Hloni, [Right], handing over to Thekiso Rakolojane[Left][/caption]The Chief Operating Officer (COO) of South African Tourism, Sthembiso Dlamini, has paid glowing tribute to outgoing manager of the West African Region of South Africa’s tourism marketing organization, Lehlohonolo Pitso. Ms. Dlamini said Hloni, as he is popularly known, far exceeded expectations when he was appointed five years ago to set up the West African office of South African Tourism. His leadership has not only helped to grow the number of tourists’ arrivals from West Africa to South Africa, but has also deepened the relationship between the two regions. The COO noted that the leadership of South African Tourism was happy with the growth of arrivals from West Africa, and this was due to the effort that was put in by the Regional Office for West Africa and the support that Hloni and his team got from trade partners, South African Airways, the SA missions and the media. She was speaking at a dinner held at the La Villa Boutique in Accra on Wednesday, October 31 to announce the departure of Hloni to the stakeholders of the tourism trade in Ghana, with whom he worked during his stay as the Regional Manager for West Africa. According to her, Hloni’s work in West Africa was so remarkable that he had been transferred to head the South Europe Region, comprising France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, with the expectation that he would grow that market just as he grew the region of his last appointment. The COO also took the opportunity to introduce to the gathering and, by extension, the travel and tourism community, the person who would take over from Hloni as the manager of the West Africa office of South Africa Tourism. Incoming manager of the West African Region, Thekiso Rakolojane, was described by the COO as an astute marketer with more than ten years of experience with South African Tourism and had done a lot for the organization at different levels during the period. Ms. Dlamini said it took a very long time after looking for a replacement for Hloni to settle on Thekosi. While expressing his pleasure to the team that supported him at the West Africa office in Lagos, the travel trade, media, as well as partners such as SAA and the High Commissions, Hloni also pleaded for support to be given to his successor to ensure that he would succeed. He also assured the gathering that he was going to Europe not only sell South Africa, but to sell Africa as a preferred destination. On his part, Thekiso was not oblivious of the extent of work ahead of him given the great job his predecessor had done and the big shoe he left behind to be filled. He noted, however, that he had been working with Hloni for a long time and knows what ought to be done, adding that he would rely on him and the support of all to make his tenure successful. President of the Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGHA) Kwesi Eyison commended South African Tourism for using its clout to connect many people.