News from Africa
20 June 2017 , 10:04 am

The stories behind 55,000 transactions per second


Numbers like these are impressive for any company, but even more so are the human stories behind the stats – because intertwined are your stories, mine, the travel agent’s and the traveller’s. Let me begin by telling you my South African story…

I love being South African, and although the challenges of this country are extreme, there is a strong hope that still burns in our hearts. To be a South African, is to know that miracles really do happen and that in the midst of great pain, great hope and beauty are also found.

Growing up in South Africa

My childhood was spent on a farm in KwaZuluNatal. We had little money, no electricity and the nearest friends were across a river (crocodile infested!) and down a dirt road. There was no TV, so books were the world to which I escaped and I spent many hours dreaming of being able to travel and have grand adventures just like the characters in the pages. My family didn’t have money to allow me to study at university and so with my heart full of dreams and yearning for the great wide world, I found an opening in the travel industry.

Starting at South African Airways, I moved on to travel agencies and even lectured at a tertiary travel college. All of this was interspersed with a few months in the USA and 6 months teaching English in China. It was all I had dreamed of as a child, yet I always felt restless, but it was only when I entered the doors of Amadeus twelve years ago and began work on the helpdesk that my story found a home.

Somehow, I had found myself part of something bigger than my own dreams and part of a thousand stories.

And  these were the small everyday stories behind the million transactions a minute.  Stories that together are  building a much greater story of a nation, the South African nation.  While many think that gold or diamonds contribute the most to our countries economy, it is actually the Tourism Industry.

The South African travel agent’s stories

In other parts of the world, when you think about a travel consultant you may think about a man or a woman with a suit sitting in their offices, but this is not always the South African reality. In my country, you can find a mom at home holding a baby in one arm, while using her other to type a quick availability search in Amadeus Sell Connect to see if a passenger can do a last minute change.  You can find a young woman without a chance for third level education, sitting  in an agency, typing a low fare search for her passenger and facing her future with hope.

For us in the Southern Africa ACO, these stories  add to ours every day. But this is not the whole picture. You see, the true beauty and magic of it all is that added to our story, is your story. And without your story, ours really wouldn’t be all that great.

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This post was written by Lindsay Palmer

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