The National Department of Tourism briefed the Committee on its National Heritage and Cultural Tourism Strategy, as well as its National Rural Tourism Strategy. The focus of the NDT at present was to ensure that the eight world heritage sites found in SA remained on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s list of world heritage sites.
Both the National Heritage and Cultural Tourism Strategy and the National Rural Tourism Strategy came with detailed action plans for implementation and were informed by the National Tourism Sector Strategy and the Domestic Tourism Growth Strategy. The strategies sought to respond to economic development and job creation, rural development and regional integration.
One of the strategic objectives of the National Heritage and Cultural Tourism Strategy was to conduct a comprehensive audit of heritage and cultural tourism products and to document and compile this information. Other objectives were to develop and promote the eight world heritage sites as anchor tourist attractions, identify projects for global significance and identify potential projects for further development. The National Department of Tourism recommended that resources and a detailed action plan with roles and responsibilities be allocated to support the implementation of the National Heritage and Cultural Tourism Strategy.
Regarding the National Rural Tourism Strategy, the National Department of Tourism provided the Committee with a breakdown of recommended rural nodes for tourism development in each province. These would be the priority areas for the next five to 10 years. Interaction with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and with other departments have taken place. Of the eight world heritage sites, six fell within these rural nodes.
In 2013 a needs assessment was done on the eight world heritage sites and awareness was raised through a DVD and a tourism indaba. The National Department of Tourism intend to improve tourism interpretive signage at the world heritage sites during 2014/15 period. It also aimed to improve tourism infrastructure at the world heritage sites as many of the sites lacked proper ablution facilities, resting places and facilities for the disabled.
The National Department of Tourism started a capacity building programme for tourism stakeholders in district and local municipalities in rural areas during the 2013/14 period. The beneficiaries of the capacity building initiative were municipal officials, local community representatives, small, medium and macro enterprises, local tourism authorities, cooperatives and traditional leaders.
The National Department of Tourism was also in the process of strengthening cooperation and partnerships at provincial and local government levels, prioritising tourism development in rural economies, supporting enterprise development in the tourism sector and skills development and training initiatives in the tourism sector.
Members considered small, medium and micro enterprises to be important job creators and wanted to know what types of small, medium and micro enterprises the National Department of Tourism supported. The Committee also questioned the efforts of the National Department of Tourism to market heritage sites. What was the Department doing to encourage locals to visit heritage sites?
Concern was raised that cultural oral traditions were being lost and the National Department of Tourism was asked what was being done to preserve these traditions. Two examples were cited by members of heritage sites that were in a bad state of affairs. The first was King Dingaan’s Kraal in Kwazulu-Natal and the second was Robben Island in the Western Cape. Members asked how often the National Department of Tourism met with the Department of Arts and Culture and the Department of Environmental Affairs about the bad state of affairs at heritage sites under their respective custodianship.
The Committee adopted Committee Minutes dated 12 September 2014 unamended.
National Department of Tourism
The National Department of Tourism (NDT) briefed the Committee on its National Heritage and Cultural Strategy as well as its National Rural Tourism Strategy. The delegation comprised of Ms Morongoe Ramphele, Deputy Director General: Domestic Tourism Management; Mr Thabo Manetsi, Director: Western and Northern Cape Heritage Development; Mr Soza Simango, Director: Gauteng, North West and Limpopo Niches Development; and Ms Petra van Niekerk, Parliamentary Liaison Officer: office of the Director General. Ms Shama Nathoo, Parliamentary Liaison Officer: Minister’s office, was also in attendance.
Ms Morongoe Ramphele said the NDT’s National Heritage and Cultural Tourism Strategy, as well as its National Rural Tourism Strategy were important for the Department to deliver on its mandate. The Heritage and Cultural Strategy was fragmented as it normally fell within the domain of the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC). The NDT had a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the DAC. There was also poor alignment with local government. Tourism products were also not well marketed. SA still had to realise the value of its culture and heritage. A great deal of training and skills development on heritage and culture still needed to be done. Many of SA’s heritage sites were in rural areas. Some communities lived close by to these sites but did not benefit from it. The focus of the NDT at present was to ensure that the eight world heritage sites found in SA remained on the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) list of world heritage sites.
Mr Thabo Manetsi said the National Heritage and Cultural Tourism Strategy (NHCTS) and the National Rural Tourism Strategy (NRTS) came with detailed action plans for implementation. Both strategies were informed by the National Tourism Sector Strategy and the Domestic Tourism Growth Strategy. The strategies aimed to respond to Outcome 4: Economic Development and Job Creation, Outcome 7: Rural Development and Outcome 11: Regional Integration. One of the strategic objectives of the NHCTS was to conduct a comprehensive audit of heritage and cultural tourism products and to document and compile this information.
Other objectives of the NHCTS were to develop and actively promote the eight world heritage sites as anchor tourist attractions, identify projects for global significance and, in collaboration with provinces, identify potential projects for further development. The Department recommended that resources be allocated and a detailed action plan with roles and responsibilities be developed in support of the implementation of the NHCTS.
He outlined the strategic themes, strategic objectives and actions of the NRTS and provided the Committee with a breakdown of recommended rural nodes for tourism development in each province. These would be the priority areas for the next five to 10 years. Interactions with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) and with other departments had taken place. Of the eight world heritage sites, six fell within these rural nodes. The DRDLR had also identified 27 district municipalities that would be prioritised. The NDT, on a quarterly basis, attended an intergovernmental forum on Outcome 7, which dealt with rural development. The DRDLR was the convener of the forum. The Committee was provided with a map outlining the geographical spread of the eight world heritage sites as well as additional information about them.
In 2013 a needs assessment was done on the eight world heritage sites to better understand the need for tourism. The NDT also raised awareness and promoted the world heritage sites in 2013/14 through a DVD that focused on culture and heritage and a recently held tourism indaba.
The Department intended to improve tourism interpretive signage at the world heritage sites during 2014/15 period. However, signage was a provincial and local government issue and the NDT would have to form a partnership with them.
For the 2015/2016 period, the Department aimed to improve tourism infrastructure at the world heritage sites as many of the sites lacked proper ablution facilities, resting places and facilities for the disabled.
During 2013/2014 the NDT started a capacity building programme for tourism stakeholders in district and local municipalities in rural areas. The beneficiaries of the capacity building initiative were municipal officials, local community representatives, small, medium and macro enterprises (SMMEs), local tourism authorities, cooperatives and traditional leaders.
The NDT were in the process of implementing actions and key activities to strengthen cooperation and partnerships at provincial and local government levels, prioritise tourism development in rural economies, support enterprise development, especially SMMEs in the tourism sector and to support skills development and training initiatives in the tourism sector.
Ms P Adams (ANC) referred to slide 26 where the NDT stated that it supported enterprise development, i.e. SMMEs. What kind of SMMEs were supported? She also asked if the NDT assessed these SMMEs as it provided services to tourists.
If the marketing of heritage sites was not taking place what was the NDT doing about it? She asked for a breakdown of figures of international and local visitors to SA’s world heritage sites. What was the NDT doing to encourage locals to visit heritage sites?
Was the training of tourist guides covered by the Social Responsibility Implementation (SRI) Programme?
She referred to slide 4 and asked how involved the NDT was in preserving cultural oral traditions, such as storytelling. What was the NDT doing to encourage the Department of Arts and Culture to preserve oral traditions? How far was the audit of heritage and cultural tourism products and had timeframes been set? She noted that the NDT intended to build up its pool of knowledge. Had the NDT considered looking at international best practices?
What tool was the NDT using for sustainable development and management of tourism infrastructure? What was the NDT doing to raise awareness of heritage and culture in local communities and how were levels of awareness measured?
She referred to slide 8, bullet point 3, which stated that the NDT, in collaboration with provinces, would identify potential projects for further development. Did the NDT advise provinces on what they should look at and did they support provinces with the projects? She asked whether SA Tourism marketed these projects.
Ms Ramphele replied that there was a Tourism Enterprise Partnership (TEP) which assessed SMMEs. The TEP provided mentorship, business support, assisted with market access and did skills training.
Mr Simango replied that there was a need to create awareness about tourism to the domestic market. In 2013, the NDT presented a SABC radio programme to promote domestic tourism. The programme ran for four weeks.
Ms Ramphele added that the radio programme had reached 41.3 million people. SA Tourism was integrating its marketing efforts with provinces.
Mr Manetsi replied that the NDT had a partnership agreement with the Department of Arts and Culture on narratives or the documentation of oral history. The NDT encouraged the Department of Arts and Culture to concentrate on local stories. For instance, the Department of Arts and Culture had captured stories told from the perspective of former Robben Island prisoners.
He replied that the strategic objectives and priorities of provinces were taken into consideration when identifying projects in provinces for further development. Provinces motivated which ones were more important than others.
Mr J Esterhuizen (IFP) said family members of his had visited King Dingaan’s Kraal in KwaZulu-Natal and had found it to be in a terrible state of disrepair. He felt that heritage sites should be looked after. The spending of R250 000 as depicted in the presentation on tourism signage was far too much.
Mr Manetsi replied that the amount of R250 000 for tourism signage was not a huge amount. Empirical studies had been done to determine where signage should be erected. The NDT was aware that there were more pressing hard infrastructure needs other than signage.
Mr J Vos (DA) felt that heritage sites should take centre stage to promote domestic tourism and rural tourism. He was a bit concerned about the NDT’s implementation strategy as quite a few departments as well as local government were involved in the implementation of projects. He said the NDT should have a toolkit to assist municipalities.
Many local South Africans could not afford to visit local heritage sites. Local heritage sites had to be accessible and affordable. Tourism signage, roads and infrastructure were issues that needed to be looked at. He stated that Robben Island was one of the most important tourist attractions in SA and that the mismanagement of it was an insult to ex-President Nelson Mandela’s memory. Revenue had decreased and visitor numbers were down by 5% year-on-year. He pointed out that there were tourism products in small towns, but that capacity was lacking at municipal level.
Ms Ramphele replied that the NDT was compiling a progress report on the issue of support to municipalities which would be presented at the Local Government Conference in February 2015.
Mr Manetsi agreed that tourism toolkits needed to be put in place. It was a serious priority for the NDT.
Ms E Masehela (ANC) asked what the NDT was doing to assist municipalities with heritage sites. She felt that SMMEs were a good job creator and SMMEs should be assisted by the NDT. What was the NDT doing to assist SMMEs? She pointed out that of the eight world heritage sites in SA, there was a budget only for five. What about the remaining three?
Ms Ramphele explained that the TEP supported SMMEs in rural areas and the NDT’s target was to create 4 000 jobs per annum.
Ms S Xego-Sovita (ANC) requested the NDT to provide the Committee with the DVD that it had mentioned in its presentation. She was pleased with the capacity building programme that the NDT had initiated in rural nodes. It should be extended to other rural areas as well. Working relationships with provinces was good but greater attention needed to be paid to municipalities as well. The NDT had spoken about recommended national rural nodes but information should be provided to the Committee on provincial nodes too.
Ms Ramphele agreed to distribute the DVD among the members.
Ms L Makhubele-Mashele (ANC) asked for clarity on the intergovernmental report on Outcome 7 which related to the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) projects. The projects have brought a positive change to villages. She requested the NDT to provide the Committee with examples of projects in various provinces. It was good that the NDT was working with the DRDLR. She asked whether the NDT was also working with the DAC on heritage sites that were under their custodianship. Many of the heritage sites were in bad condition and she asked how often the NDT met with the DAC to discuss the issue. The same question was asked in relation to sites under the control of the Department of Environmental Affairs. She stated that the town of Lephalale in the Limpopo Province was to be developed into a city. She had been informed that 18 000 people worked on the project on a daily basis. There were opportunities for tourism at Lephalale. As Lephalale was a rural area, how would the NDT’s rural tourism strategy come into play there? What were the efforts of the NDT at Lephalale? She referred to heritage sites that were found along tourist routes. An example was the Mandela Route which had heritage sites along the way. What were the NDT’s rural tourism strategies in those areas where heritage sites were found? Was the NDT involved in mentorship in those areas?
Ms Ramphele said that the NDT was meeting regularly with the DRDLR on CRDP projects. On capacity building in rural nodes, for example, the NDT had supported the Marula Festival that was held in the Limpopo Province. She replied that there were communities on the Mandela Route who were benefitting from selling goods like vegetables and providing services such as laundry services, etc.
Refering to the development at Lephalale, she replied that the intention was to provide assistance to capitalise on the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Committee’s State Infrastructure Projects (SIP). Around Lephalale there were approximately 300 000 people that would benefit. NDT was involved in a project to build a conference facility next to the provincial nature reserve in Lephalale.
Mr Simango added that the NDT had done a site visit to Lephalale in 2013. The size of the project and the impact that it would make was considered. The NDT interacted with key stakeholders like Eskom. It had identified the need for a new local economic development strategy. The strategy was in the process of being completed and service providers had been appointed. The NDT identified a need for a tourism plan in Lephalale. A service provider had been appointed and the NDT was assisting with the strategy. He added that there were many tourist routes in SA, some were huge while others were small. Most of the routes were independently run by owners of tourism products. They had asked government to partner with them on capacity building and SMME development programmes.
The Chairperson asked about the impact of the NDT’s work in Bushbuckridge. It was after all a poor district. She suggested that the NDT should also interact with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) about the tourism toolkit for municipalities. She also highlighted the fact that roads leading to heritage sites were littered with potholes. Could local SA citizens not be charged a lesser fee when visiting heritage sites?
Mr Simango replied that the NDT had launched its capacity building programme in Bushbuckridge. The programme educated community groupings, local officials and traditional leaders on how tourism worked. There were three NDT officials that worked with the Mpumalanga Provincial Government and the Bushbuckridge Municipality.
Mr Manetsi added that world heritage sites abroad had a price differentiation programme which made it affordable for the poor and the youth to visit those sites. In some cases entrance was even free for youth and the poor. He said Robben Island allowed the youth and children to visit for free during spring time. They had programmes to this effect which they offered to schools as well. He emphasised that incentives needed to be put in place to encourage this type of access.
Mr Sibusiso Khuzwayo, the Committee Content Adviser, noted that there were issues that were raised over and over again. He understood that the NDT already had a toolkit to assist municipalities. He asked to what extent was the NDT’s Domestic Tourism Strategy linking up with the tourism toolkit. A meeting with COGTA and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) was needed as the Local Government Conference was coming up in 2015. He noted that there were concessions attached to the World Heritage Sites for SMME development. The World Heritage Sites had to advertise the concessions that were available. The problem was that concessions often did not go to locals in the area because locals lacked capacity. He suggested that perhaps through the SRI Programme concessions could be made available to locals. Partnerships with communities were important if they were to be developed.
Ms Ramphele replied that when concessions were granted you needed to own something of value like land. The NDT was providing support and advice on how local communities could be taken on board.
Mr Simango referred to the Private-Public-Partnership (PPP) and said after a meeting had been held a workshop had taken place between the NDT, National Treasury and the SRI people. He informed the Committee that there was already a relationship between the PPP and SANParks concessions. Similar arrangements could be made at the Wold Heritage Sites.
Mr Vos said a clear directive from the NDT had to go to COGTA and SALGA for tourism development at local government level. It should be a clear directive from national government that local government should do it. The role of local government was critical. The Committee needed specifics on what the NDT toolkit entailed. What did it contain and what programmes were attached to it?
Ms Ramphele responded that the NDT was aware that local government was where tourism development should be implemented. SALGA had agreed to take things further but the issue was around human resource capacity to cover all the nodes.
Committee Minutes dated 12 September 2014 was adopted unamended.
The meeting was adjourned.
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