Tourism KwaZulu-Natal joins South Africa in mourning of the untimely passing away of Ms Anitha Soni, the former Board Chairperson. Ms Soni played an instrumental role in transforming and setting up key tourism institutions and agencies since 1994, which included South African Tourism, Tourism KZN, Durban Tourism, the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa and the Tourism Enterprise Programme to mention a few.
Her death came as a shock to friends and relatives as she was on the road to recovery after a brain aneurysm eight months ago.
Chief Executive Officer of Tourism KZN, Mr Ndabo Khoza said “Ms Soni played a vital role in the tourism sector in general as well as within Tourism KZN. She served as Tourism KZN Board Chairperson from 2002 to 2005 .She also led the team that developed the Provincial Tourism White Paper which was adopted in 2008.Her legacy within the sector will be felt for a long time to come.
“On behalf of Tourism KZN management and staff, I would like to convey our most sincere condolences to the Soni family and the tourism sector at large. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time.” Concluded Khoza
Commenting on the passing of Ms Soni, The MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Michael Mabuyakhulu said “She served the tourism sector for over 20 years, holding a number of influential positions in government that have helped to shape the sector to what it is today. She laid the foundation that has built this sector to be a thriving business that we see today. When she came on board, we had just over 400 000 tourists and today the country boasts over 10 million visitors. Her contribution is insurmountable and her death has indeed left a huge gap in the tourism sector. We have truly lost a shining light in the sector. My confidence in her ability resulted in me appointing her as the Tourism KZN Chairperson and she performed this task with due diligence.”
The current Chairman of Tourism KZN, Sadha Naidoo, said “She contributed significantly to the tourism industry, especially in KZN. I am honoured that I am part of the relay that she was part of
and we will endeavour to honour her legacy and contribution by creating a stable tourism industry that she would have been proud of. We continued to work closely with her whilst she was at Brand SA and ensured that there was always synergy with what we do as Tourism KZN in our efforts to promote the province both international and domestically. Her wisdom and knowledge of the tourism sector will be missed dearly”.
Anita started her career after graduating in Hotel Management in 1978 and went on to hold executive management positions in tourism in South Africa and the USA. She also served as a Special adviser to the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, She was a consultant in the drafting of the KZN Tourism White Paper, and led the development of the Tourist Guiding Policy, at the same time running her own company, ASA Tourism Services, a development consultancy business, founded in 1989.
About Tourism KwaZulu-Natal: Tourism KwaZulu-Natal was established in 1996 and is responsible for the development, promotion and marketing of tourism into and within the province, both domestically and internationally. The organisation is an entity that reports to the provincial Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs.