Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Ramawela

Mmatsatsi Ramawela

CEO, Tourism Business Council of South Africa

Mmatšatši Ramawela's career in South Africa's travel and tourism industry spans over 20 years. It was her curiosity as a Bachelor of Social Science and Humanities student at the University of Cape Town, which sparked her interest in the industry. After graduating, she started her career in Cape Town within the FMCG manufacturing sector and later moved to the retail sector in packaging, merchandising and buying whilst pursuing her interest in the sector in her spare time. In 1994, she moved to Johannesburg and joined the Small Business Development Corporation (now Business Partners), in the development finance sector but kept her focus on the tourism industry, training as a tour guide for Gauteng, Limpopo and the North-West provinces (states) of South Africa. She later joined the National Parks Board (now South African National Parks) in 1996, taking charge of the Marketing the country's 22 national parks and led the organisation's brand name change in line with the country's democratic dispensation. It was her experience at SANParks which taught Ramawela the role and importance of South Africa's rich natural heritage (biodiversity).

Ms. Ramawela can be contacted at +27 (12) 664-0120 or exec@tbcsa.travel

Coming up in December 2019...

Hotel Law: A Labor Crisis and Cyber Security

According to a recent study, the hospitality industry accounted for 2.9 trillion dollars in sales and in the U.S. alone, was responsible for 1 in 9 jobs. In an industry of that scope and dimension, legal issues touch every aspect of a hotel's operation, and legal services are required in order to conform to all prevailing laws and regulations. Though not all hotels face the same issues, there are some industry-wide subjects that are of concern more broadly. One of those matters is the issue of immigration and how it affects the ability of hotels to recruit qualified employees. The hotel industry is currently facing a labor crisis; the U.S. Labor Department estimates that there are 600,000 unfilled jobs in the industry. Part of the problem contributing to this labor shortage is the lack of H2B visas for low-skilled workers, combined with the difficulty in obtaining J-1 visas for temporary workers. Because comprehensive immigration reform is not being addressed politically, hotel managers expect things are going to get worse before they get better. Corporate cyber security is another major legal issue the industry must address. Hotels are under enormous pressure in this area given the large volume of customer financial transactions they handle daily. Recently, a federal court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission had the power to regulate corporate cyber security, so it is incumbent on hotels to establish data security programs in order to prevent data breaches. The lack of such programs could cause hotels to face legal threats from government agencies, class action lawsuits, and damage to their brand image if a data breach should occur. These are just two of the critical issues that the December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.