The Department of Tourism was established in July 2009, necessitating the development of an overall strategy – the National Tourism Sector Strategy – to drive and provide a focus for the tourism industry throughout the country, across all the provinces. The National Tourism Sector Strategy was to be a strategic framework that included guiding principles, strategic objectives and targets, strategic thrusts / focus areas, and actions / interventions. It was to have an institutional structure, and to set out responsibilities and budgets, and ways of monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the strategy. Responsible growth objectives were defined, namely, to grow the travel and tourism sector’s absolute contribution to GDP by more than the average GDP growth; to achieve transformation within the sector; to provide excellent people development and decent work; to entrench a culture of travel among South Africans; to deliver a world-class visitor experience; and to address the issue of geographic, seasonal and rural spread.
The main objective of the National Tourism Sector Strategy was to increase GDP and jobs. For this objective to be realised, there would have to be a significant increase in the number of tourists, foreign and local, visiting the country, along with increased investment in tourism. Figures were presented, showing how tourism’s direct contribution to GDP and the number of jobs in the tourism sector were expected to increase by 2015. Members voiced their concern over the Department’s ability to deliver on its projections, given that staff vacancies persisted. Co-operation between various government departments was poor and much more needed to be done on that front. Problems affecting skills development and training in the sector were discussed.
The Chairperson started the meeting by listing the most important and relevant issues affecting tourism, namely, inclusive growth, rural development, jobs and sustainable livelihoods, the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), training within the tourism industry, the institutional readiness of the tourism sector in terms of capacity and financial management, 2010 readiness, legacy, and sanitation.
National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS)
The National Department of Tourism briefed the Committee on the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS). Mr Victor Tharage, Chief Director: Business Performance Management, said that the NTSS covered everyone’s responsibility. It was the work done by the tourism industry, the provinces and local government. Ms Aneme Malan, Acting Deputy Director General: Tourism Policy, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, presented the briefing. Ms B Seti, Acting Deputy Director General: Tourism Growth, and Ms B Masupye, Chief Director: Transformation, were also present.
The National Department of Tourism (NTD) was established in July 2009. This necessitated the development of an overall strategy – the National Tourism Sector Strategy – to drive and provide a focus for the tourism industry. The Minister of Tourism appointed a panel of experts in July 2009 to develop the NTSS. On 10 December 2009, the Draft NTSS was presented to the Minister and Deputy Minister of Tourism. The final draft of the NTSS was submitted to the Department of Tourism on 20 January 2010. The consultative process that followed included Ministerial ‘roadshows’ and workshops. The strategic framework of the NTSS included guiding principles, strategic objectives and targets, strategic thrusts or focus areas, and actions or interventions. The NTSS was to have an institutional structure, and to set out responsibilities and budgets, as well as ways of monitoring the implementation of the strategy. Responsible growth objectives were identified, namely, to grow the travel and tourism sector’s absolute contribution to GDP by more than the average GDP growth; to achieve transformation within the travel and tourism sector; to provide excellent people development and decent work; to entrench a culture of travel among South Africans; to deliver a world-class visitor experience; and to address the issue of geographic, seasonal and rural spread
The main objective of the NTSS was to increase GDP and jobs. For this objective to be realised, there would have to be a significant increase in the number of tourists, foreign and local, visiting the country, along with increased investment in tourism. It was envisaged that by 2015 some 13,5 million tourists annually would visit South Africa, 10 million from Africa, and the remaining 3,5 million from the rest of the world. By 2015, 45,5 million trips would be undertaken by 55 per cent of the domestic population.
Figures projected for 2015 were set alongside existing baseline figures for 2008 for each of the responsible growth objectives. Tourism’s direct contribution to GDP was expected to increase from R64 billion in 2008 to R125 billion in 2015. The number of jobs created through tourism was expected to increase from 575 000 in 2008 to 800 000 in 2015. By 2015, the rate of compliance with the tourism charter was expected to be 70 per cent. In terms of geographic spread, 35 per cent of bednights would be outside the major provinces, whereas the current figure was 27 per cent.
Strategic thrusts or focus areas were identified and prioritised. It was crucial that tourism be prioritised at national government level. Co-ordination between the various government departments was essential and research and information management had to be improved. It was recommended that a dedicated research and knowledge management unit be set up within the NTD to co-ordinate and guide tourism research. As far as the institutional structure of the NTSS was concerned, it was recommended that the NDT should have the main responsibility for implementing the NTSS. Successful implementation of the NTSS depended on proper monitoring and evaluation by the NDT.
The NTSS was to be presented to Cabinet in April 2010. Public comment would be invited between May and July 2010. The final draft would be sent to Cabinet in August 2010.
The Chairperson asked for more information on geographic spread, with specific regard to encouraging business opportunities in provinces other than KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape and Gauteng. What was being done to fill vacancies in the Department? Was there sufficient management capacity? With reference to tourism growth and development, how was demand to be stimulated and how were suppliers to be incentivised? ‘Decent work’ had to be defined. What kinds of jobs were to be created in the rural setup? What types of EPWPs were envisaged? What kinds of skills would emerge from them? What was being done to encourage the formation of partnerships? What were the incentives on offer, and what were the disincentives?
Mr Tharage noted that the NTSS was still in the process of development. Questions asked would inform issues raised in the Strategy. If answers to questions could not be provided in the meeting, written responses would be forwarded to the Committee.
Ms Malan said that in the past efforts had been concentrated mainly on supply. It was necessary to look at demand in relation to supply.
Mr Tharage said that the specific skills picked up from EPWPs depended on the projects. For example, a road-building project would enable a person to acquire road-building skills. There were many benefits to be derived from an EPWP. The Department would have a proper briefing on the EPWP, and this would shed light on what the Department could or could not do. A mentorship programme was in place to facilitate partnerships. Details of the programme would be forwarded to the Committee.
Mr G Krumbock (DA) asked for figures which showed the rand value contribution of tourism to GDP from 1994 to the present. The figures should be in constant rands. In the presentation it was projected that jobs were to increase by 40 per cent and GDP by 10 per cent. People who ran bed and breakfasts usually did the work themselves, so how were so many new jobs to be created? Plans were all good and well, but the acid test was implementation. Pietermaritzburg was in a state of collapse. The National Treasury was in charge of two municipalities. Tourism was non-existent in Pietermaritzburg. Services had come to a halt. Refuse was not being collected. Was the Department liaising with local government about the situation?
Mr Tharage said that the rand value GDP figures would be forwarded to the Committee.
Ms Malan said that rand value figures for GDP were available for 2005; the figures for 2006, 2007 and 2008 would be available in the current financial year. GDP and jobs were expected to grow by one per cent in 2010, and by 1,5 per cent in 2011. Ms Seti pointed out that the Department had developed a tourism planning toolkit for local government in the previous financial year. Implementation was now to take place. The toolkit would add value.
Mr Tharage referred to interdepartmental co-ordination and said that there would be alignment with the provinces as well. Work was being done with National Treasury. It was unfortunate that municipalities could not all be assisted at the same time. The idea was to get everyone on board.
He said the NTSS had a framework for implementation. The question was how to ensure that other partners took responsibility for their particular areas. Provinces had their role, as did the private sector.
Ms M Schinn (DA) asked how the number of African tourists was to be increased to 10 million by 2015 if the current number was only half that. Why was registration to be compulsory within the tourism industry? If there was a refusal to register would places be closed down? Was the envisaged government-subsidised resort chain something along the lines of Aventura, which had been active under apartheid? Was Aventura to be resurrected? Who was to foot the bill?
Ms Malan said that South Africa hoped to attract 15 million visitors per annum by 2015, 10 million of them from Africa.
Ms Masupye said the intention was that, by 2015, 75 per cent of South Africa’s visitors would come from Africa. The potential number of visitors from Africa was huge. It amounted to close on 24 million people. The figure of 10 million had to be viewed as a challenge. Compulsory registration was necessary in order to set up a database. The information was critical to planning.
Mr Tharage said registration would also help the Department to know who the service providers were and allow it to give support where it was needed. Aventura would not be resurrected. It was a policy issue. There was a need for the Government to intervene. Information would be made available in due course.
Ms J Maluleke (ANC) asked how fraud and corruption were to be tackled. How were the youth or new graduates to be enabled? How was the EPWP to be implemented?
Mr Tharage said the focus would be specific when it came to fraud and corruption. The inclusion of the youth or new graduates depended on what tourism could deliver.
Ms J Manganye (ANC), referring to the improvement of community benefits from and participation in tourism that had been identified as one of the strategic thrusts of the NTSS, asked how many people in rural areas had benefited to date.
She wanted to know if South Africa was ready for the World Cup, in terms of safety and security.
Had targets been set for the Ministerial roadshow? Who were the targets? Had the targets been met?
Mr Tharage answered that there was a plan in place for safety and security during the World Cup. The South African Police Service (SAPS) had given the assurance that they were ready and the Department accepted that they were. A tourism awareness strategy was in place.
Ms Seti said the Department had developed a safety awareness strategy. A victim empowerment programme had been derived from the strategy. A tourism safety initiative had been undertaken by the private sector. It collated figures and incidents. The Department had also developed an incident report in collaboration with the SAPS. The idea had already been sold to the industry.
Ms Malan said that the Ministerial roadshow had targeted the captains of industry. Workshops had been held on the NTSS.
Ms M Njobe (ANC) said she had read somewhere that the Department planned to take on 440 personnel. Thus far, it had employed only 200. Was the Department not at a disadvantage in trying to implement the NTSS when there was a serious shortfall in staff numbers? The Department intended to shift the geographic spread of the industry to provinces other than Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Which of these areas was being prioritised? On the topic of skills development and encouraging students to study tourism she asked what was being offered in schools, and what courses were being offered at tertiary level. Was there any correlation between the two? Was the training relevant to the industry? She agreed with the idea of compulsory registration.
Ms Malan referred to the geographic shift in the industry and said that the least-visited provinces – the North-West Province and the Northern Cape – would be given priority. The intention was to increase ‘bednight spend’ by seven per cent over the current average. In Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape and the Free State, ‘bednight spend’ was to be increased by five per cent.
Ms Seti conceded that many people did not regard tourism as offering attractive career opportunities. Working hours were long, the pay was not that great, and career advancement was unpredictable. The Department had taken steps to address the problem by training educators in tourism and the hospitality industry, and in partnership with the private sector would place educators in the industry to gain experience. The annual National Tourism Expo was running for the third year in succession. There seemed to be disjunction between the curriculum taught at schools and that at tertiary level. The Department was working with the Department of Education to address this issue. Young people’s misperceptions had to be changed. The Department planned to have its full complement of staff by the end of the three-year Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period.
The Chairperson made the point that that there was no single ‘brand South Africa’. Cities and provinces created their own branding. Even though different types of tourism could be distinguished – for example business tourism, cultural tourism, or conservation tourism – it was not made clear that each demanded a different approach. What was the impact of the 2010 World Cup on tourism?
Mr Tharage said a review of the current marketing strategies of the various spheres of government was one aspect of the NTSS’s strategic thrusts. The separate spheres of government should not be in competition when the country was marketed abroad.
Ms Masupye said the appointment of a CEO to the IMC would lead to greater brand alignment on international platforms. The most important benefit of hosting the World Cup was that it provided an opportunity for South Africa to present what it had on offer to the rest of the world. It was up to South Africa to decide how best to market itself. There was a huge marketing benefit to be derived from hosting the World Cup, and tourism was the biggest beneficiary.
Mr Krumbock felt that his comment on interdepartmental co-operation and local government had not received sufficient attention. There had been occasions in the past when South Africa had been embarrassed by fans going on the rampage when their teams lost, and destroying stadia while the police looked on and did nothing. This was not an image South Africa could afford to portray to the world.
Mr Tharage said the Department was working with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), but more work needed to be done with both organisations. Greater engagement was taking place on the implementational side than on the developmental side. The Department wanted to be involved when local municipalities were drafting their Integrated Development Plans (IDPs). Work was also being done at provincial level.
Ms C Zikalala (IFP) was concerned that the upliftment of the poor would take a backseat in the process of promoting domestic tourism.
Ms Maluleke asked if the Department still offered internships where people could be placed in municipalities.
Ms Seti responded that the Tourism Human Resource Strategy had been formulated to address the raising of skills. The low intake of students into tourism was being addressed. The Tourism, Hospitality, Sport Education and Training Authority (THETA) offered a graduate development programme. The Department was planning to create internships.
Committee Programme for the Second Term
The Chairperson presented the Second Term Programme to the Committee.
Mr Krumbock said that he did not have a problem with the Programme per se, but questioned what happened after meetings had been concluded. Often, presentations were made and questions asked, but did the Committee really make any change?
More presentations should be made to the Committee by civil society and the private sector. It would be useful to get their perspective on issues. Perhaps it could even assist in resolving the current transportation issue. It was suggested that the South African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) be invited to make a presentation to the Committee.
Ms Schinn agreed that inputs from tourism stakeholders were needed. She recommended that the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, Cape Town Tourism, and Wits University, which was conducting research into the tourism industry, be invited to make presentations to the Committee.
The Committee agreed to invite the organisations mentioned to present to the Committee. Provision was made on the Committee Programme to accommodate them.
The Committee accepted the Programme and the meeting was adjourned.
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