Jurni Kicks Off Pilot Phase And Unveils Data Hub For SA Tourism

Jurni, a first-of-its-kind Travel and Tourism Data Management Company, has launched the pilot phase of its innovative Tourism Booking Tool and its revolutionary Tourism Data Hub. 


Affordable and easy-to-use, the Jurni Booking Tool is expected to level the playing field for tourism players in South Africa by empowering all tourism businesses, including smaller and rural-based SMMEs, to access customers through a digital platform. 


“There are over 30,000 hospitality providers in South Africa. Only 20% of these businesses currently have a professional digital presence that makes them visible to travellers,” says Dr. Nomvuselelo Songelwa, Jurni CEO. 


“Jurni has created a tourism Booking Tool that will address this challenge and allow all tourism players in the South African market to have a professional digital preference and access the global market.”


During the pilot phase, Jurni will prioritise accommodation establishments. Some 80 accommodation establishments have already been onboarded on the tool. As of today, 04 December, the booking tool is live and bookable to visitors with a number of establishments having been verified and quality assured. The future is exciting as Jurni’s roadmap includes covering other tourism products into the Jurni platform and ecosystem (e.g. tour operators, activities, etc.).


To ensure that there is value for money experience for visitors, a process of activating the property will include a rigorous quality assurance, that is driven by South African Tourism (SAT) and the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA).  Product owners will then receive training on how to use the Booking Tool on their own. They will be able to administer, manage and run their businesses in the digital space, directly accessing the market through their websites and any channels digitally enabled by Jurni. 


The booking tool is also a backbone enabling the online booking capability for domestic marketing campaigns driven by SAT. Trainers have been appointed to hand-hold, assist and guide product owners to leverage and benefit from the Jurni platform.


What makes the Jurni Booking Tool unique is that it is part of an ecosystem that is integrated to leverage insights for the data hub. The Booking Tool will also gain rapid exposure through the visitor app & information portal, which is currently still under development. 


The data generated through the Jurni Booking Tool will be consolidated with existing data sources into the Jurni Data Hub. The Hub will equip South Africa’s tourism businesses with improved insights to inform their business strategies and decision making. 


“Tourism data sources in South Africa today are disparate and do not provide intelligence at a granular level to inform South Africa’s travel and tourism sector,” says Dr. Songelwa. “Through meaningful data, we can monitor changes, make forecasts, devise strategies and policies, determine whether these have been successful, and if we are achieving the goals we set out as an industry and a country. 


“Industry collaboration is essential to derive as much value as possible from the Jurni Data Hub. The integration of data from multiple sources implies the merging, de-duplication and qualification of data. South Africa’s tourism data will be standardised, verified, validated and cleansed into a single and trustworthy “quality data” repository.”  


As all the different stakeholders converge to create quality data, the data quality rules will be cross-checked between the stakeholders. Data security has been implemented with encrypted processes and password-protected platforms. 


Jurni also has agreements in place with industry organisation, such as SA Tourism, StatsSA, TBCSA, SAVRALA, as well as with international organisations. 


“I’m proud to say that the Jurni Data Hub can already generate reliable tourism insights for stakeholders. We have the ability to unveil investment opportunities for South Africa’s unexplored destinations. We can even generate insights that span beyond the travel and tourism industry. Our data scientists will be able to look for patterns and correlate data from multiple and diverse sources, including from sectors and industries outside of travel and tourism.” says Dr. Songelwa.


“A key driver of jobs growth for our economy, the Tourism sector is being elevated as a critical economic and social driver. Tourism intelligence, that is meaningful tourism data that is consolidated into an independent data hub like Jurni, helps us to strengthen this debate,” says Maylene Broderick, National Department of Tourism Chief Director: Enterprise Development and Transformation. 


“Jurni is an innovative example of the partnership we need between government and business to achieve our ambitious vision to grow tourism’s contribution to the South African economy,” says Broderick. 


What is Jurni?


Jurni is the official rebranding of the National Tourism Visitor Information System (NTVIS), an initiative, created and launched jointly by Amadeus, South Africa’s National Department of Tourism, the Thebe Tourism Group and representatives of key, private sector stakeholders in the travel and tourism industry of South Africa.


“We are proud to have played a part in creating this unique and innovative model of collaboration between the public and private sector stakeholders of the travel and tourism industry of South Africa”, explains Svend Leirvaag, Vice President: Industry Affairs Amadeus IT Group.


“We are very pleased with the progress of the projects, as well as with the commitment and contribution by the partners in this exciting initiative, which will contribute to sustainable growth and transformation in South Africa”.

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