Update on the International Study Tour to Mexico; Committee First-Term Programme for 2012
Chairperson: Mr D Gumede (ANC)
Date of Meeting: 17 January 2012
The Committee discussed its first-term programme. Members hoped the programme would avoid unnecessary clashes with other committees as this was quite frustrating. They thought it would be helpful if the Committee drew up a list of three or four issues Members wanted to tackle and brought in the relevant stakeholders to brief the Committee on them.
It was noted that even though tourism figures were increasing compared to the international trend, which was shrinking, the money being spent in the country has not increased to the same extent that tourism has. There was also a concern that the benefits of the tourism sector were not reaching the rural areas and that crimes against tourists were hindering growth in the tourism sector. Members proposed that the relevant stakeholders such as SA Tourism, Federal Hospitality Association of South Africa, and a representative for the Small Medium and Micro Enterprises should be called in to brief the Committee on the current state of the tourism industry. The Committee also thought it would be a good idea to get a briefing from independent entities in the tourism sector so a comparison could be done to what public entities were saying. Despite the increasing numbers of people visiting the country, many tourism businesses were still closing down. It was critical that the Committee hear both government entities and private entities views on the tourism sector. It was decided that these briefings would take place on 25 February and 6 March 2012, which were slots previously allocated for the Committee’s internal matters.
The Committee Secretary reminded the Committee that it had an outstanding oversight visit from the previous year. He advised that the visits Mitchell’s Plain and Manenberg be accommodated in the agenda. Members agreed. They also agreed that the first-term programme had to make room for debates on issues raised in meetings. The Chairperson thought there were certain issues such as the Committee’s concern about crime - particularly in the
Members discussed the upcoming international study tour to
The Committee Secretary informed the Committee that he was waiting for the itinerary, which would show him what the Members would be doing and where they were expected to be. He would ask that Members receive the information by the end of the following day. Also, even though the House Chairperson had approved the study tour, only seven Members would be able to go. Members who did not to
The Chairperson welcomed the Members back to Parliament. He hoped Members were revitalised after their break. He asked the Committee to think of Honourable V Bam-Mugwanya (ANC) as she was still in hospital. He wished her a speedy recovery and suggested that arrangements be made to visit her.
The Chairperson further noted that the start of Parliament signalled the halfway mark for this government’s term. Parliament’s role was to do oversight and it was the Members duty to comment on what they had seen so far. All political parties and other important stakeholders had to do their own assessments as well. It was important to assess government’s performance over the past two and a half years.
Consideration of Committee First-Term Programme
The Chairperson asked Members to look at the draft programme for the first term. He noted that the programme was not set in stone and Members could propose changes if they felt the need to.
Ms M Njobe (COPE) hoped the programme would avoid unnecessary clashes with other committees. For example, she was missing a very important meeting today so she could attend this meeting. It was important that the Committee followed the programme or else there would be clashes with other important meetings, which was very frustrating.
The Chairperson replied that there should not be clashes; however, there were times when other Committees had legislation or urgent matters to discuss. This was unavoidable. He warned the Committee to expect legislation from the Minster for Tourism later this year. He hoped to work this into the programme at a later stage.
Mr G Krumbock (DA) noted that nothing seemed to be out of place with the draft programme. He thought it would be helpful, given that it was halfway through government’s term of office, if the Committee drew up a list of three or four issues the Members wanted to tackle and brought in the relevant stakeholders to brief the Committee on them. Even though tourism figures were increasing compared to the international trend, which was shrinking, the money being spent in the country had not gone up to the same extent that tourism had. The country was not seeing the full benefit of the increased numbers. The Committee had to ask SA Tourism what they were going to do about this in light of the global recession and deepening crisis in the Euro-zone. It was critical to look at how tourists could be encouraged to spend more Euros or Dollars in
The Chairperson asked where Mr Krumbock had received his figures from regarding the money being spent in the country.
Mr Krumbock replied that the information had been taken from the last presentation made by SA Tourism. The numbers had been pleasing but the report showed that the lengths of stays were shortening. Although the number of tourists was increasing, the money being spent in the country was not matching it. The question was how the government could get more people here who would spend more money, creating employment for South Africans.
The Chairperson responded that the low amount of money being spent could also he attributed to the current economic downturn, particularly from the European and American sides. However, it was still a challenge to get tourists to spend more money.
Ms Njobe agreed with Mr Krumbock’s suggestion to make a list of issues that concerned Members. The Committee could look for space in the programme to focus on those issues. She wondered if it was possible to get an analysis of the sector from an independent entity in the industry. This could be compared to information taken from government entities in the sector. She noted that the issue of crimes against tourists were quite disturbing. Relevant stakeholders in the tourism industry were worried about the impact it had on the image of the country. The Committee had to see that enough was being done in certain areas to ensure that tourists were protected.
Mr Krumbock agreed with Ms Njobe. One of the issues that worried him was that despite the increasing numbers of people visiting the country, many tourism businesses were still closing down. It was critical that the Committee heard from both government entities and private entities on this matter. The Committee needed to investigate and find out what was going on.
The Chairperson said that it was a pity that there were so many crimes against tourists in certain areas. He thought it was important for the community to work with police, particularly the councils and tourism institutions. He agreed it was important for both public institutions and private ones in the tourism sector to make inputs on the sector. The Committee had to ask SA Tourism, Federal Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa), and a representative for the Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) to provide statistics and information on the industry. This would be useful as an oversight tool. The Committee would have to find a gap in the programme to accommodate this meeting.
Mr Jerry Boltina, Committee Secretary, informed Members that Parliament’s first tern would run from 17 January – 23 March 2012. He further noted the agenda for today’s meeting was to look at the draft programme. From next week, 23-27 January 2012, the Committee would be out of the country visiting
The Chairperson asked the Committee to focus their attention on the draft Programme. He asked Members to look at the item on the programme for 31 January to 3 February 2012.
Mr Boltina explained that Members were asked by Parliament to set aside those days for Members training. He did not know how the training had been designed but he was sure the House Chairperson would have more information. However, Committees had been told not to meet at all during those times.
Mr Boltina further reminded the Committee that it had an outstanding oversight visit that it was supposed to undertake to Mitchell’s Plain and Manenberg some time last year. He proposed that Members reintroduce this on the agenda.
The Chairperson said that it was important that the Committee also have a look at small businesses in tourism and whether there was cooperation between big businesses and small businesses.
Mr Boltina said that the State of the Nation Address (SONA) would take place on 9 February 2012 at 7pm. The following week, on 14 and 15 February, Parliament would be debating the SONA and the President’s reply would be made on 16 February. Tuesday, 21 February was left open so the Committee could deal with internal matters such as reports, minutes or other matters that needed the attention of the Committee. The budget speech would be taking place on 22 February, where the Minister of Finance would be tabling the Division of Revenue Bill, the Appropriations Bill and the Fiscal Framework. The Committee was supposed to have a presentation last year from the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI). The meeting should have taken place last year but because of certain issues, it had to be deferred to early this year. This should take place around 28 February. The 6 March was kept open to deal with internal matters of the Committee. SA Tourism was expected to brief the Committee on 13 March on their budget and strategic plans, and the Department of Tourism was expected to present to the Committee the following week. The Committee’s programme would end on 20 March 2012. Thereafter, there would be a constituency period.
Mr Krumbock said that it seemed that virtually every week was “taken up”. It was important to consider minutes and reports, but wondered if it was necessary to take an entire morning to assess them. Members should read the minutes before the meeting, which meant that meetings should only last fifteen minutes. He thought the Committee should give taxpayers value for their money by not spending an entire morning assessing and approving minutes. He thought perhaps they could slot in a meeting with one of the industry’s role-players within the first term.
Ms J Maluleke (ANC) agreed with Mr Krumbock saying that the Committee could not put aside an entire morning to look at one or two minutes or reports. This time had to be used for other things.
Mr L Gaehler (UDM) stated that he was from the
The Chairperson stated that police worked hard in certain areas and then poorly in others. Some districts were better managed than others. It seemed to be a district issue. It was important for Members and other organisations to meet with the police ands tell them the concerns. The point was that crime was hindering tourism. It was imperative that the Committee received an informed input from public and private entities in the sector. He thought it was possible to accommodate the minutes; however, Members had to read them ahead of time and raise issues if necessary. It was also important for the Committee to have debates on matters raised in meetings. He asked if this would cause any problems with the programme.
Mr Boltina replied that it would not cause any problems. He asked if the Committee was fine with spreading the meetings with the industry players on 25 February and 6 March 2012.
The Chairperson said he would have liked for all the industry players to be under one roof on the same day in case there were any disputes. However, if this was impossible then he did not mind having the meetings on two days. He said would discuss it in the management committee meeting the next day and decide.
Ms C Zikalala (IFP) wondered how the
The Chairperson stated that he thought tourism and heritage had to fall under the same department because the two seemed to be inter-related.
The Chairperson thought there were certain issues such as the Committee’s concern about crime - particularly in the
Mr Krumbock added that what appeared to have happened was a change in behaviour. That particular beach had always been safe. The shark was a Zambezi shark, which was the same type of shark that attacked people in
The Chairperson asked if nets could be used to keep sharks out.
Mr Krumbock replied that the horrifying thing was that more sharks got caught in nets while trying to get away from the beach rather than swimming towards it. Also, dolphins and other aquatic life were likely to get caught in the nets as well. Nets were not fool-proof. Rather than netting off a beach, it was safer not to swim there at all.
The Chairperson noted that there were problems in the
Ms Njobe agreed that there should be a balance between the conservationists and the communities. However, people have upset the balance of nature by being impatient, as humans had not allowed nature to balance itself out as it usually would.
The Chairperson gave Members a comfort break after which they would discuss the upcoming study tour to
Update on Study Tour to
The Chairperson noted that there had been recent developments in
The Chairperson stated that the objective of the visit was to look at the PPPs in
Mr Krumbock said that it was important to approach the visit in line with the Committee’s own programmes. He noted that it was likely that
The Chairperson agreed, adding that they could look at how
Ms Zikalala added that it was a pity that Parliament did not have more money for the Committee to do more oversight. Members of the Tourism Committee had to be out in the country talking to the people. She noted that it was not too expensive to travel around the
The Chairperson agreed that it was not expensive to travel around the
Mr Boltina informed the Committee that the House Chairperson had approved the study tour, however only seven Members would be allowed to go on the trip. The remaining Members would be allowed to go on the Committee’s next study tour possibly later in the year. He told the Committee that he was still awaiting the itinerary from officials in
The Chairperson asked if Members needed immunisations.
Mr Boltina answered that since the Members were flying through
The Chairperson asked what protocols the Members should follow. How should Members dress? What should and shouldn’t they do to avoid offending Mexican officials?
The Committee Secretary replied that he was waiting for the itinerary, which would show him what the Members would be doing and where they were expected to be. He would ask that Members received the information by the end of the following day.
The Chairperson thanked Members. The meeting was adjourned.
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