Committee 2nd Tourism Summit: Removing barriers to fulfill the National Development Plan


17 September 2013
Chairperson: Mr D Gumede (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Chairperson explained that the Summit was a Parliamentary event to foster increased coordination and cooperation between various stakeholders in the tourism industry. It aimed to identify and remove barriers to tourism growth to fulfil the National Development Plan (NDP). South Africa experienced 10.2% growth in arrivals, superceding the international 4%, and this was important to increase jobs and resources. Areas cited as requiring attention included challenges in aviation reach and cost, skewed spread of tourism benefits, the need to highlight domestic tourism, and transformation.

The Minister of Tourism, in the keynote address, stressed that strong public/private partnerships were necessary, as well as partnerships with communities. The perception of tourism as elitist must be dispelled. There was a need to look at tourism spend, not just arrivals, and he noted that tourism contributed 9% to GDP, with direct and indirect employment at around 9%. To meet intense rivalry, constant innovation was necessary, and some of the trends and new marketing campaigns were mentioned. The Department of Tourism noted concurrent legislative mandates on tourism, and said the Tourism Intergovernmental Coordination Framework allowed for a nuanced view. Working groups were set up, including research groups, and best practice models were drawn. Collaborative efforts with other structures were outlined. The Local Government Tourism forum noted challenges in bylaws, management of resources, and the need for  better perspectives for tourism growth.

The Content Advisor to the Committee outlined the role of the Portfolio Committee and highlighted its successes in the sector. He noted that challenges included the need to increase tourism budgets to raise the low baseline, infrastructure challenges and the need to match skills with the needs of the industry. There was a need to address fragmentation in marketing, and development of small business.

The National Planning Commission lamented the deterioration of key historical and tourism destinations. It outlined the six pillars of the National Development Plan (NDP) over the next 20 years, and noted that increased job creation could result from tourism, and emphasised the need for collaboration, planning and priority-setting. Spatial planning, land redistribution, safety, elimination of corruption and regional positioning were important.

The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) stressed the close collaboration between arts and tourism, and described some of the attempts to strengthen links. It outlined the work of the DAC, the work on World Heritage Sites, and the proposals for enhancing truthful narratives, training of tour guides, and the possible imposition of a heritage levy, since the DAC could not maintain all sites, alternatively different charges for locals and tourists, and other options than museums. Work on cultural seasons were mentioned.

Members asked about resolutions emanating from Local Government Tourism Conferences, asked whether the NDP and NTSS conflicted, and whether increases in budget were possible, and stakeholders identified the main problem in local government as focus on unreachable targets to the exclusion of dealing with the basics of “crime and grime”. Coordination of transport, especially, was cited, as well as private and public collaboration. Questions were asked on the statistics around the impact of guides and operators, the position of start-up business, difficulties in getting signage erected, street and building name changes, including in Parliament, and the current responsibility for heritage sites.

The briefing by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) referred to poor coordination across government departments. The PICC ensured planning and monitoring of large infrastructure projects. Opportunities were created for poor provinces. Investment in infrastructure was being scaled up. Strategic Infrastructure Projects (SIPs) were discussed. Growth nodes in the country were identified. SIPs were related to human settlement; dams; farming; energy generation; gas and oil; large power projects; household electrification, social infrastructure and rural tourism infrastructure. Members asked a question about job creation for seasonal workers, and it was explained that PICC relied on infrastructure projects to create jobs.

The Department of Cooperative Governance (DCOG) focused on the significance of local government in tourist development. Tourism could drive local development. Local governments had to cooperate with the DCOG and the Department of Tourism to instill confidence in the tourism industry. Local development could provide capacity to local government, and local government could make or break tourism. Again, the need for public/private cooperation was stressed. Challenges included lack of experience and knowledge of tourism at the local level, and lack of human resource capacity. Tourism did not feature in the Integrated Development Plans of municipalities. Members were interested to hear more about the role of small business support. There was concern about lack of capacitated officials at the local level, to deal with tourism. Local governments had to be targeted for strategic interventions and support programmes. The role of the private sector was discussed, as also whether inventories of local tourist attractions were done. Members commented that lack of capacity at local government level, to spend, plan and use resources, was a political problem. There had to be a paradigm shift to spread capacity across sectors.

The briefing by the Department of Environmental Affairs focused on environment interactions. South Africa as a tourist attraction depended on natural beauty, adventure and wildlife. There had to be environmental impact management and key natural tourist attractions had to be protected and enhanced, with minimum disruption of the national environment. Tourist activities had to be aligned with environmental issues. South Africa was a long haul tourist destination, and vulnerable to international responses to carbon footprint issues and climate change. There had to be monitoring of environmental impact, towards the greening of tourism. Members expressed interest in the greening of tourism in alignment with creating tourist friendly destinations. There was concern on the detrimental effects to tourism of heavily polluted industrial areas. It was remarked that local people were not benefiting from tourist activity, and it was stressed that local tourism had to be the anchor. People had to be encouraged to travel in South Africa. South Africa had to benefit from the international air travel boom and scientific advances in aircraft emission control. More resources had to be challenged to domestic tourism.

Meeting report

Opening Remarks
The Chairperson noted apologies of Marius Fransman, Deputy Minister of Tourism, and Sindisiwe Chikunga, Deputy Minister of Transport.

He went on to commend the various stakeholders on their contribution to the growth of tourism. 27 September 2013 was World Tourism Day which was held under the theme: “Tourism and Water, Protecting Our Common Future”. Delegates were urged to be mindful of their roles in that regard. The task cast on the Committee was to review the current position, with a view to optimising oversight while incorporating the inclusive planning advocated by the National Development Plan (NDP). 

He noted that the tourism had outperformed against its global counterparts, with an average growth in arrivals of 10.2%, in comparison to 3.9%. The sustainable livelihoods and jobs that had emerged from this growth were particularly important. Given the voracity of competitors, there was no place for complacency. Objectives of the NDP included creating jobs, improving infrastructure, proper use of resources, improving the quality of education and healthcare, building a capable state and fighting corruption to build a nation with a common purpose. Some of the critical issues on which the NDP success would hinge would be addressed in this Summit.

At the local level, aviation was identified as a challenge, due to high flight costs which discouraged citizens from travelling. Destinations were not properly serviced by airlines, which lead to the unequal development of tourism and the skewed geographical spread of tourism benefits. At the regional and international levels, the summit would address the “open skies” policy and means to eliminate restrictions on access. It would investigate how to bring about the increased use of available frequencies, capacity and compliance with international safety standards, passengers’ freedom rights and flight services by eligible airlines. The implications of the implementation or otherwise of the Yamoussoukro Declaration would also be discussed, to ascertain the country’s relative competitiveness. Overall, collective solutions were to be encouraged and increased collaboration between stakeholders was at the crux.

The Chairperson summarised that historically, more focus was placed on international tourism, so the positive contributions to be made by domestic tourism to sustainable tourism development had not been actualised. The domestic tourism committee would address issues of supply and demand, inculcating a culture of travel among South Africans, and study the provincial distribution of domestic tourists. In addition, the motivation of domestic tourists, expenditure patterns, the total contribution of domestic tourism to the economy, involvement of local communities, Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in tourism, links between tourism and other economic sectors, the impact of local cultural diversity on tourism, impact of tourism on national reconciliation and tourism development with environmental management would also be considered..

Tourism sector codes provided the legal framework on how transformation should be approached. The seven elements on the scorecard determined the BEE status of companies. The Summit would address how far the sector had progressed, and would reflect on best practice.

Minister of Tourism Keynote Address
Mr Marthinus Van Schalkwyk, Minister of Tourism gave the keynote address. He recognised the initiative of the Portfolio Committee in organising the Summit, which was a Parliamentary event inviting participation from government and various stakeholders.

Strong partnerships with the private sector were necessary for the success of the entire tourism sector. Structures were in place, such as South African Tourism with a private sector board. The government’s confidence in the board was illustrated by the annual transfer of R800 million to the board. The private sector was entrusted with, and was successful in marketing the country. The role of government was to ensure the industry was not overregulated and to create certain frameworks. Over the past years stakeholders had agreed with government on the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS). The plan had clear targets, broken down for the purposes of monitoring and evaluation. Partnerships with communities were also important. One identified challenge was the perception of tourism as an elite activity. As in other developing countries, ill-managed tourism led to islands of privilege in a sea of poverty. Initiatives were thus directed at partnering with rural communities.

The industry had grown on a global scale, from 25 million international tourist arrivals in 1950, to 1 billion in 2012. However, it would be misleading to focus solely on arrivals, hence it was important to look at the expenditure. 2012 yielded $1 trillion in terms of spend. As a global sector the industry contributed 9% to global GDP. It was forecasted that by the year 2020 there would be an additional 350 million new arrivals globally, and by 3030 international tourist arrivals would top 1.8 billion, with most of the growth being from emerging markets.

South Africa was also testament to such growth. In 1993 the country received just over 3.4 million international arrivals whereas in 2012, there were 13 million arrivals of which 9.2 million were international tourists. In 2012, the overall year on year international tourist arrivals growth was 10,2% against an average global industry growth of 4%, as reported by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. South Africa had seen particularly good overseas-tourist growth rates. The United Kingdom remained South Africa’s biggest market, and China became the fourth biggest, up from eighth place in the space of two years. South Africa’s tourism satellite account was managed by Statistics South Africa, which measured the tourism sectors impact on the economy. In 2011, direct tourism contribution to GDP increased to R84 billion. At 9% of GDP, tourism’s contribution was larger than some of South Africa’s key industries.

Direct employment in the sector was around 4.5% of overall employment in the country. There was one indirectly created job for every directly created job, therefore tourism indirectly sustained 9% of employment. The sector maintained a positive trade balance.

Innovation for the future was necessary, given the intense rivalry in the global context. In response, differentiation, diversification, focused efforts and alignment were envisioned as part of innovation strategies.

Domestic tourism was a key component, having contributed R101 billion to the economy in 2011. A new marketing campaign was to be launched to reduce information and cost barriers. In the business tourism sphere, the South African National Convention Bureau was launched with success. A target was set of R6,2 billion in direct spend via business events over the next five years.

Response to shifts in the global market place caused the industry’s portfolio to be rebalanced in three year cycles. This was reflected in the growth of Asian travellers which spoke to the tectonic politico-economic power shifts from the North to the East. This also presented an opportunity in the form of underserved markets in the global South’s cities. These opportunities also posed the challenges of airlift and visas. The near-universal uptake of e-passports was expected by 2020. This presented an opportunity for job creation and boosting tourism.

In terms of air connectivity, Africa was in clear need of extensive hubs and bespoke airlift configurations that connected peripheral areas of the continent to the mainstream air routes. There was also major potential for the development of a South-South corridor that reflected contemporary trade and other economic realities. OR Tambo in Johannesburg was believed to be ideally positioned.

Department of Tourism briefing
Ambassador L (Kingsley) Makhubela, Director General, Department of Tourism, detailed the legislative mandate under which the Department operated, which recognised tourism as a Schedule 4 area of concurrence for National and Provincial legislative competency. The White Paper on Tourism of 1996, and the Tourism Act of 1993, outlined the roles and responsibilities of those spheres of government with regard to tourism development and promotion in South Africa. The Municipal Structures Act provided that a municipality had powers and functions according to section 156 of the Constitution. Section 84 stated that district municipalities had the power to develop and promote local tourism. The Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act of 2005 promoted ongoing cooperation between the various spheres of government, which was also of significance. Other relevant frameworks comprised the NTSS and its domestic tourism objectives.

The Tourism Intergovernmental Coordination Framework allowed for a nuanced view of the spheres of government’s strategic focus in carrying out the mandate. To this end, marketing, development and government working groups were integral to Intergovernmental Coordination. At a national level, the structures which dealt with coordination saw participation from various governmental departments, including that of Tourism.

Within the NTSS implementation framework, the working groups essentially dealt with tourism, and comprised business, government and a knowledge working group. The latter consisted of the University of Zululand, the University of Pretoria, the University of Johannesburg, Cape Peninsula University and the University of Venda. This group was created out of the realisation that future intellectual capacity was required to continue driving the sector.

The good practices existing in the Model for Province Tourism Coordination included both legislative and non legislative practices. In terms of section 34 of the KwaZulu Natal Tourism Act of 1996, Kwazulu Natal’s provincial Tourism Committee had established a framework where governmental, non-governmental and other stakeholders built a forum for coordination, and met on a quarterly basis to address the positive tensions in government. The Western Cape offered a non-legislative framework which was suited for that particular region.

Minister van Schalkwyk spoke to the Department’s collaborative efforts with other structures of government. In 2012, it had been recognised that uniformity was lacking across the spheres of government, and thus the Department and provinces undertook research, which revealed that R3 billion was spent across the three spheres to promote tourism, with no significant returns. The problem was attributed to a lack of coordination. Thereafter, the Department worked with the National Treasury and provinces to help local government structures to design a budget and programme structure. In some municipalities, the budget allocations constituted a salary budget alone, but no provision for an operations budget. The Northern Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Western Cape had implemented the agreed-upon Tourism Budget Programme Structure. Other provinces were yet to follow suit. The programme had some components that dealt with capacity building for practitioners and policy makers at the local government level. It dealt with the provision of technical support for tourism planning and development, it assisted local government in the facilitation of stakeholder dialogues and peer learning platforms, and the facilitation of strategic partnerships for funding opportunities geared toward local government initiatives. The rollout of training had commenced.

As part of the facilitation of stakeholder dialogue and the peer learning platforms, Local Government Tourism was convened in 2013, in partnership with South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). This concluded that the collective had challenges in managing resources. There were particular challenges posed by bylaws. Many institutions were heavily taxed, and there was the view that such taxes had emanated from a lack of strategic focus. The conference provided a platform for the exchange of best practice, and formulation of a strategic perspective on the development and growth of tourism by the three spheres of government. The next conference was scheduled for 2015 and would review progress toward the objectives.

Domestic tourism stabilised the cyclical and seasonal flow of inbound tourism. It provided an indirect means of building a product that could compete at an international level. Comparatively, China’s domestic market bolstered its tourism sector, where the outbound flow decreased to 56 million while the domestic trips increased to 2.5 billion. This was projected to grow. There were lessons to be learnt from the vitality of the Chinese domestic tourism sector, with a lower income per capita, compared to South Africa. China showed  constant promotion, diversity of products and constant improvement of the transport system which included the increased affordability of tickets, the advent of low cost carriers, and the introduction of high speed rail. China was the leader in the high speed rail industry. Other lessons in domestic tourism were taken from France and America, which sustained their growth in domestic tourism despite various obstacles. The biggest drivers were strong marketing strategies and national media campaigns.

South Africa’s domestic tourism position had progressed, from 26.6 million trips in 2011 to 25.4 million in 2013. Conversely, domestic tourism expenditure had increased. It was thus important to spend resources in cultivating the domestic market. In 2013, R42.4 million was spent and it was set to increase to R43.7 million in 2014.

To galvanise the domestic market, the Department was building institutional capacity, including private sector partnerships. The “Sho’t Left” marketing campaign of SA Tourism was set to roll out on a sustainable basis. Funding was central. There was a call for decision making based on feasibility and the elimination of competition between the spheres of government.

Role of the Portfolio Committee
Dr Sibusiso Khuzwayo, Content Advisor to Portfolio Committee on Tourism, provided the contextualisation of the legislative and oversight function of the Portfolio Committee. Since this Portfolio Committee was in its final year, its achievements during its tenure would be considered. As an extension of Parliament, the Portfolio Committee had a constitutional mandate to pass legislation. The National Tourism Bill, a section 76 Bill, had been passed by the Committee and was being considered by the NCOP. He summarised that since the Portfolio Committee scrutinised and oversaw Executive function, once the Executive had finalised its strategic plans Parliament would consider and adopt them, Parliament would consider quarterly reports and make recommendations. Finally, the facilitation of public involvement and cooperative governance also fell into the purview of the Committee’s constitutional mandate.

Tourism was a concurrent function, so all spheres of government had a role to play, under Schedules 4 and 5. This implied the need for better coordination between the spheres of government and all sector departments, by intergovernmental relations, public and private sectors and other stakeholders. The Portfolio Committee tried to coordinate these stakeholders. 

Particular successes of the Committee include the passing of legislation. The Committee was also extensively involved in communities throughout the country, having visited eight provinces already, with the ninth shortly to be visited. There had been significant tourism growth, under the leadership of the Committee. Planning with all sectors had been achieved, in the context of the NDP and the NTSS. Job creation, which was one of the priorities of the government, had increased and it was significant that tourism had surpassed other core sectors in job creation. Statistics would be clarified once the satellite account had been consolidated. The Department had consistently maintained a clean audit.

There were still some challenges that faced the Committee. The budget had to be increased, as tourism had a low baseline through not being promoted over the years. It was the mandate of the Portfolio Committee to ensure that tourism was well resourced at a national level. Infrastructure remained a challenge, particularly the issues of bulk infrastructure, access to roads signage and information offices for instance. Skills development was a challenge, but it was acknowledged that Sector Education and Training Authority CATHSETA was addressing the issue. The presently available skills did not match the needs of the industry. Airlift, tourism development, tourism development models and development on a rural scale were also issues to be considered. The contribution of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) to retarding development was raised. There had been considerable progress in marketing, yet there was still fragmentation, with provinces failing to plan their marketing campaigns with their metros. Geographical spread of tourist attractions was an issue. There was a need to develop SMMEs, and the Committee was working on this.

When aligning the sector with the NDP, the tasks to be addressed included the removal of barriers in the tourism sector, the need for strong working relationships among spheres of government, and cooperation between stakeholders. The need for research within the industry had spurred partnerships with institutions of higher learning. Innovation and development were to be based on such research. Hopefully, these would be addressed in the commissions on the following day.

National Planning Commission input
Dr Ismail Lagardien, Economic Planning Adviser, National Planning Commission, made general statements concerning the NDP. He cautioned against selective reading of the NDP. He lamented the deterioration of key historical and tourism destinations. The Commission’s diagnostic report echoed South African sentiments. The development of the NDP was detailed and he maintained that this Plan had fulfilled its mandate of providing a long term critical view of the country, with a roadmap for the next 20 years.

The NDP rested on six pillars: the mobilisation of all South Africans, the active engagement of citizens in their own development, expansion of the economy, building of key capabilities (human, physical and institutional) and building of a capable developmental state. The public service was centrally placed and responsible for fostering strong leadership throughout society. The themes outlined in each of the chapters fitted together, and would thus avoid silo operations if addressed collectively.

The key targets of the NDP comprised increased job creation, from 13 million to 24 million, much of which could emanate from tourism, which raised questions of encouraging interest in different locations. The target of raising income per person per annum to R120 000 was listed, followed by the increase of the quality of education so that all children had at least two years of primary education. It also covered building a competitive base of infrastructure, human resources and regulatory frameworks, ensuring that managerial posts better reflected the country, broadening ownership to historically disadvantaged groups and the provision of quality healthcare. The targets were believed to work together well where there was the necessary “soft” infrastructure. Other objectives included the reducing the cost of living and the cost of doing business, as well as increasing investment in infrastructure to meet infrastructure investment deficits. There was an emphasis on priorities and sequencing of plans before implementation.

Spatial planning was particularly important, given apartheid legacy issues, and small scale farming and land redistribution had to be addressed. Safety was an important issue for tourists. Justice and the forceful elimination of corruption were central targets. Other issues included positioning South Africa in its regional context, specifically in terms of tourism. South Africa was proficient in planning and policy making, but this had become an end in itself. On implementation, the Commission had identified core principles that required people to take broad ownership of the Plan, with responsibility and accountability – what the Minister described as the “culture of consequences”.

The Commission was implementing the planning and strategy policies of government departments into the NDP, and vice versa. There was an increased collaboration with the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation on its outcomes, to ensure that in the next governmental cycle, government work would reflect the NDP. Three phases had been identified for implementation with the objective of professionalising the public service, ensuring continuity.

Mr L Khorai (ANC) required the Director General of Tourism to highlight any resolutions that had come out of the Local Government Tourism Conference.

Ambassador Makhubela stated that the crux of the Local Government Conference was to manage the tension between the three spheres of government. It was important to share knowledge on methods of moving tourism, and identification of opportunities and challenges. The conference had no legal obligation to produce binding resolutions, but had realised a lack of capacity in strategy development. Nonetheless, there were pockets of excellence where clear strategies were identified, such as KZN. He noted concern about some of the challenges, particularly the potential stifling of growth of the industry imposed by the uncoordinated taxation by different municipalities, which ended up targeting the same tourist several times, even though these municipalities had the requisite competence to create bylaws. A good level of understanding was achieved, along with good coordination and discussion about assistance of local government in funding their tourism activities. The achievements included bridging the “legal competency divide”.

Mr R Shah (DA) sought clarification on how the Department was to bring about the realisation of the NDP and the NTSS, since each mandated seemingly conflicting targets. He also requested a response from National Treasury on the budget review and any possibility of a budget increase.

Ambassador Makhubela elucidated that the NTSS targets were higher than those contained in the NDP. The NDP did not contain clear quantified targets, and the Department was comfortable with pursuing the NTSS targets. He warned against complacency, saying that international examples of successful domestic tourism would be set as the benchmark.

The Chairperson called for any responses from the provinces in relation to this point.

One provincial representative highlighted that one of the biggest problems in relation to local government was that they attempted the most difficult tasks, yet ignored the most obvious and simple. Examples were that tour operators complained about “crime and grime” – lack of cleanliness, high crime and lack of public facilities. It was necessary to coordinate functional structures for promoting tourism at a local government level.

Dr Lagardien provided the analogy of the 1980s peace parks, which were township community initiatives. It was apparent that that initiative and sense of pride was absent in contemporary communities.

Ambassador Makhubela added that poor road maintenance posed a challenge to tourism. There was a disjuncture between the allocations for addressing roads and the actual infrastructure.

Mr S Farrow (DA) was cognisant of the efforts at alignment but asked how this related to the Constitutional philosophy of autonomy of spheres. One sphere’s priorities could have a damaging impact on the industry – for instance low priority given to a provincial road budget could lead to the road to a tourist destination being closed. He asked who would identify areas of growth and subsequently ensure that these opportunities were integrated into the Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) of local and provincial budgets. He believed that the lack of integration of spatial planning and the cooperation of the relevant parties had presented the greatest hindrance.

Dr Lagardien said there was a need for closer cooperation between private and public sectors. There was an almost organic relationship between policy and trade, and hostility between these parties had to end.  The Commission had worked increasingly more closely with the DPME, which was strengthening its evaluation mechanisms. The NPC was aware that it was not a governmental department, and that implementation must occur in departments, but it would follow up on implementation through the DPME.

The Commission was also working in conjunction with provincial governments, and had scrutinised their implementation plans and Annual Performance Plans in the role of facilitator.

Mr L Khorai (ANC) said lack of accountability on municipal challenges posed a stumbling block to the NDP. He asked whether any assistance or advice on such matters had been formulated.

Department of Arts and Culture briefing
Mr Sibusiso Xaba, Director General, Department of Arts and Culture extended apologies from the Minister of Arts and Culture for his absence. This Summit was convened during a month that was significant to both the Tourism and Arts and Culture sectors; September was both Heritage month and Tourism month, and this was perhaps telling.  Endeavours to strengthen links between these sectors was seen against the background that both were identified by the NDP as among the key drivers of economic growth, job creation, and sustainable livelihoods. NDP had identified the Arts and the Creative Economy as an asset in need of more investment, to attract more opportunities and more people, often from outside the formal economy. Consistent with that understanding, the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) was developing the Mzansi Golden Economy strategy, which channelled large scale investment into the Creative Economy, South Africa’s “new gold”. The  implementation of the Mzansi Golden Economy strategy recognised that societies with higher levels of social cohesion were more economically prosperous. There would be a continued drive for public/private partnerships. With its linkages, tourism was also important partner and stakeholder.

Mr Xaba acknowledged this Summit as a way to increase cooperation. Events and festival attracted a large number of patrons and tourists to the host cities, attracting their contribution to the local economy. The Department was supporting 28 major festivals across the country, which would be upscaled to increase their contributions to the host cities’ economies. There was great interest in the South African story in the international market. Of interest to both foreign and domestic markets were the country’s eight Heritage Sites. The Department was working with the African Heritage Fund, not only to maintain the existing World Heritage Sites but also to submit more places of universal value for nomination to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Liberation Route had been included in UNESCO’s tentative list of World Heritage Sites. Cooperation between the sectors would improve the appeal of cultural and heritage sites, ensuring increased visits and offering an enhanced experience.

Another area for potential collaboration was to ensure that the narratives on the country’s heritage were complete, consistent and truthful. Training of tour guides was important. It was suggested that a heritage levy be imposed on visitors to help sustain the sites. The arts and tourism sectors were collaborating in the implementation of the cultural seasons, with the French and English South African cultural seasons in operation currently. There would also be cultural seasons with Angola, Nigeria, Russia and China. The film industry was identified as a major contributor to the economy, and strategies were advocated to make South Africa a preferred filming destination. That would include joint marketing of the country’s iconic sites. Another potential for collaboration was through the Mzansi Golden Economy initiative of an Art Bank, which would procure local art works, for exposure to international markets.

The Cape Tourist Guide Association asked if there were any statistics available that measured the impact of guides and operators on the informal sector, in particular as a lifeline to start-up businesses focusing on heritage. It suggested that, instead of introducing a heritage levy, it was perhaps more proactive to create more employment at these sites.

Mr Xaba noted that there was no separate classification for tour guides and the start up businesses. There were certainly heritage-related start ups but he did not have figures. The heritage levy was suggested in order to sustain heritage sites, and could be altered. With the increase of museums and heritage sites, more responsibility fell to the Department and it was not financially sustainable. Generally, the Department utilised local tour guides, but was keen to investigate that issue further.

Mr Zakhele Gumede raised the issue of site facilitators not being from the community or lacking an intimate knowledge of the site and its heritage. He also lamented the difficult in getting signage on roads to tourism sites.

Mr Xaba said that the DAC had to apply for signs on national roads. There were various processes that had to be fulfilled, but no problems to date in getting signs.

A commentator clarified that there was a distinction between tour guides and site guides, and this caused conflict.  Tourist attractions had to become financially self sufficient, and it was proposed that international models be considered when creating revenue-generating attractions.

Mr Xaba conceded that he was referring to site guides but thought it important to make information available to tour guides as well.

Mr Christopher Tool, Representative, Apartheid Museum and Gold of Africa Museum, commented on the collaboration in the public and private sectors. He was involved in the Mandela Capture Site development, in conjunction with the Umngeni municipality, with five years of negotiation with the local council. The local government, Department of Cooperative Governance (the provincial entity providing funding, privately-funded Apartheid Museum and business had tried to form partnerships. The site was recognised with establishment and marketing of the artwork, with support from DAC and National Arts Council (NAC). However, interest flagged as there was insufficient infrastructure, and refusal of signage requests. He opined that the charge was not a municipal charge but a user product cost. Cultural and heritage initiatives could be effective and dynamic where partnerships were pursued.

Mr Xaba responded that the sustainability of heritage sites was a difficult issue, as a balance had to be struck between access to citizens and the maintenance and sustainability of the sites. One of the proposals under consideration was to make a price distinction between South Africans and international tourists. Different methods of memorials other than creating museums also needed to be considered, because of the cost implications. He noted that DAC was working with the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) on  development and marketing of crafts.

A representative asked whether the partnership between DAC and local government had ever audited sites, and, if so, whether they were prioritised.

Mr Xaba noted that the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) was responsible for the grading of various monuments and memorials. The grading included national heritage sites, provincial heritage sites or local heritage sites, and how they were graded determined the responsibility for maintaining the sites. There was an audit of historically significant gravesites, and the information was available from the Agency.

Mr Khorai asked why there had been no name changes of the Parliamentary buildings. He sought clarity on street names and the difficulty in finding them, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

Mr Xaba explained that renaming was only done a response to a request. Parliament had never requested a change of name for its buildings. The Department would only unilaterally undertake name changes for standardisation purposes. Street names fell under the auspices of the relevant municipalities.

Mr Shah noted a lack of accountability within the tour guide sector. He noted with interest the distinction between the tour guides and site guides, and enquired whether CATHSETA had any role in making the distinction and giving appropriate training.

A representative clarified that site guides and tour guides fell under the same category, but had different specialities. There was a site guide at a particular interest point, a regional guide and a national guide. Honour was also at stake, as some of the regional guides were qualified.

The Chairperson asked who was responsible for the maintenance of heritage sites such as Pilgrims Rest, which was in an unkempt state. He also enquired what memorials had been erected for historical figures such as Dr Chris Barnard.

A representative answered that there were several museums dedicated to Dr Barnard, specifically in his home town and at the Groote Schuur Hospital. There was tension between the private ownership of artefacts by families, as opposed to the public interest in the narrative of the historical figure.

Ms Vatiswa Bam (ANC) interrogated the veracity of the museum narratives and the exclusion of integral figures on the basis of race.

Mr Xaba noted that the whole story was being  reconstructed truthfully, with all stakeholders’ contributions  represented.

Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission: Aligning the tourism industry to the Presidential Infrastructure Plan
Mr Cassim Nakkooda, Director: Economic Planning and Coordination, Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Committee (PICC) Technical Task Team, stated that spending on infrastructure for growth had decreased. The State had capacity problems, with poor coordination across government departments. The PICC ensured planning and monitoring of large infrastructure projects. Skills were developed for projects, according to a skills development plan. The focus was on job creation and youth empowerment. There was also research development. Opportunities were created for poor provinces who currently suffered from bad linkage to markets. Investment in infrastructure was being scaled up. African development was supported. There were opportunities for communities and people, with implications for human settlement and economic development.

Mr Nakkooda referred to the 18 Strategic Infrastructure Projects (SIPs), which ranged from small to very large. There was a project template, and an infrastructure book. The PICC did not fund, but engaged with the National Treasury to monitor implementation. Growth nodes in the country were identified, and where the gaps were. The projects targeted human settlements around mines, development of inland ports, projects for dams, farming, energy generation, auto export capacity, gas and oil, large power projects, household electrification, rural tourism infrastructure, and social infrastructure such as hospitals and schools, accommodation for students in student towns, and internet for schools.

The PICC relied on improved coordination and multi-year financing. State owned entities would do projects. Tourism infrastructure for rural areas would be developed. Infrastructure was to transform and re-industrialise the economy. There would also be a greening of the economy.

Mr Chris McDuling, CTGA Tour Guide, remarked that the creation of tourism related job opportunities was secondary for the PICC. He referred to the position of seasonal workers. Agri-tourism could bring job retention. It seemed that the PICC was not looking for that.

Mr Nakkooda replied that the PICC did not look for job employment opportunities. Seasonal worker issues would nevertheless be raised. However, the PICC worked from an infrastructure perspective.

Department of Cooperative Governance (DCOG) briefing: Significance of local government in tourism development
Mr Vusi Madonsela, Director General, Department of Cooperative Governance, stated that tourists were lured, amongst others, to the country by such things as the quality of South African drinking water. Local government had to join the discourse on tourism. Tourism could drive local development. Local governments, through the Department of Cooperative Governance, had to cooperate with the Department of Tourism. Local government had to promote social and economic development. He noted the concurrent responsibility for tourism among local and provincial government. The New Growth Path was a job driver. There had to be confidence in the tourism industry. The growth of tourism in South Africa impacted on the economy. Eco-tourism was especially important, and it must be recognised that there were changes in the sector. Transport, catering, accommodation and job creation contributed to tourism in the local area.

Local development provided capacity to local government. There were tourist attractions in local areas, but local government could make or break tourism. The role of services at local government level was of great importance. There had to be investment in services. There had to be marketing and investment support, also for small business. Tourism was driven by the private sector, but the private and public sector had to cooperate. The Department of Tourism could develop local infrastructure. There were water and sanitation and road maintenance issues, and areas had to be beautified.

Challenges included lack of experience and knowledge of tourism in local governments. There were small budgets. The DCOG, like others, had inherited a lack of budget for tourism. Leadership from DCOG was needed, and it had to be recognised that capacity in municipalities was lacking, with the result  that tourism was neglected. The DCOG did not share joint programmes for tourism at the national level with the Department of Tourism. There had to be funding at the local level. There were competing demands on municipalities, with the focus on basic services, and it was clear that tourism received less attention. There were challenges of alignment. Human resources were minimal. At some municipalities there was no tourism officer, and municipalities could not assess their capacity. There was a lack of a sector tourism plan. The Department of Tourism had to champion tourism. There was a lack of economic analysis. Incentive based funding could be provided. The DCOG wanted to be part of capacity building with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the Department of Tourism. The DCOG could assist municipalities to develop sector plans.

Mr McDuling remarked that the missing link was small business support. Municipalities had no capacity, so it was futile to ask municipal representatives to engage with tourism. Growth facilities could be fast tracked with a tourism mindset. Cape Town Tourism had taken to the West coast and had “moved mountains”. There were fantastic natural drawcards, but municipalities had to be trained to draw tourism. He reiterated that small business had to be looked at to foster tourism. SATOUR could help with that.

Mr Madonsela replied that there were areas where municipalities were lacking in capacity, and small business was strong. Both had to be developed. Small business had a role, but municipal capacity still had to be built. He agreed that municipalities had to know what was going on with small business in their regions, which would be part of a municipal capacity to know what it had and could do. It would not do to build capacity in municipalities at the expense of small business. Local government could not run tourism.

Mr Khorai was concerned about colleagues in local government. There was no shortage of interest, but there were no officials who could build capacity. Municipalities did not include tourism in their Integrated Development Plans, and tourism remained “an island” to them. The question was what happened to the money.

Mr Madonsela responded that there was indeed a lack of local economic development officials and managers. It was a reflection on the level of appreciation, since the importance of local economic development was not understood as being equally important as tourism. When there were more work opportunities, more people could afford services, and there was more money available. Local governments were not funded fully. Tourism was as important as local government development. The DCOG had to work with the Department of Tourism to get the right people to advocate tourism. The Department of Tourism would know who, in local government, was suited to develop tourism. The Departments of Energy and Water Affairs worked with local government, but not by decree, and it was recognised that there had to be interaction. He agreed that there were some municipalities who made no reference to tourism in their Integrated Development Plans, or mentioned it in passing. It was not a top priority. Tourism had to be lifted from the bottom of the list. There had to be a solid business case for why tourism was so important.

Mr R Shah (DA) said that he liked this presentation. Challenges had to be dealt with, or else growth would be retarded. Local authorities had to develop their mandate. There was a need to target local government with strategic intervention and support programmes. He asked if there was a role for the private sector in developing the local government sector, and how that could be done.

Mr Madonsela agreed that local government had to be targeted. The private sector could assist with capacity building, also through the local Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), which also relied on private sector players. He had never seen tourism dealt with by the Local Government SETAs.

Mr Shah asked if local authorities had an inventory of local tourist attractions, and if audits had been done.

Mr Madonsela replied that inventories had probably not been done. The question was who could help local government compile an inventory, and he thought the Department of Tourism could probably help and tell municipalities what they could do. Centres of attraction had to be built. The Department of Cooperative Governance could come in at that point.

Mr Khorai asked about qualified audit reports from the Auditor-General (AG).

Mr Madonsela replied that many municipalities received qualified reports. It was a sore point. It was important, but there was no direct link between unqualified reports and focus on tourism.

The Chairperson remarked that it was taken for granted that people knew the possibilities in their regions.

Ambassador Makhubela, Department of Tourism, remarked that there was no capacity at local government level. This was a political problem. Good results could not be had from bad investments. Local government strategies for development were neglected, in spite of the fact that there were good local leaders. The Treasury reported that local governments kept asking for more money, when they were failing to spend the money they had. Things went wrong at local government level, and when it became visible, it was too late to act. Local government lacked the power and control to invest. The situation had to be arrested, or existing infrastructure would be lost. There was no spending because of a lack of capacity to plan and use resources. Buffalo City had shut down tourism, but still had money for salaries. The question was what people were being paid for. The Mpumalanga tourism section was bankrupt. The best human resources had to be employed. Local government was the coalface. A central attraction like the Pilansberg game reserve had bad roads, and there was little money for infrastructure. There had to be a paradigm shift, in order to strengthen local government. The question was how to spread capacity across sectors.

Department of Water and Environmental Affairs: Tourism-environment interactions
Mr Peter Lukey, Chief Director: Air Quality Management, Department of Environmental Affairs, stated that South Africa as a tourist attraction was renowned for natural beauty, adventure and wildlife. Environmental impact management was a priority. Key tourist attractions had to be protected and enhanced. Environment impacts in protected areas, reserves, parks and world heritage sites had to be monitored, with minimum disruption of the natural environment. Roads could not be too wide in parks. Visual impact was important, so it would not, for instance, do to build a lodge in God’s Window. There was a trend to have people watch game in convoys, which was intrusive.

Tourism activities had to be aligned with environmental issues. The environmental management framework had to consider the impact of tourism. South Africa was a long haul destination, and could be influenced by fashions like the concern with carbon footprint. It had to be possible to say that touring South Africa was beneficial to the planet. The country was vulnerable to climate change responses. With the World Cup, it was anticipated that there would be a big carbon footprint, and agencies looked at that. There had to be a greening of accommodation. Tourism depended on the natural heritage, which was also dependent on tourism in return.

The Chairperson remarked that there was a need to plant trees and use green energy to create environment friendly destinations.

Mr Lukey replied that 8% of the land in South Africa supplied 50% of the water. People in poor areas could not spare water. Green tourism aimed at the restoration of the natural environment. New York, for instance, did not filter water. Purification was achieved by tending to the natural environment. Investment in the natural environment created tourist attractions. Tourism and the environment were synchronised.

Mr Shah remarked that the challenge was how to practice tourism responsibly. The question was who was going to be responsible for minimising the carbon footprint. South Africa had been defined as a long haul destination. It was possible that a new regime on air emissions could impact on tourism.

Mr Lukey replied that consumers were fickle. The carbon footprint had caused floods in his home town. Investment in South Africa depended on the country’s investment in clean energy. Pro-active strategies were needed.

Mr Khorai commented on the environment and domestic tourism. In the Free State, the industrial town of Sasolburg was polluted by emissions from the refinery. People moved out because of emissions, and it became a problem for domestic tourism. There was a lack of power systems in black areas. He asked what the Department was doing about this.

Mr Lukey replied that it came down to deciding about tourism potentials of specific areas. Decisions had to be made about resources. It would not help much to have zebras around Sasolburg.

Mr Shah remarked on the irony of tourism. When the Committee went on oversight, they would visit a nice hotel situated next to a dam, but then hear that the locals had no access to that water. More was spent on local tourism than on international tourism. Local tourism had to be the anchor. People had to be encouraged to travel in South Africa. Information about tourism could be taught at schools. International tourism was unpredictable.

Mr Lukey replied that professionals were looking after resources. The custodians of beauty had to be paid.

Mr McDuling said that in environmental impact assessments, 4x4 impacts had taken a back seat. He asked if there had been a respite.

Mr Lukey replied that the question was how many poor people owned 4x4s. There had been no respite. There was government support for the development of trails, but no general support.

Ambassador Makhubela referred to the fact that South Africa might be shunned because it was seen as a long haul destination. The Minister had referred to the fact that the number of planes over Europe was huge, but not so over the African continent. There were 26 000 commercial flights all over the world. By 2020 that number might have doubled. South Africa had to benefit from that boom. The aviation industry had to be evolved. Aircraft manufacturers were spending money to reduce emissions. South Africa had to benefit from that science. Connection with the world depended on it. Technology allowed better interaction.

Mr Lukey replied that there were factors that impacted on international tourism, like foreign currency and climate change impact. Tourists had to be convinced that coming to South Africa was good.

The Chairperson agreed that more resources had to be deployed into domestic tourism. There had to be conscious efforts from South Africans to market tourism. Any eventuality had to be provided for. In China, he noted that trees were planted on the middle course between traffic lanes, and on the sidewalks.

Summary and recommendations
The Chairperson summarised the various recommendations made. Growth nodes in the country had to be identified for Strategic Infrastructure Programmes. Tourism could drive local development. There was lack of interest in, and capacity to promote tourism at the local government level. There had to be cooperation between the Department of Cooperative Governance and the Department of Tourism at local government level. The Department of Tourism had to champion tourism at the local government level. Local governments had to be targeted for strategic intervention and support. Potentials for tourism had to be reported to stakeholders. Municipalities had to create environments for tourism. There had to be institutional capacity for municipal officials. The greening of tourism was related to the growth of domestic tourism. Tourism activities had to be aligned with environmental activities towards the greening of tourism. Local tourism had to be the anchor. Environment impact management was essential.

The Summit was adjourned.

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