Mmatšatši Ramawela’s career 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).
Ramawela also has extensive experience of working with the trade and various destination marketing organisations locally and internationally. She has worked for both the KwaZulu-Natal Tourism Board and the Limpopo Tourism Board prior to joining the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) as Chief Operations Officer in 2006. She took over the position of Chief Executive Officer.
The TBCSA is the umbrella body for organised business in the South African travel and tourism industry. The organisation’s mandate is to lobby, influence macro-economic developments which impact on the industry for the purpose of building the pride, economy and identity of South Africa as a destination.
Under Ramawela’s leadership, the organisation has since grown to encompass a total of 16 sector associations within its membership base comprising of businesses operating across the various sectors of the travel and tourism chain. In addition, the organisation now facilitates a number of industry-focused projects such as the TBCSA Tourism Business Index tracks business performance in the industry on a quarterly basis and TOMSA which is a voluntary tourism levy collection system administered by the TBCSA.