognise those individuals who consistently exceed expectations, display great people skills, have strong travel knowledge, pay close attention to detail, offer superb client support, and set exceptionally high standards to the benefit of the entire South African travel industry.

Says Otto de Vries, ASATA CEO: “The awards are reflective of the excellence that we have in South Africa’s travel sector.”

Several Amadeus clients scooped awards at this prestigious event, and our very own Jannine Adams was amongst the judges.

Industry stalwart Mary Shilleto from Thompsons Travel was recognised for her exceptional commitment to the travel industry, while Tourvest’s Charleen Shearer was nominated in the same category.

Mary shares the following advice with travel agents striving to make their mark in the industry: “Ensure you research and are well prepared to offer customers what they want. Learn from your mentors and colleagues, and seize every opportunity to travel. Be well informed in the latest trends travel. Work well with your suppliers and love your brand. Invest in long-term relationships with all customers.”

Oriana Neto-Caldeira of Flight Specials Centurion (XL) scooped the award for the best leisure consultant and Beachcomber’s Samantha Barkhuysen was lauded as the best wholesale consultant.

The coveted award for Tomorrow’s Leader went to Ntiyiso Maluleke General Manager of Tourvest Travel Services.

We decided to chat to Ntiyiso about this prestigious title.

What does it mean to you to win this award? 

Throughout my years of studying and working, I have received several awards. The ASATA award, however, is special in that it is a recognition at a national level. I feel truly honoured: this is a very big deal for me.  This ASATA award has to be my proudest award ever.

What are some of the proudest moments during your career in the South African travel industry?

I am passionate about people, I love seeing people transform before my eyes.

I remember seeing a young man reduced to tears following his graduation programme when he was given a permanent contract. This young man was coming from a very poor community and family and was living in a shack. That is one of the events during my career that has touched me deeply.

We are also involved in quite a few projects aimed at identifying small woman-owned black businesses in partnership with local government to help activate economic activity in the rural areas.

We’ve helped a few businesses, which always existed in complete anonymity, make their mark in the Transport and Accommodation space locally. The emergence of such businesses fuels my passion as I consider myself somewhat an entrepreneur.

What does it take to be a good leader?

A good leader produces more leaders. I believe a good measure of leadership is to look at the caliber of leaders someone produces.

In my current role, I have given great opportunities to quite a few managers. They are now doing very well in the industry, and have transformed from consultants to Team Leaders and Operation Managers. A few of them have written to me expressing their gratitude for the opportunities I awarded to them.

Producing leaders is my passion and my greatest achievement. I love seeing others achieve more than I could or can.

What would you still like to achieve in the South African travel industry?

 From my observation, there hasn’t been enough contribution from the black citizenry in the travel industry.

I would be so proud if – over and above my current small contribution – I could get to open more doors of opportunities for the black community, especially women, to participate and contribute to the continued growth of our industry.