Cape Town – South African Deputy Minister of Tourism Tokozile Xasa has thanked South African citizens for “making tourism the successful sector that it is”.
“As 2015 draws to a close,” she says, “we as the Tourism family would like to extend our warmest wishes to the nation, the continent and our international visitors and to say thank you.”
Xasa encouraged South Africans to relax after a hard year’s work, but urged travellers to exercise caution and be safe during the festive period.
“Drive carefully and be safe on the roads. Look after our children this festive season. Practice responsible tourism and treasure our resources like water, guard against accidentally causing fires that can ravage our flora and fauna. Be mindful of your carbon footprint – so that we preserve our attractions for future generations,” Xasa pleads.
In the beginning of December this year, News24 published a report stating that 13 273 people died on South African roads in the 2015, with 58% of those in alcohol-related deaths.
This statistic placed South Africa among the leading countries with the worst alcohol-related fatalities in the world, according to the 2015 Global Status Report on Road Safety, compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Since the start of the holiday season, at least 720 people more have been killed on the country’s roads, EWN reports.
This year, with the full moon and Spring Tide falling exactly on Christmas Day, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) too has urged the public to be extra careful.
The full moon Spring Tide will peak on Christmas Day and the high tide will gradually get higher each day and low tide will gradually get lower each day, building up to a peak on Christmas Day. These higher than normal high tides and the lower than normal low tides will last for at least the next ten days, the NSRI warned.
Pretoria — The tourism sector has a huge potential to create jobs, says Tourism Deputy Minister Tokozile Xasa.
Speaking on Tuesday at the Tourism Trade show in Singapore, Deputy Minister Xasa said the tourism sector was continuing to think innovatively about new and exciting ways to attract visitors.
“This is exciting news for budding entrepreneurs and the youth of the country, as innovation is very often the cornerstone of what sets one business apart from the next and allows new start-ups an opportunity to gain market access.
“Especially in our townships and rural areas, cultural tourism is a niche that continues to offer opportunities,” she said.
The Department of Tourism is partnering with business owners in the sector to leverage off the unique heritage of the country, especially in terms of the country’s liberation struggle history.
Deputy Minister Xasa said the sector is valued due to the fact that it has very few barriers to entry for new businesses, especially when compared to other industries such as mining.
“In addition, the sector is less capital intensive than most others while also being more reliant on human capital,” Deputy Minister Xasa said.
She said the National Development Plan prioritises Small and Medium Enterprises as an important strategic driver of growth.
“Significant resources are being made available across a variety of departments to grow small businesses, stimulate a mindset of entrepreneurship and ease barriers to entry for our already enterprising South Africans,” Deputy Minister Xasa said.
She said the consistent increase in tourism arrivals over the past few years is testament to the success of a variety of initiatives from the side of government and in partnership with business
According to the national statistics agency, tourism made a direct contribution of R103.6 billion to the Gross Domestic Product in 2013, rising from R93.5 billion in 2012.
Domestic visitors contributed 57 percent of the total tourism spend in 2013, while international visitors contributed 43 percent.
“The tourism industry employs 655 609 people directly and 1.5 million both directly and indirectly. One in every ten jobs in our country is supported by tourism,” Deputy Minister Xasa said.