CEO Monika Looks Forward to New Opportunities This Year, Despite Challenges!

The happy team!

Monika Iuel, CEO Private Safaris Southern Africa, looks forward to the year ahead with enthusiasm and optimism. We reproduce here, ad verbatim, her letter talking about how 2018 was a tough year. Nonetheless, new plans for 2019 point to a bright future for Private Safaris SA.  She and her team “look towards the sunshine” and promise to celebrate their successes with us.  We look forward to that, Monika.  Share them with us here!

“Dear Partners in Travel

It is almost incredible that it is once again time to embark on a conversation about another year, and yet here we are!

There is no doubt that 2018 was a tough year in Southern Africa. South Africa welcomed a new President, and had to adjust to an additional 1% VAT, the EU enacted their GDPR legislation, #DayZero messaging during the drought crisis in Cape Town went across the world during a crucial booking cycle and led to a decline in interest for the destination, and a stronger growth in East Africa’s arrivals further placed focus on the competitiveness of our destination for safari experiences. Availability remains a massive challenge in Namibia, where arrivals have grown faster than the tourism infrastructure can keep pace with.

Private Safaris undoubtedly had a more challenging year than most, but I am very proud to say that we have weathered a stormy 2018 and have come out winners. We have successfully migrated our reservations system back to Tourplan (and on deadline!) with the resultant benefits of online availability and an Agent Portal, streamlined processes and gained efficiencies as a result, and are now a stronger and more agile business for it. Our Cape Town operation moved into new offices just before January 2018, and we built a new sleek website. We forged new relationships with large wholesale customers in Europe which have brought our volumes back in line, and have structured the business to be supportive of a service culture.

We now look forward, and have some key focus areas we want to share with you. In addition to our existing representation efforts in South America, Germanic Europe and Central/Eastern Europe, we have signed a representation agreement in India, and have a new Representative in North America, which will grow our market position in those source markets in the future. We will spend this year understanding and actively improving the customer experience, both within the sales process but also on the ground. We are dedicated to ensuring that Private Safaris remains competitive, with access to the best commercials and availability with our suppliers. We continue to optimise our Agent Portal and are working on APIs with some of our bigger FIT customers. Rolling out our GDPR compliance will be a key focus, as will building ever more xml connections with suppliers in order to facilitate seamless end-to-end booking processes as well as access to dynamic pricing and last room availability.

Now we look towards the sunshine and will ensure that we celebrate our successes with you!”