Identifying the critical success factors for South Africa as a business tourism destination
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In addition to the growth and availability of business tourism in South Africa there is also an increase in the competition for South Africa as a business tourism destination. Business tourism is an indispensable part of the tourism industry and involves all trips related to business and work purposes. Business tourism and events are often also referred to as the MICE or MCE industry and events, the meetings segment, and the convention or conference industry. Business tourism holds ample advantages for a destination, such as decreasing seasonality, catalysing short-breaks, creating jobs, and increasing destination image. Furthermore, business tourists often spend more money than leisure tourists, thereby making a bigger economic impact per capita than leisure tourists. The importance of business travel and tourism in Africa was noted by Dieke (1998:39) as early as 1998. During 2015, 4.8% of foreign arrivals to South Africa represented business tourists. This figure was greater than the percentage of business tourists in 2014 – confirming growth in South Africa’s business tourism sector. This growth stresses the necessity of knowing what contributes to competitiveness and success within business tourism. Although both internal and external factors can contribute to success, managers in South Africa can manage, implement, and control the internal factors in an attempt to enhance business tourism. However, the critical success factors (CSFs) have to be determined in order to manage them. Therefore, the goal of this study was to determine the CSFs relevant to business tourism in South Africa. To achieve this goal, two articles were written: Article 1 analysed and reviewed CSFs in the tourism industry to gain a better understanding of this management approach, and Article 2 identified the CSFs for South Africa’s business tourism. These articles were preceded by Chapter 2: a literature study contextualising and analysing destinations and the tourism industry, the business tourism sector, and management. Previous studies on CSFs within the tourism industry were also identified and listed in Chapter 2. In Article 1 (Chapter 3) a total of 52 studies were identified and used for this review paper on CSFs. The ten most significant CSFs most frequently found (by including both statistical and descriptive analyses) were human resources, finances, customer / customer-related aspects, quality, facilities, effectiveness, marketing, systems, hygiene, and product. Three of the factors that appeared among the top five of both statistical and descriptive analyses were quality, finances, and human resources. Quality and facilities were two factors that appeared among the top five in both supply and demand approaches. Furthermore, quality appeared as an important CSFs through statistical and descriptive analyses as well as across supply and demand approaches. These results helped to design the interview guidelines for Article 2. The aim of Article 2 (Chapter 4) was to conduct a qualitative survey in order to identify the CSFs of business tourism in South Africa from the supply side. This was achieved by conducting structured interviews with seven respondents who are events/meeting coordinators within the business tourism sector in South Africa. The respondents were selected based on their willingness to participate. Four themes namely finances, human resources, product, and customer-related aspects, were identified. This is the first study focusing on the business tourism sector as a whole in South Africa, thereby contributing greatly to management. Research not only provided information regarding the CSFs for business tourism in South Africa, but it also provided findings regarding the industry as a whole and about the analyses of CSFs. Understanding the CSFs for business tourism can contribute to sustainable growth and competitiveness in the business tourism sector.