Speaking at the launch of Tourism Month in Limpopo on 16 August, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom said R100 million had been invested in growing the tourism sector in the country.
“With this investment we are committed to ensuring that the wonders we boast of, and the unique heritage we have been endowed with, are shared by more and more South Africans,” he said.
Everyone can be an ambassador
Hanekom said it was important that all South Africans became ambassadors of their own country. They could start by travelling within the country to discover, learn, and fall in love with all its beauty and diversity.
“As more of our people discover more about our country, they will feel a sense of pride and belonging.
“There is nothing like direct contact and interaction between people to break through artificial social barriers and allow us to share the things we all have in common,” he said.
Employment and growth
In 2014, tourism accounted for close to 10% of all employed people in South Africa.
Domestic trips increased by 11% in the year to reach 28 million, and the revenue generated by domestic tourism alone in 2014 was R26.8-billion.
It’s all about access
Hanekom said for the country to reach its target of 18 million domestic tourists by 2020 – as set out in the National Tourism Sector Strategy – it would have to work harder to make tourism more affordable and more accessible to all South Africans.
“We are therefore very keen to work with the trade to make travel a reality for millions of South Africans,” he said.
“All members of the trade are encouraged to upload their value-for-money deals on to the Sho’t Left website and to provide a variety of packages and options to suit all budgets.”
World Tourism Day
This year, World Tourism Day falls on 27 September, and the theme is “A billion tourists, a billion opportunities”.
It provides a platform to examine how communities around the world work to grow tourism through unearthing new opportunities. World Tourism Day in South Africa will be celebrated in Limpopo.
The province is home to world-class travel attractions such as the Mapungubwe World Heritage Site and the Kruger National Park.
The Tourism Complaints Officer, who is tasked with protecting and promoting the tourism industry, has in a letter rejected my official complaint calling for an investigation into the devastating impact the new visa regulations are having on the tourism industry.
The Tourism Complaints Officer should act as a custodian of the tourism industry. Like others tasked with the growth of tourism and jobs, the Tourism Complaints Officer is in clear dereliction of duty by failing to act against these visa regulations. We must ensure that this institution performs the tasks assigned to it proficiently if we are to protect this job-creating industry.
I will therefore today write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism, Beatrice Ngcobo, requesting that she summon the Tourism Complaints Officer, Mirriam Setwaba, to appear before Committee and provide substantive and credible reasons as to why she failed to carry out her primary mandate.
Last month I submitted an official complaint to Ms Setwaba, requesting she address the following with regards to the regulations:
Whether such onerous regulations are international best practice;
Which other countries have instituted similar regulations and what impact has this had;
Whether a proper economic and regulatory impact assessment was undertaken prior to the regulations being drafted; and why there were no formal engagements with any tourism industry associations.
In a curt reply, Ms Setwaba, who was appointed by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom as Tourism Complaints Officer, rejected the complaint, advising that I approach the Department of Home Affairs “who in her view, are best placed to address the concerns and to provide responses on the aspects of the regulations that they administer”.
The question remains – if the office that was appointed to protect the tourism industry is not able to act on its behalf, then who will?
The tourism industry contributes 9% of our GDP and employs 1.5 million South Africans. Its growth and success is vital to growing our economy and creating jobs for the 36% of South Africans who cannot find work. It is in everyone’s interest that this industry is protected from overbroad and untested job-killing visa regulations.
The DA will continue to do all possible to ensure those responsible for standing up for the industry do and are not allowed to neglect their mandate.
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SA Tourism, the entity responsible for marketing South Africa as a domestic and international destination is going to be extensively reviewed, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom has said.
SAnews.gov reports Hanekom has appointed a ministerial committee to review SA Tourism’s institutional alignment and strategic focus in the context of the broader public and private sector landscape for tourism marketing and tourism sector governance.
“The tourism sector operates in a dynamic and constantly changing environment. Technology is developing rapidly and is changing the way that we communicate and market ourselves, consumer preferences are evolving, and source markets are shifting,” Hanekom said.
“Continual change in the operating and market environment requires us to review how effective our organisational structures are to deliver against their mandates,” he said.
According to the report, tourism has been identified as a key sector with the potential to contribute to economic growth and sustainable employment in the National Development Plan.
Several tourism, marketing and governance experts are part of the review team:
• Mr Valli Moosa (Chairperson)
• Dr Crispin Olver (Deputy Chairperson)
• Mr Mavuso Msimang
• Ms Kate Rivett Carnac
• Dr Tanya Abrahamse
• Ms Nunu Tshingila-Njeke
• Ms Jeanine Pires
The panel’s analysis will include “a study of international best practice that guides tourism governance and marketing; the division of roles between national tourism administrations and destination marketing organisations, and key performance indicators of comparable destination marketing organisations”.
The review is expected to be completed by the end of April 2015. This will precede the appointment of a new Board which will assume duty on 1 June 2015.
Source: Traveller 24
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