Chairperson Anitha Soni biography

Anitha Soni started her career after graduating in Hotel Management in 1978 (31years ago). She was chosen to participate in the US–SA Executive Leadership Development Program (USSALEP) in Boston, USA.  After serving in the Tourism corporate sector and education she founded ASA Tourism Services Group in 1989.

  • involved in both the tourism and technology arenas
  • executive management positions in hotel and tourism in SA and the USA
  • lecturing and training many of today’s leaders in the SA tourism industry
  • Served as Special adviser to the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
  • expertise is in demand in the area of policy formulation
  • consultant in the drafting of the South Africa’s National Tourism White Paper
  • led the development of the Tourist Guiding Policy for S.A
  • developed the Tourism Branch within the then Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and then acted in the capacity of Deputy Director-General of DEAT
  • instrumental in transformation & setting up key tourism institutions and agencies since 1994 – included SATOUR into SA Tourism, KZN Tourism Authority, Durban Africa, Tourism Grading Council, Tourism Enterprise Programme
  • served on a number of Tourism Boards – SA Tourism, Tourism KwaZulu Natal, Tourism Durban and the Hospitality Industry Training Board, now THETA.
  • On Steering Committee that developed the Tourism BEE Scorecard and subsequently as the Deputy Chair of the first Tourism BEE Council.
  • Project leader in developing a tourism cluster strategy for Southern Africa for the Southern African Enterprise Network (SAEN) – aimed at drawing meaningful participation of Tourism entrepreneurs within the SADC Region.
  • Leadership development for graduates in Africa – US/SA International Internship programme for tourism and hospitality graduates in Africa.
  • Associate of Tourism Intelligence International (TII) based in Germany and Trinidad
  • developed the Tourism Human Resources Development Plan for the Government of Mozambique – part of a Commonwealth Secretariat co-operation agreement
  • SADC UNIVISA system – European Union project.
  • Established and funded SA’s first Tourism Incubator in Soweto and the tourism information programme, Ubuntu Buddies© .
  • Expanded understanding of impact of Technology on the African Continent – took on the challenge as Managing Director of the WorldSpace AfriStar Business Unit – providing leadership and strategic direction to operations in Europe, UK, Africa and Indian Ocean Islands
  • served as a Board member of the Durban Black Business Alliance incorporating the Black Management Forum and Consultative Business Forum in KZN
  • Board of the Service Leadership Institute based in Hilton Head, USA.
  • Served as Board member of US – SA Executive Leadership Development Program (USSALEP)
  • Awarded – Business Women of the year – Foundation for Excellence – 1995 & 2002 Business Women of the Year –BBQ.
  • manages the Investments of Women in Tourism and Hospitality – incorporated in 1999 – recently merged its investments with other Tourism businesses to form Utembezi Investment Holdings.
  • currently involved in the development of the National Strategy for Tourism
  • Anitha is currently completing her MBA specialising in Tourism Development.