National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS): Department of Tourism briefing

Committee: Tourism

Chairperson: Ms D Gumede (ANC)

Date of Meeting: 29 Aug 2011

Summary

The national Department of Tourism briefed the Committee on progress on the implementation of its National Tourism Sector Strategy. The delivery mechanism for the Strategy was the National Stakeholder Forum and it was launched on 29 June 2011. It resulted in a process of alignment between Government and the private sector. The Strategy's actions were identified for the short, medium and long term. Monitoring and evaluation would be done by cluster sub committees which were currently being constituted. There was also a monitoring and evaluation matrix in place. The matrix set out indicators, targets, sub-indicators and targets, the institution responsible for reporting, the source for verification and the frequency of reporting.

The Strategy implementation delivery mechanism structural arrangement came about as a result of extensive long debate between all stakeholders and a compromise by all. Short term Strategy actions identified were already being implemented through the Annual Performance Plan of the Department and South Africa Tourism as well as Ministers and Members of the Executive Councils Interprovincial Steering Committee Working Groups and sector sub forums. The progress reports to cluster sub-committee meetings and the National Tourism Stakeholder Forum were scheduled for September and October 2011 respectively. Sector sub-forum meetings were underway to prioritise activities, identify representatives for cluster sub-committees and prepare reports in line with the monitoring and evaluation matrix. Knowledge group, business and communicators sector sub-forums had already met. Cluster sub-committees were scheduled to meet in September 2011 on progress on implementation of Strategy actions identified. The National Tourism Stakeholder Forum was scheduled to meet in October 2011.

There was an overall feeling by the Committee that the briefing was a bit scant. No timeframes for programmes were given and information on actual deliverables by the Strategy thus far was not evident from the briefing. The Strategy was at the present point in time more or less at its beginning stages and more time was needed in order to gage its impact. The Chairperson suggested that the Committee receive a briefing within a year’s time to check on progress made.

The impact of tourism on rural development was important to Members. Accelerated growth, jobs and sustainable livelihoods were important issues for the Committee as far as rural development was concerned. These issues should be borne in mind when the Department put Strategy programmes in place. Domestic tourism was another issue the Committee felt strongly about. The Department was in the process of developing a Domestic Tourism Strategy. The Strategy would consider ways of boosting domestic tourism.  A draft for a Rural Development Strategy was also in place.



Minutes

National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS): Department of Tourism briefing
The national Department of Tourism (the Department) briefed the Committee on its National Tourism Sector Strategy. The briefing was undertaken by Ms Modjadji Alidia Seabi, Chief Director: Policy Development and Evaluation. The purpose of the briefing was to inform Parliament on progress on the implementation of the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS). The strategic objectives of the NTSS comprised of three themes.

Theme 1 (tourism and the economy)
Amongst its aims was to grow the tourism sector’s absolute contribution to the economy and to provide excellent people development and decent work within the tourism sector.

Theme 2 (visitor experience and the brand)
To deliver a world class visitor experience and to entrench a tourism culture amongst South Africans was one of its aims.

Theme 3 (sustainability and good governance)
A further aim was to achieve transformation within the tourism sector, to unlock local government tourism economic development potential and to address the issue of geographic, seasonal and rural spread.

Ms Seabi continued by explaining the progress on the implementation of the NTSS. The delivery mechanism was the National Stakeholder Forum and it was launched on the 29 June 2011. It resulted in a process of alignment between Government and the private sector. The NTSS actions were identified for the short, medium and long term. The actions were for Ministers and Members of the Executive Councils Interprovincial Steering Committee (MIPTECH) Working Groups (national and provincial level implementation) and for the Business, Knowledge and Communicators Forum. Monitoring and evaluation would be done by the cluster sub-committees which were currently being constituted. There was also a monitoring and evaluation matrix in place. The matrix set out indicators, targets, sub-indicators and targets, the institution responsible for reporting, the source for verification and the frequency of reporting.

She outlined the NTSS Implementation delivery mechanism structural arrangement by way of a diagram. It consisted of delivery sector sub-forums which were the main implementers. The sub-forums consisted of business, government, knowledge, labour, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community-based organisations (CBOs) and communicators. These sub-forums reported to monitoring cluster sub-committees. The monitoring cluster sub-committees had four strategic themes. Each strategic theme consisted of a thrust, the actions to be taken, and the appropriate sector sub-forum. The first strategic theme was policy, strategy, regulations, governance and monitoring & evaluation. The second was tourism growth and development (demand and supply). The third was people development and the fourth theme was enablers. She stated that currently the monitoring cluster sub-committees were being formed. The monitoring cluster sub-committees met at the National Tourism Stakeholder Forum (NTSF).

The NTSS Implementation delivery mechanism structural arrangement came about as a result of extensive long debate between all stakeholders and a compromise by all. Short term NTSS actions identified were already being implemented through the Annual Performance Plan of the Department and South Africa (SA) Tourism as well as MIPTECH Working Groups and sector sub-forums. The progress reports to cluster sub-committee meetings and the National Stakeholder Forum were scheduled for September and October 2011 respectively. Sector sub-forum meetings were underway to prioritise activities, identify representatives for cluster sub committees and prepare reports in line with the monitoring and evaluation matrix. Knowledge group, business and communicators sector sub-forums had already met. Cluster sub-committees were scheduled to meet in September 2011 on progress on implementation of NTSS actions identified. The National Tourism Stakeholder Forum was scheduled to meet in October 2011.

Discussion
The Chairperson asked Ms Seabi to speak about jobs and sustainability.

Ms Seabi stated that in terms of jobs, rallying of stakeholders was taking place. The Department had come up with a model for jobs created or to be created. The Department had met with National Treasury and the International Monetary Fund to do benchmarking and to put a model in place. Buy-in from stakeholders like the provinces was needed.

Ms V Bam-Mugwanya (ANC) stated that she did not notice any timeframes given during the briefing in order to check whether the NTSS implementation was on schedule. When would jobs be created? What was the direction being taken? She asked that, if the knowledge group had already met, what the outcome was. How was progress being measured?

The Chairperson asked what the date for the launch of the NTSS was. He felt that timeframes on enablers and other aspects were important.
 
Ms Seabi responded that the launch had taken place in June 2011. The process had been started in order to bring stakeholders onboard. Urgent issues had to be prioritised. The monitoring wing of the NTSS would keep a check on progress.

Ms M Njobe (COPE) felt the briefing document to be light and that it could have been more comprehensive. The Committee needed something more analytical. The briefing spoke more towards what was still being done. She noted that the Committee’s parliamentary term had already reached its halfway point and that there was only two and a half years left. The progress on implementation seemed slow. The presentation was very vague. It was too generalised and the consequence was that Members found it difficult to ask questions on it.

Ms C Zikalala (IFP) referred to the geographical, seasonal and rural spread of the NTSS and stated that in KwaZulu-Natal the focus was more on places like Durban, Umhlanga Rocks and Umhlanga Ridge as far as tourism was concerned. Rural areas in KwaZulu-Natal were forgotten and not regarded as tourist attractions. She felt that the Zulu Kingdom had many things to offer to tourists. There were places of interest and traditional activities which tourists could experience. In SA, tourism still only focused on the same tourist attractions. For example in Cape Town the main tourist attractions were the Waterfront, Robben Island and Table Mountain. What about places like the Eastern Cape and Transkei where poverty was rife? Tourism in these areas should be encouraged.

The Department intended to boost domestic tourism by way of increasing foreign visitor arrivals. The problem was that the increase in foreign tourists held no benefit for rural areas. Tourists hardly visited rural areas. Tourism generated a great deal of revenue and it could help alleviate poverty in rural areas.
She also felt the presentation to be too scant.

Ms Seabi noted that the Department was in the process of developing a Domestic Tourism Strategy. The Strategy would consider ways of boosting domestic tourism.  A draft for a Rural Development Strategy was also in place. The Department was considering the various stakeholders. She pointed out that after September 2011 there would be a more consolidated programme. By the end of 2011 there would be a Rural Development Strategy in place. There was a dedicated approach. Research had shown that internationally domestic tourism was doing well and had huge potential. The Strategy would set out how rural people would benefit.
 
Ms X Makasi (ANC) was a bit disappointed in that the NTSS was not doing enough to help bolster tourism in rural areas. How then were rural areas to develop? What was going to be done to attract tourists to rural areas? The projects outlined by the Department seemed to be benefiting the haves and not the have-nots. How were the projects to benefit rural areas? The strategies did not help the poor in rural areas.

The Chairperson pointed out that it was important for the Committee to hear about linkages with provinces and municipalities. He referred to smaller municipalities and smaller towns and asked how the NTSS would be benefiting them. The bigger municipal metros were well resourced. The issue was about alignment and support to smaller industries. Smaller businesses complained that there was no support from the Department. He envisaged the role of the  NTSS to identify problems, conduct research and come up with some form of action.

Reference had been made to mega events and he asked how they tied in with the NTSS. What events were there planned? Was the Department working with departments like the Department of Sport and Recreation? He also asked whether relationships with countries like China, Brazil and India were exploited in terms of tourism benefits. Were relationships with African countries also optimised? Were all these relationships taken onboard in the NTSS?

Ms Seabi responded that, as far as linkages with provinces were concerned, the Department was working with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), the Department of Co-operative Governance (DoCG) and the Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA) and the Working Group. The Department was linked to provinces and local government on issues of tourism growth and support programmes.
 
Ms Seabi conceded that it was true that the NTSS was only being initiated but that things were being done. Soon progress on the NTSS would be presented to MINMEC. The Tourism Enterprise Programme was in place to support small industries. The idea was to ensure a fair spread and access. The issue of business events had been handed over to SA Tourism for dealing with the National Communication Bureau. She agreed to get progress on the issue and communicate the result to the Committee.

The Chairperson felt it best that the Committee had another interaction with the Department on the NTSS after a year in order to check on the impact that the NTSS had made. The briefing document was fairly scant. How come Parliament was not considered as one of the stakeholders regarding the NTSS? Accelerated growth, jobs and sustainable livelihoods were important issues for the Committee as far as rural development was concerned. These issues should be borne in mind when the Department put NTSS programmes in place. The Committee was well aware that there were challenges in transformation but nevertheless wished to see progress. The developmental potential of tourism also needed to be looked at. There should be responsible tourism by stakeholders and geographic spread should be considered. The issue of road signage and better condition of roads to tourist attractions had also to be taken into consideration by the Department. For example in the Eastern Cape some of the roads to tourist attractions were in a terrible state. Municipal Infrastructure Grants should be allocated towards tourism. Integrated Development Plans also had to take tourism into account.

Ms Bam-Mugwanya stated that synergies between the three spheres of Government should also be checked. She stated that the Committee should note progress made and not probe progress.

Ms Seabi acknowledged that reporting to the Committee needed to be useful to Members so that oversight could be done properly. Members had to ensure that the Department’s targets were in line with national priorities. Tourism was one of six pillars of growth in South Africa.

Committee Minutes: adoption
The Committee adopted, with amendments, the minutes of 16 and 23 August 2011. 

The meeting was adjourned.