Director, Gecko Afrika Holdings & Chapter President
International institute for Peace through Tourism Southern Africa (IIPTSA)
An energetic, passionate and inspiring advocate of the travel and tourism sector, Ms Mmatšatši Ramawela is a South African born, raised and educated female who spent 23 years of her career in the travel and tourism industry before stepping down from active employment in 2018. She is a director of a South African register management consultancy called Gecko Afrika Holdings. In addition, she is a director of African Tourism Showcase, which is a mixed portfolio company registered in the UK and South Africa. She also serves as the Chapter President of the International institute for Peace through Tourism Southern Africa (IIPTSA). In terms of education, she holds a Master’s degree in Leadership in Emerging Economies from the University of Johannesburg. She is currently completing a PHD in Business Management at the University of Pretoria, focusing on the emerging accommodation models within the short term rental segment of the hospitality industry. Ms Ramawela’s journey in the travel and tourism sector has seen her occupy various senior management positions within both the public and private sector from 1995. She started her career in the sector, working for the South African National Parks as general manager for marketing and product development. She moved Durban, in the province of KwaZulu-Natal to become the general manager for marketing. She later relocated to Polokwane, in the province of Limpopo where she occupied the position of general manager for tourism marketing and product development. Ms Ramawela’s next position was with the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), where she initially occupied the position of COO and later became the CEO. She occupied the CEO position of the TBCSA for 12 years. Among the highlights of her time at the TBCSA is organising and hosting the Hotel investment Conference Africa (HICA) between 2007 and 2015. Ms Ramawela has served as a director in various institutions within both the private and public sectors, in South Africa and internationally. Some of her engagements include serving as a director and then chairman of the School of Tourism and Hospitality at the University of Johannesburg; a member of the Tourism Transformation Council of South Africa, which advised the South African Tourism minister on transformation matters. In the Council, Ms Ramawela chaired the funding committee. In 2020, Ms Ramawela was appointed along with other notable tourism leaders in South Africa to form part of the Ministerial Advisory Panel that reviewed the South African national tourism policy. She also served as chairman of Auspex Leisure and Hotel Management, a company that developed and owned the Radisson Hotel in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Ms Ramawela continues to serve the tourism and hospitality industry in various capacities. In the hospitality industry, she currently serves as a director of Bastian of the Deaf, which is a company that own the Park Inn hotel in Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa. In addition, Ms Ramawela serves as a board member at the Johannesburg based Gauteng Tourism Agency in South Africa.