The Department of Tourism briefed Members on the alignment and integration of tourism by all spheres of Government and on the improvement of intergovernmental relations in tourism, with reference to the overarching mandate, issues on research and information and the National Department of Tourism’s role therein, marketing and planning and budgeting strategies, and skills, policy, product and enterprise development. A few gaps were noted, including the current budget structure, national registers and the impact of by-laws. As to a way forward, the Department had implemented the National Tourism Statistics System.
Members were concerned about smaller geographically and environmentally interesting places that were not promoted by the tourism industry. The Department replied that it was not a matter of whether or not there was promotion of tourism but that it was the personal choice of tourists where they intended to travel. It was not the demographics that made the difference but a personal choice. The issue of an integrated approach and a broader government type cluster approach was emphasized. It was agreed that local or internal tourism was vital. The role of the South African Local Government Association was noted. The South African Local Government Association had the infrastructure to draw together municipalities and that helped with the Department's integrated approach. Members were also concerned about the exorbitant local flight tariff plans. The Department agreed that local tariffs were very high and that engagement with the stakeholders was necessary. Members were further concerned about skills development in the tourism industry. The Department confirmed that it was in the process of improving skills development by training South African youth as chefs.
The Committee adopted its draft programme for the first term provisionally.
Department of Tourism on the alignment and integration of tourism by all spheres of Government and improving governmental relations in tourism. Briefing
Mr Victor Tharage, Deputy Director-General (DDG), Policy, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, Department of Tourism, briefed Members on the alignment and integration of tourism by all spheres of Government. The presentation also pertained to the improvement of intergovernmental relations in tourism.
Mr Tharage tabled the National Department of Tourism (NDT)'s overarching mandate to the Select Committee. In terms of the overarching mandate, reference was made to the South African Constitution, the White Paper on the Development and Promotion of Tourism, the Tourism Act 1993, the Draft National Tourism Sector Strategy and the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act 2005.
Mr Tharage said that the NDT was responsible for the research and knowledge management framework and that a research technical committee was making provision for alignment. There were national and provincial registers for tourist guides as well as provincial registers for operators in provinces.
In terms of national planning and budgeting, the NDT was responsible for the national strategy as well as participation in the Provincial Growth and Development Plans (PGDS) and the Integrated Development Plan (IDP).
Mr Tharage noted that there was also integration and alignment through the Minister and Members of the Executive Council (MINMEC) and the technical committee.
In terms of marketing the NDT was in partnership with the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (DIRCO).
Locally Recruited Agents (LRA)s were being trained and there had also been training on the South African Tourism (SAT) representation.
The NDT was also working with the Government Communication Information Systems (GCIS) in relation to communication.
Mr Tharage tabled issues relating to the NDT's transformation and people development initiative. Regarding enterprise development, the NDT had social responsibility projects as well as a tourism enterprise partnership. There was also a Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) scheme. There was a national grading system in terms of quality assurance and local government was responsible for the maintenance of health, safety and public infrastructure. The NDT was also developing national policies and by-laws had also impacted greatly in terms of policy development.
Mr Tharage tabled product development in all the three spheres of Government. He highlighted all the sphere's functions and what provision needed to be made. There were at present gaps in the budget structure and tourism cluster in governmental departments. There was a gap with regards to the National registers and the NDT's participation in the dti incentive scheme. The NDT sought progress in the future with the implementation of the National Tourism Statistics System (NTSS) as well as the alignment with the NTSS.
Mr B Mnguni (ANC,
He wanted to know if the NDT had a plan to promote tourism in the smaller areas.
Mr Tharage noted that the silo approach was perpetuated from time to time but that the NDT was looking at an integrated approach in essence, hence promoting tourism in the smaller areas. He said that tourism was not necessarily a choice made due to demographics but that it was a personal choice.
Ms E van Lingen (DA,
Ms Van Lingen referred to provincial registers and the district municipality website. She noted that funding followed function. She said that there were rumours that the district government might fall away.
She said that with regard to clusters and local government that the NDT needed to include the Department of Transport in the clusters as there were beautiful places in
Mr Tharage said that the NDT was in favour of that opinion and that the solution was to have a broader government cluster type arrangement where discussions could take place.
Ms Van Lingen wanted to know why the NDT needed to contact municipalities via the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). She saw no reasoning behind that.
Mr Tharage replied that SALGA had the infrastructure to draw municipalities together. He said that with the national plan, if the input was invaluable, that depended on the level of co-ordination.
Ms Van Lingen wanted to know what the relationship was between the NDT and SANParks.
Mr Tharage noted that it was a customary marriage. He added that SANParks was an entity of the Department of Environmental Affairs and that that Minister was responsible for that entity. He said that SANParks was a conservation agency that used tourism as a conservation strategy.
Mr Tharage said that the NDT's expectation from SANParks was that if there was grading at a particular level, then it was necessary to live up to that grade. He added that the NDT had a good relationship with SANParks.
Mr K Sinclair (COPE,
Mr Tharage agreed with Mr Sinclair on the importance of local or internal tourism.
Mr M Maine (ANC,
Mr Tharage said that
Mr Tharage said that The NDT was in the process of training of training South African youth as chefs.
The Chairperson made reference to the
Mr Tharage said that that type of religious tourism was something that needed looking into and that religious tourism was a niche.
The Chairperson emphasized that the NDT needed to utilize the grading facility.
Mr Sinclair was outraged by local flight tariffs. He said that the NDT needed to engage with the relevant companies to address the issue of exorbitant tariffs.
Mr Tharage said that he agreed with Mr Sinclair's sentiments and that the matter needed to be looked into.
Consideration and Adoption of the Committee Programme
Ms Van Lingen sought clarity on whether the agenda for 01-04 February 2011 should be removed.
The Chairperson confirmed that it was to be deleted.
Ms M Dikgale (ANC, Limpopo) wanted to know when the Select Committee was visiting
Mr F Adams (ANC, Western Cape) noted that the last line in the programme on 21 March 2011 regarding the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) provincial week should read as Monday and not as Wednesday as on the draft programme.
Ms Van Lingen, with regard to the adoption of minutes and reports as stipulated in the programme for 09 May 2011, suggested that the minutes be adopted on a more regular basis so as to prevent an accumulation of minutes.
The Chairperson agreed and suggested a minimum time span of two week for adoptions.
Committee members noted that the meeting scheduled for 09 February 2011 was in a direct clash with another meeting.
The Chairperson acknowledged the clash.
Mr Mnguni proposed the adoption of the Committee Programme.
The programme was adopted provisionally.
The meeting was adjourned.
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