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Intercape December 09 www. bus- ex. com 91 People are certainly at the heart of Intercape's business, and the company has been operating an in- house training school since 1999, delivering fully accredited training to those who deal directly with the public. The standard customer care, safety and best practice topics are all covered. " But the biggest thing we're focusing on now is the softer skills," explains marketing manager Corne De Waal. " For example, we offer a range of fares for each departure, so it's important for our sales staff to have the skills to make the sale and close the deal. Our market is also very visual, meaning that word of mouth marketing is very important. So we're focusing on sharpening the skills of our drivers and hostesses, and letting them know their importance in the whole value chain." Looking to the future, Arend de Waal sees significant opportunities for growth. " Statistics show that over a 12 month period, three quarters of the people visiting South Africa came from Africa itself, which means there is a huge opportunity for us." Services are likely to be expanded further into Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. De Waal acknowledges that the African road networks do need to be improved. " However, the roads are already much better than they were, and when they are ready in a few years' time, we will be ready to provide the service." - Editorial research by Paul Radbourne For the second year in a row, Volvo Southern Africa took home the Best Touring Coach award at the 2009 FOCUS on Excellence Awards, sponsored by WesBank. The company beat fellow finalists MAN Truck & Bus SA, Mercedes- Benz SA and SCANIA South Africa. The Excellence Awards finalists represent the very best of the transport industry; these are the companies that do an outstanding job, both in terms of product quality and service delivery. With a proud history of bus production stretching back 80 years, Volvo is a global leader in the bus and coach industry. Volvo offers tourist coaches designed for efficient, safe and profitable transport. This, combined with a high level of passenger comfort and attractive exteriors, makes Volvo's coaches a dependable solution for long- distance coach operators. VOLVO " Another contributory factor to this extended vehicle lifespan is driver behaviour," de Waal says. " Our drivers are incentivised to drive as efficiently as possible on each trip. Bringing down the maximum speed to 95 kilometres per hour has also helped."