Committee Reports on Tourism Department Budget & Tourism Summit; Committee Programme

Committee: Tourism

Chairperson: Mr D Gamede (ANC, KZN)

Date of Meeting: 11 Apr 2011

Summary

The Office of the House Chairperson was encouraging Members to attend the National Assembly mini-sittings known as Extended Public Committees (EPCs) which were debating and approving the budget votes for each department. This request would affect second term committee programmes as the EPCs this year clashed with normal committee meeting schedules. The Chairperson stated that the decision about the scheduling of EPCs lay with the Chief Whips Forum. The current schedule of EPCs was influenced by the upcoming local government elections. He noted that oversight visits had been impacted upon by time constraints and the availability of members. Committee members felt the issue of EPCs clashing with committee meetings should be discussed and resolved. Members would be on the losing end if they missed out on either. Members asked the Chairperson to look into the matter but unanimously adopted its Second Term Draft Committee Programme.

The Committee Report on the Tourism Department Budget Vote 35 was unanimously adopted. The Committee Report on the Tourism Summit was not adopted as members agreed that it should be circulated to stakeholders that had attended the Tourism Summit for comment. Thereafter these comments would be considered and Report would be adopted by the Committee. The Committee was invited by the Minister to attend a Tourism Indaba held from the 6-11 May 2011.


Minutes

Committee Programme for the second term: 12 April – 1 July 2011
The Chairperson placed the Second Term Draft Committee Programme before the Committee for consideration.

The Committee Secretary referred members to a document from the Office of the House Chairperson, Mr Cedric Frolick, which had a bearing on the Second Term Draft Committee Programme. He pointed out that the House Chairperson was encouraging members to participate in the Extended Public Committees (EPCs). Parliamentary Committees which did not have urgent matters or legislation to deal with were urged to participate in the EPCs.

Ms M Njobe (COPE) agreed that issues dealt with in EPCs were important to all Members of Parliament. She stressed that in the past committee meetings had not clashed with EPCs as they now did. It was concerning as members had to choose whether to attend committee meetings or EPCs. She hoped that the Chairperson could look into the matter. If her meeting schedule per week had not been hectic as it was, she would have gladly attended EPCs. The Second Term Draft Committee Programme also did not reflect an oversight visit to the North West Province which she thought the Committee had agreed to undertake. More frequent interaction with stakeholders at grassroots level was something that the Committee should strive for.

The Chairperson stated that the decision about the scheduling of EPCs lay with the Chief Whips Forum. The current schedule of EPCs was influenced by the upcoming local government elections. He noted that oversight visits had been impacted upon by time constraints and the availability of members. All members wished to interact more with stakeholders at grassroots level.

Ms C Zikalala (IFP) also felt that the issue of EPCs clashing with committee meetings should be discussed and resolved. Members would be on the losing end if it missed out on either. She stated that in order for members to address the issue of boosting domestic tourism, oversight visits needed to be undertaken. She asked why more oversight visits were not undertaken by the Committee. The Committee should not wait on the Department of Tourism to dictate its course. Oversight visits would shed light on what needed to be done by the Department. She was however aware that the Committee had budgetary constraints.

The Chairperson stated that it was evident how the Committee felt about the importance of attending EPCs. Many of the issues raised in EPCs were often issues that members were questioned on in their constituencies. There would be instances where EPCs clashed with committee meetings and the simple fact of the matter was that members had to make a choice on which to attend, committee meetings or EPCs.

The Committee unanimously adopted the Second Term Draft Committee Programme.

Committee Report on Budget Vote 35
The Report was placed before the Committee for consideration. The Chairperson made specific reference to the key issues and recommendations identified in the Report. Some of the key issues for the Committee were the challenge of rural tourism development, compliance with gazetted sector codes, non-implementation of Department frameworks and strategies and also the issue of unilateral travel taxes by European countries. Recommendations made by the Committee include that the Department should come up with a clear strategy to boost domestic tourism, that the Department should double its efforts to encourage private-public partnerships and that the tourism budget which was insufficient should be increased

Ms Njobe felt the Report to be good and stated that nothing needed to be changed in it.

The Committee Report was unanimously adopted unamended.

Committee Report on the Tourism Summit
The Chairperson placed the Report before the Committee for consideration. The Report essentially summarised what happened at the Tourism Summit. He felt that SA had not used the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament optimally in promoting Brand SA as a tourist destination. He asked the Committee how it felt over tourism summits and how often the Committee should host them.

Ms Manganye (ANC) suggested that a tourism summit be held annually.

Ms X Makasi (ANC) agreed with the suggestion.

Mr G Krumbock (DA) stated that it was not about the frequency of tourism summits but rather how the Committee could maximise what was done at a summit. He suggested that a tourism summit could be held once every two years with greater interaction taking place between participants over a period of three days. Having a tourism summit every year was a costly exercise. The tourism summit should not be rushed through. A tourism summit should be a regular event.

Ms Njobe also felt that a yearly tourism summit was too frequent. Cost and time were factors that needed to be taken into consideration. Given that the Committee’s term in Parliament was five years, she suggested two tourism summits per parliamentary term. In other words two summits over the space of five years. She stated that it was evident the idea of tourism summits was well accepted by members.

Mr L Khorai (ANC) stated that the Committee in principle was in favour of tourism summits. The issue was about logistical constraints such as time and cost.

The Chairperson said that many of the Tourism Summit’s participants had enjoyed the interaction that had taken place. Many things had been cleared up. Participants also better understood what the role of the Committee was. Of great importance was that persons that normally found themselves on the research side of things had the opportunity to interact with persons working at grassroots level. He would have liked the Department of Home Affairs to have participated in the Tourism Summit as many issues fell within the sphere of Home Affairs. For example, they could have shed light on travel visas. It was also felt that the Department of Transport did not elaborate much on its role in facilitating tourism. The Department of Sports had quite a number of events and conferences lined up in the near future. The Summit had also encouraged greater co-operation between parliamentary committees and many now better understood what tourism was all about. He suggested that the Committee elicit responses from participants over what was contained in the Committee’s Draft Report. They could comment or make inputs.

The Committee Secretary suggested two options. The first would be to circulate the Committee’s Draft Report to stakeholders who had participated in the Summit for comment and thereafter submit it to Parliament. The second option was to circulate the Committee’s Draft Report to stakeholders and to Parliament at the same time. The Committee was asked to make a decision between the two options. He also asked that, once adopted, the Department should be asked to respond to issues raised in the Report within a given timeframe.

Mr Krumbock preferred the first option of first circulating the Report to stakeholders for comment and thereafter sending the Report to Parliament. He referred to the final recommendations being included in the Report and asked what force these would have. Some recommendations were good whereas others were not so good. No formal resolutions had been adopted regarding the Report.

The Chairperson stated that the Report would be sent to stakeholders for comment first, thereafter it would be sent to Parliament. He suggested that stakeholders be given 60 days to make comments. Thereafter the Committee would formally consider the comments made on the Report and adopt it.

The Committee agreed.

Committee minutes
The Committee unanimously adopted minutes dated the 8 and 15 February 2011. Minutes dated the 22 February 2011 were adopted as amended. Members also unanimously adopted minutes dated 8, 15, 22, and 29 March 2011.

Ministerial invite to Tourism Indaba
The Chairperson stated that the Minister had invited the Committee to a Tourism Indaba which was to take place from the 6-11 May 2011. The Indaba was scheduled the week before the upcoming local government elections. He stated that he was awaiting a response from the Chief Whip on whether the Committee could attend the Indaba but he would not be surprised if the request by the Committee to attend would be denied.

The Chairperson informed the Committee that the Budget Vote debate was scheduled for the 20 April 2011.

The meeting was adjourned.