By donleffler, 7 December, 2009

SA HOST Service Excellence and WELCOME VISITOR EXPERIENCE Customer Service Training Programmes are tailor-made to meet all requirements for 2010

As the 2010 FIFA World Cup dawns, we as South Africans must consider the most appropriate training programmes to capacitate our services sector (points of entry / departure; SAPS; Municipal staff; emergency service staff; Hospitality staff; etc,) with appropriate skills to meet and greet the Visitors to the Host Cities to ensure a memorable experience in the interests of ongoing Tourism in the region.

For a country that sells itself as being “Alive with Possibilities” and in view of SA hosting the 2010 Soccer World Cup, it is paramount that at each touch point in the tourism value chain, visitors enjoy the best possible experience.

South African Tourism, the governmental organization responsible for marketing South Africa as a tourist destination, launched the Welcome Visitor Experience training programme in July 2005.

Designed, developed and trained by The Tourism Training Institute, a faculty of the Tourism, Hospitality & Sport Business School (, the Welcome Training Experience was created to provide the Tourism industry with some insight into tourist expectations and needs.

The focus of the training programme is on a guest/customer centered approach to service by enhancing visitor experiences through authentic and positive interaction with locals and encouraging positive word-of-mouth promotion of South Africa.

The Welcome Visitor Experience Programme is a half day training programme that recognizes the variety of experiences a traveller has, from arrival to departure at a destination and more importantly focusing at non-tangible elements such as experiencing a warm and friendly welcome, value for money and delivering an authentic South African experience.

It is critical that as we brand our domestic marketing campaigns with “Welcome”, and “live” the brand by combining the visual impact of the branding with a welcoming experience.

On completion of the programme, participants are able to:
• Understand why Tourism is important to South Africa as a country
• Appreciate the power of personal word of mouth and feedback on a destination
• Know what is a quality visitor experience
• Develop their own personal “visitor centered” service ethic
• Understand how “attitude” impacts on interpersonal skills and what this means “to me in my job”

At the end of the course, participants receive:
• A Certificate
• A Workbook and
• A Pledge

An alternative, and more intensive Service Excellence training programme is the THETA registered SA Host Service Excellence training programme.

Objectives of the SA Host workshop

By the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

1. identify the importance of good customer service to South Africa and the role you play;

2. meet and greet customers, and remember their names;

3. make a good first impression and use every opportunity to improve it;

4. communicate clearly with customers, face to face and over the telephone;

5. listen effectively to customers and ensure you meet their needs;

6. use effective techniques to handle emotional situations and customer complaints;

7. identify the major sectors of the Visitor industry, their value and the role you play in them;

8. provide your customers with information on local services and attractions;

9. increase your professionalism and pride in providing service to your customers and visitors.

Before you join us on our Customer Care Workshop, we would like to introduce you to SA Host, and explain exactly what this programme is all about.

SA Host is not just another customer care training workshop. It is a National project to improve service standards throughout South Africa.

In 1983 the government of British Columbia conducted a survey and discovered that both local residents and visitors felt that the general standards of service in British Columbia were unacceptably low. They also discovered that the attitude of residents to visitors was indifferent, and even hostile in some cases. The government wanted for British Columbia to get the most out
of the World Expo that was to be held in 1985. They wanted to ensure that visitors to the Expo had such a good experience that they would want to invest in the country and also come back on holiday. They came up with a programme called SuperHost. The two objectives were to:

 Improve service standards through training, and
 Change attitudes towards visitors by creating awareness of the value of the visitor industry to the country, and the role-played by every resident.

The programme worked so well, that fourteen countries have adopted similar programmes!

The Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (THETA) knew that South Africa faced the same problems – a generally low standard of service quality, and an indifferent attitude towards visitors. Tony Ansara, previous CEO of THETA was first introduced to the Host concept in Wales in 1996, where after he investigated the Host programmes being run in New Zealand, Australia, and Zimbabwe. With the co-operation of the ZimHost Trust the programme is being implemented in South Africa as SA Host.

SA Host’s Mission is to foster the spirit of unconditional, collective hospitality in South Africa by improving the service standard nationally through training, and creating awareness of the importance of the individual’s role in their place of work and as ambassadors for their community and for South Africa.

SA Host’s Objectives are to:

 Improve service standards through training;
 Change attitudes towards visitors by creating an awareness of the value of the visitor industry to the country and the role played by every resident; and
 Elevate national pride.

Although initiated by the tourism industry, SA Host is for every organisation that has customers. Let’s face it – if you don’t have customers you are not in business, whatever business that may be.

SA Host aims to change the culture of all organisations so that they become customer driven. That way South Africans as well as visitors will begin to receive excellent service, and the quality of life will improve for all of us. Imagine if you were treated as an important partner in every business and government department that you dealt with – every time!

SA Host, as a national drive, is funded by both government and the private sector.
If you are not working for an organisation designated as part of the tourism industry, you may wonder what a programme involving tourism has to do with you. Most of us think of visitors as just people who come to South Africa on holiday, who invade our local attraction and are sometimes a nuisance. In fact, visitors include business people who may be looking to invest in our country. They may be from outside the country or from other communities in South Africa. They may stay for a few days, or work here for a few years. Visitors to a community impact directly on that area’s economy because they spend money there. Domestic visitors help to circulate money throughout the country, whilst foreign visitors bring in new money and add to the general wealth of businesses, communities, and South Africa as a whole.

You are equally important to the Visitor industry. Every visitor takes away with them an impression of our home, our country and the community in which we live whatever their reason for coming or however long they stay. They spread the word in their own countries about their impressions in South Africa. The people they encounter on their trip create these impressions. Long after they have forgotten about the elephant they saw, or Table Mountain, they remember the people they met. Think about how you feel when you hear people talking in a derogatory way about the area you live in, or about your country. We want people to leave with a good impression. We want them to come back, stay longer, and spend more money here – to help us create jobs and improve our economy. The point is, visitors don’t just stay in hotels or safari camps. They buy our products, they change money at banks, and they are customers at retail stores, garages, and restaurants. They are affected by our infrastructure – our roads, telephones, electricity supplies, medical facilities.

Perhaps even more important is the impact you have on the quality of life in your own community. The success of business, communities, and indeed countries, depends primarily on their people – their attitudes, their professionalism, and the responsibility they take for their own behaviour. Each of us plays an important role and we are all personally responsible for the environment, in which we live and work.

Bob Ashford from AussieHost tells a good story to illustrate how important people are; A teacher, who was very busy, was looking after a young child who kept interrupting her work. To distract the

child the teacher took a map of the world, tore it into pieces and gave it to the child to put back together again like a puzzle. She thought this would keep the child busy for a long time. A very short while later however, the child was back with the picture correctly stuck back together. The teacher asked her how she had managed to do the puzzle so quickly. The child said, “Well I turned the pieces over and there was a picture of a man on the other side. I put the man together and the world fell into place.”

SA Host works to help people to understand the importance of the role they personally play in their own world. We train people in the skills they need to take the first steps to improving their own lives and the lives of those around them. We help participants to take pride in themselves and in their community.

SA Host is run in each community by a Local Host Organisation, in partnership between government, the private sector, and the individuals in each community. It is a community project with the aim of everyone involved to achieve SA Host Community status.

We start with you, the Participant. At the end of the SA Host workshop, if you qualify, you will become an SA Host and will be awarded a certificate and lapel pin that should be worn at all times that you are at work. This lapel pin identifies you as an SA Host and someone who has made a commitment to provide excellent service and hospitality.

When an organisation has trained 60% of their staff through the workshop, they are accredited as an SA Host Business. They can then use the SA Host logo to advertise themselves as an organisation that puts their customers first and one for which you can be proud to work. When 60% of the business community achieves SA Host status, the community receives accreditation as an SA Host Community. They will be able to attract visitors and investors because people will know that they will receive exceptional service there. The quality of life will also be improved for all its residents.

When you become an SA Host you become part of an important national programme. You will also learn skills that will help you to communicate well with customers, friends and family. We hope you have already begun to learn how important you are to your company, to the visitor industry and to your community.

Whatever business you are in and whatever your job is, you personally influence the environment around you.

SA Hosts are people who care about their customers and the visitors to their community. They also care about the people and the environment within their community. They want to give everyone a good impression of their home and they work actively to project this. They do so

because they understand that in the end the role they personally play does make a difference – to the quality of their own lives, of life in their community and to the economy. They are committed to achieving the objectives of SA Host. They take pride in being SA Hosts and in delivering excellent, professional service to everyone they encounter!

Keys to Success
Welcome Visitor Experience”
A half-day Training Workshop designed for SA Tourism to create an awareness of Tourism’s value for South Africa and its people by offering Visitors superior Customer Service and a warm, friendly Welcome

Workshops are run nationally

Unlocking Potential
A two-day Training Workshop derived from the globally successful World Host Training Programme and adapted to South Africa.

Qualified Facilitators registered with THETA

Effective and sustainable

Workshops are run nationally

Bookings: Email [email protected]
[email protected]
Bookings: Telephone071 0493 221 / 076 5800 271


[email protected]



THSBS has a Panel of Facilitators who are registered with THETA as Assessors and/or who are Lead Facilitators of the SA Host Customer Service Training Programme and/or who were involved in the FIFA Confederation Cup Volunteer “Know your Country, Know your City” Training Programmes.

THSBS designed and facilitated the Welcome Visitor Experience Training Programme for SA Tourism.


THSBS will design a specialized half-day interactive Training Workshop which is aimed at providing delegates with a broad range of information of key Tourist attractions and events in and around your Province / City.

Included in the information will be useful Safety and Health Tips and contact details of Tourism Authorities and Emergency Numbers.

The content of the THSBS Training Programme will draw on information from local Tourist information publications and, also, from THSBS’s direct involvement in:

1. the design by THSBS of the Fundi South Africa “Know your Destination” online training programme for S.A. Tourism funded by DEAT.
2. the FIFA Confederation Cup Volunteer Training Programme comprising the “Know your Country, Know your City” training programme designed for DEAT and co-ordinated by THETA with the involvement of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) and Umsomvubu
3. the design by THSBS of the “Be Aware, Be Safe” training programme for Tourists



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