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The Northern Cape Province will renew their commitment to service excellence in the tourism industry with the launch of the Journey to Service Excellence(J2SE)  pilot project in Upington on Friday, 15 November 2013. 

This campaign forms part of the National Tourism Service Excellence Strategy launched by the National Department of Tourism in 2011 and is committed to building a service excellence culture and to improve service levels in the tourism value chain throughout South Africa.  This strategy was developed after research done in 2009 showed that customer service delivery was inconsistent and fluctuated extensively throughout the country.

The national strategy is based on five key pillars, namely obtaining research and information as an industry benchmark, upskilling of service delivery, creating public awareness, implement service norms and standards and developing customer feedback systems.

The J2SE campaign will play a key role in creating public awareness of the importance of exceptional service delivery standards and was developed through a consultative process between the national tourism department and the Service Excellence Forum, which consists of key national and local industry stakeholders.

According to John Block MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, the decision was made to conceptualise an awareness campaign with high impact on grass roots level.  “It is crucial that we raise awareness of the importance of service excellence as it is a key driver in making South Africa and the Northern Cape a globally competitive destination.  The campaign has been linked to the Rural Tourism Strategy and smaller towns in the various rural nodes were identified for the implementation of the Journey to Service Excellence pilot project.  In the case of the Northern Cape, the commercial hub of Upington in the Green Kalahari was earmarked as a suitable venue as it met the selection criteria for participation,” mentions Block.

The J2SE campaign will bring partners together and share information about the service excellence strategy and standardised requirements, assist in creating a culture of service excellence in each town, gather suggestions on how to improve service levels and develop sustainable quality products and services.

Block explains that the J2SE campaign aims to involve all sectors from the tourism value chain, even those that are only indirectly linked to tourism, in a series of workshops and training sessions conducted until March 2014.  “With this campaign, we want to bring together the entire town from tourism businesses and products to local communities, law enforcement, transport providers, local government agencies, financial institutions, religious forums, medical practitioners, retail centres and even petrol attendants at petrol stations to raise awareness across different economic and service sectors of their contribution to tourism and service excellence.  We want to create a service excellence culture in Upington and these workshops are providing a platform for sharing ideas and information for improvement.  It will also have a strong educational component to create true service excellence ambassadors,” states Block.

The Journey to Service Excellence campaign will culminate in a round-table discussion of case studies and success stories in March 2014 and a national celebration in June 2014.

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For more information, please call Tebogo Velembo on 071 462 3150.