Tourists and small businesses in the tourism sector will soon be able to book and plan their trips and connect via a new online platform and mobile app, Jurni.
CEO of the National Tourism Visitor Information system Dr Nomvuselelo Songelwa unveiled, Jurni, a new digital initiative of the national department of tourism at the recent Africa’s Travel Indaba in Durban. The initiative involves building a centralised tourism data management hub which will prove information to tourists via a mobile app and serve as a booking platform.
Jurni was born from a partnership between the Department of Tourism and Amadeus, to develop a national tourism information system.
Aspiration to post trip sharing
Songelwa said the data management hub would consolidate local tourism information from existing tourism databases and incorporate small businesses that do not yet have an online presence.
“The platform will allow SMMEs in peri-urban, rural and township areas to promote their properties and experiences to tourists. The platform will complement the existing solutions that are already available on multiple channels,” she said.
“The platform will follow the tourist’s entire journey from aspiration and planning to booking and post trip sharing phases and it will feed the tourism data hub with real time tourism information, while providing the information platform for domestic and international travellers.”
Songelwa said the planning stage of the platform had been completed and it was now in development with the goal of launching the innovative hub in December.
Digital global first
Amadeus Southern Africa managing director Andy Hedley said the project was a global first and many countries were watching the project’s development from a distance. Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom said the platform would enable the gathering and curating of data which could be used as a strategic tool for government decision making to measure tangible results in the sector.
“We need the data in all of its forms from a variety of sources to present the case for tourism – the moment we can say reliably and confidently that this is how tourism is impacting the economy, this is the impact on GDP and how many jobs it is creating, this is how many young people enter the tourism industry, it presents the case, it will help us make the right decisions,” Hanekom said. Businesses will eventually be able to obtain a listing on the platform through their local Community Tourism Organisation.