National Tourism Sector Strategy & National Rural Tourism Strategy & Heritage Strategy: Department of Tourism briefing

Meeting Summary

The Department of Tourism (NDT) briefed the Committee on the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) and the National Rural Tourism Strategy and Heritage Strategy, with more emphasis on the latter presentation, to prepare the Committee for its upcoming visit to the heritage site of Mapungubwe. The Committee was provided with an overview of by the Department of its vision, mission and objectives. The presentation on the National Tourism Sector Strategy noted that this was formulated after extensive public input, and was approved by Cabinet in 2011. NDT aimed to achieve South Africa becoming one of the top twenty tourist destinations by 2020. NDT aimed to grow a sustainable tourism economy in South Africa with domestic, regional and international components, based on innovation, service excellence, meaningful participation and partnerships. It would fully comply with the values of the Constitution, show respect for culture and heritage and comply with the need for transformation, accountability, responsible tourism, trust, transparency and adaption to change. The broad strategic objectives were drawn around these areas. Domestic tourism contribution to the tourism economy, in particular, should increase and South Africa would contribute to the regional tourist economy also. A summary was given of the three broad themes of improving visitor experiences, sustainability and good governance, and building the brand. Key targets, for both 2015 and 2020, in terms of the contributions that NDT would make to the Gross Domestic Product, tourist arrivals and creation of jobs, direct and indirect, were given, and figures were also provided for how it intended to develop domestic tourism, increase its presence in Africa and achieve 70% of Tourism Charter commitments by 2015. Some figures and statistics were provided to illustrate how far the NDT had come in achieving its aims giving comparative figures also for other countries in and outside Africa. IT was noted that the NDT was busy planning towards the review of the National Tourism Sector Strategy in the following year.

The second presentation set out what comprised the Rural Tourism Strategy and National Heritage and Cultural Tourism strategy, and gave definitions for each of these concepts. The Department's aims in respect of promotion of cultural and rural resources through tourism development were outlined. The prime aim was to unlock economic potential of heritage and cultural resources through sustainable tourism development, as well as to raise more awareness on how heritage and cultural tourism could contribute to social cohesion. Actions taken under each of the main themes were summarised.  The NDT was constantly raising awareness and promoting cultural and heritage tourism products, and developing and implementing effective initiatives for raising awareness, publicity and education. Part of its strategy included the establishment of partnerships and cooperation with stakeholders, to achieve shared responsibility and cooperation. It was identifying and seeking further funding opportunities to support heritage and cultural tourism products. Specific recommendations related to the further development and active promotion of World Heritage sites, identification of possible projects for development by provincial and local government, allocation of resources, support to other spheres of government and  action plans that detailed roles and responsibilities, to develop rural tourism. Further details were provided of the strategy, the World Heritage Sites, the identification of key areas and the critical areas for improvement that had come out of the previous year's work. A summary was given of the work in the previous and current financial years, with costings.

Members asked about the impact of the visa regulations recently passed upon tourism, and the impact and perceptions around crime that affected the number of tourists into the country. They also debated the relative impact of enterprise development and general economic development (such as the nuclear plants) on natural resources and tourism. One Member suggested that it would be useful to invest money into making films about heritage sites, to promote the sites and to spark interest in visiting them. Members agreed on the important of promoting tourism internally, suggesting that amongst others, more on heritage and history should be included in the national schools curricula, that people living close to important sites should be made aware of and encouraged to visit these and other sites around the country, and that those living in the area should be given economic opportunities to participate in the sites and share in the profits. It was also suggested that South Africa and Lesotho could well work together on tourism, given that they shared a major route.
 

Meeting report

National Tourism Sector Strategy & National Rural Tourism Strategy and Heritage Strategy: Department of Tourism briefing
Chairperson's opening remark
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The Chairperson welcomed the delegates from the Department of Tourism (NDT or the Department), and noted that the delegation was led by Mr Victor Tharage, Deputy Director General: Policy and Knowledge System; Ms Morongoe Ramphele, Deputy Director General: Domestic Tourism Management and Mr Thabo Manetsi, Director: West and Northern Cape, leading the heritage development aspects. He also acknowledged the presence of representative from the Minister's office.

The Chairperson noted that the original plan  was to look into National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) however, when the Committee Members had ascertained that they were going to visit Mapungubwe, a heritage site,it was decided that it would be apposite to be given more information on heritage and cultural aspects of tourism. The Committee and the Department of Tourism had thus concluded that National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) document would be presented separately by Mr Victor Tharage. The Members would deal with the most serious questions arising during the presentation, but would leave a thorough interrogation of the document over to a later stage. Mr Manetsi would have a longer time to present on the  Heritage and Cultural and Rural Tourism Strategies, in preparation for the Members' trip to Mapungubwe.

National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) introduction
Mr Victor Tharage, Deputy Director General: Policy and Knowledge System, Department of Tourism, noted that the Cabinet had approved the draft NTSS for public consultation, with additional input in May 2010. Public comments were allowed for a period of two months until the end of July 2010 and about 37 000 comments were received from all stakeholder categories. Both Cabinet and the public comments were considered in the finalisation of the documents. Cabinet had approved the NTSS on 03 March 2011. The NDT set out its vision and mission, which was that South Africa be one of the top twenty tourist destinations by 2020. NDT aimed to grow a sustainable tourism economy in South Africa with domestic, regional and international components, based on innovation, service excellence, meaningful participation and partnerships. It would fully comply with the values of the Constitution, show respect for culture and heritage and comply with the need for transformation, accountability, responsible tourism, trust, transparency and adaption to change. The broad strategic objectives were drawn around these areas. Domestic tourism contribution to the tourism economy, in particular, should increase and South Africa would contribute to the regional tourist economy also.

The aims of the NDT in respect of visitor experiences were also set out, and it was noted that in addition to catering to international visitors, the NDT wanted to entrench a tourism culture amongst South Africans themselves, and to position South Africa as a globally-recognised tourism destination brand.

Sustainability and good governance were further areas of importance, that required consideration of transformation issues, addressing the geographic, seasonal and rural spread, promoting  responsible tourism practices within the sector and unlocking local government tourism economic development potential. Mr Tharage summarised the key targets, for both 2015 and 2020, in terms of the contributions that NDT would make to the Gross Domestic Product, tourist arrivals and creation of jobs, direct and indirect (see attached presentation for full details). Figures were also given for how the NDT aimed to develop domestic holiday trips, marketing offices in Africa (which was estimated at three in 2015 and 5 by 2020, and it was noted that NDT aimed to achieve 70% of Tourism Charter targets on broad based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) by 2015.

Mr Tharage set out some of the key interventions and took the Committee briefly through the figures showing to what extent the NDT was succeeding in its aims. The figures were supported by various statistical analyses detailed for each of the areas.  He noted, under the overview of performance, that the tourist arrivals in 2013 were 4.7% higher than the previous year, or 9.6 million arrivals. Arrivals from overseas markets went up by 7.1%. The top overseas markets were UK, USA, Germany, China (including Hong Kong), France. There had been 6.8 million arrivals from Africa, representing an increase of 3.8%, and these accounted for 71.6% of all touristman arrivals to South Africa. The top African markets were Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland and Botswana.

As far as domestic tourism was concerned, there were 25.4 million trips in 2012, which represented a decrease on the trips undertaken in 2011, but the contribution to the economy had increased over these two years. Domestic tourism was described as particularly important because it maintained travel and tourism during the more difficult economic times, thus helping with sustainability of jobs, and stabilised the cyclical flows of inbound tourism, as well as providing an indirect way of building a base, through reputation, for international tourism. The promotion of a tourist culture was critical to the success of all forms of tourism. The presentation detailed a comparison of domestic tourism in other countries (see attached presentation for figures and countries studied).

With reference to regional tourism on the Continent, it was noted that there was greater spending capacity in the emerging middle class, and the highest overall average spend was registered from Angola and Kenya for period January to September 2013. There was a specific focus on Regional Tourism in the National Development Plan.

Mr Tharage summarised that the Tourism Act, under section 4, provided for development of the National Tourism Sector Strategy, with the necessary objectives, indicators, targets, plans and guidelines. The NDT had started the Review Process that would be finalised in the 2015/16 financial year, guided by NDP objectives.  

Discussion

Mr E Faber (DA; Northern Cape)  wanted to know the impact of new Visa regulations on the Department of Tourism, saying that the new visa regulations had resulted in a decline of overseas visitors, even to the Western Cape. He also alluded to a remark by Gary Player that was reported in a newspaper a year ago, giving his view that South Africa could be in the top three tourist destinations, if it could address the crime issue. Mr Faber said that he travelled a great deal to Europe and other countries, and noted that the one thing that most people expressed concerns about was crime in South Africa, especially violent crime.

 

The Chairperson agreed that the issues raised by Mr Faber were very important but was not sure whether it was possible to deal with that question at this session, given the shortage of time.

Mr L Suka (ANC, Eastern Cape) said that he wanted to study the document in more depth, on his own, to get a clearer understanding. He was more interested in allocating more time to the second document presentation. In answer to Mr Faber, he indicated that South Africans themselves did not assist the situation of the country in terms of reducing crime, and urged politicians to "up their game" by speaking strongly out in condemnation against crime, being careful, however, to give credit where it was due to reductions and successes.

The Chairperson agreed that he too was worried about these issues, and reminded the Committee that despite a very poor security situation and events in other countries and major towns such as Mombasa and Nairobi, visitors were still travelling to those places.

Mr Tharage, in respect of the new visa regulations, referred to a joint media statement by Minister of Tourism, Mr Derek Hanekom, and Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Malusi Gigaba, which explained how to deal with the implementation of the new immigration regulations. A number of valid points had been made, in particular, by the Minister of Home Affairs - particularly that the issue of a migration birth certificate had been suspended until June 2015, and that South Africa had made visa provisions specific to the SADC region. South Africa would not require visas, except for Madagascar, which had had a coup and where there were questions about the legitimacy of the regime, and also for Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) because it was busy building its  population register, due to conflict that had affected that country. He also made the point that in fact, South Africa was attractive because it was deemed safe. Visa regulations were necessary, to allow the country to know who was coming and going through the borders. Most European countries required visas; even the United Kingdom of England and Wales required visas from officials and diplomats from South Africa. There was a need to balance the security of the country against its interest on the trade side.

Mr Tharage noted the concerns about crime and said the Tourism Ministry focused on the marketing side, dealing with perceptions and realities about the country, and had succeeded in persuading people to visit the country. He briefly noted the other matters, and said that these could be dealt with in the ministerial clusters.

Tourism Strategies: Heritage and Cultural and Rural: DOT briefing
Mr Thabo Manetsi Director, West and Northern Cape: Heritage development, Department of Tourism, said the National Department of Tourism (NDT) had developed and launched both the National Rural Tourism Strategy, and National Heritage and Cultural Tourism Strategy (2011 – 2012), including detailed Action Plans for implementation. Both strategies were informed by the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) and the Domestic Tourism Growth Strategy (2011). They responded to National Outcome 4 (Economic Development and Job Creation), 7 (Rural Development) and 11 (regional integration).

Mr Manetsi outlined the definitions, saying that heritage and cultural tourism referred to tourism activities based on tourist consumption of heritage and cultural products. Cultural tourism, on the other hand, referred to those specific cultural aspects which were of interest to the visitors, and could be marketed in a special way, and could include, for instance, customs and traditions of people, their heritage, history and  way of life. These had been outlined in the White Paper on the Development and Promotion of Tourism in South Africa,1996. The UNESCO definition of culture noted that culture was defined as a set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group. It encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs. The White Paper on Arts and Culture defined heritage as the sum total of wildlife and scenic parks, sites of scientific and historical importance, national monuments, historic buildings, works of art, literature and music, oral traditions and museum collections and their documentation, which provided the basis for a shared culture and creativity in the arts .

Taking this further, rural tourism comprised tourism activities occurring in rural areas

based on tourist consumption of products in rural areas. However, he noted that the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform had noted that there was no single or clear definition of a rural area.

Mr Manetsi repeated the vision of the NDT to realise global competitiveness of South African heritage and cultural resources through tourism development, and the aim to unlock economic potential of heritage and cultural resources through sustainable tourism development, as well as to raise more awareness on how heritage and cultural tourism could contribute to social cohesion.  The current strategy aimed to provide an integrated framework for the development and promotion of Heritage and Cultural Tourism products, for economic development and sustainable livelihood at community grass-roots level.

 He summarised that there were some main themes:
- Tourism research, information and knowledge managements
- Sustainable development and management (tourism infrastructure)
- Tourism marketing, promotion and awareness-raising
- Cooperation, partnerships and institutional arrangements and policies
- Strategic objectives.

He outlined the actions taken under each of these themes. Audits were being undertaken into existing and potential heritage and cultural tourism products, and databases compiled. , there was to be full identification of heritage and cultural tourism products for development and sustainable management, and development of an action plans for implementation of identified heritage and cultural tourism products, over the short, medium and long term.  The NDT was raising awareness and promoting cultural and heritage tourism products, and developing and implementing effective initiatives for raising awareness, publicity and education. Part of its strategy included the establishment of partnerships and cooperation with stakeholders, in order to achieve shared responsibility and cooperation amongst stakeholders. It was identifying and seeking further funding opportunities to support heritage and cultural tourism products.

Specific recommendations included:
•Further development and active promotion of the eight World Heritage Sites as anchor tourist attractions;
•Identifying projects for their global significance and demonstrating feasibility for further development and active promotion;
•In collaboration with Provinces, identifying potential projects for further development;
•Allocation of resources in support of the strategy;
•Development of a detailed action plan with roles and responsibilities in support of the implementation of the strategy

Mr Manetsi noted that this would achieve the aim of having a developed rural tourism economy, and help to enhance the growth and development of the rural communities, particularly in the less-visited provinces. This in turn would help to create an enabling environment for rural tourism development to stimulate job creation and local economies.

A summary of the Rural Tourism Strategy of April 2012 was given. The main themes under this were:
- Product development, not limited to funding models and innovation schemes;
- Tourism Marketing, including but not limited to visitation of less visited areas;
- Tourism Skills and Development, including service standards;
- Tourism Support Infrastructure, including but not limited to roads and basic services;
- Tourism Research and Information, including tourism market intelligence.

Certain rural nodes were specifically recommended for tourism development (see attached presentation for provincial breakdown), and maps were tabled, noting how these aligned with the world heritage sites and the 27 priority district municipalities. The National Heritage and Cultural Tourism Strategy made specific recommendations for the further development and promotion of the World Heritage Sites in South Africa, which were declared by UNESCO:

•Robben Island Museum World Heritage Site (which fell under the Department of Arts & Culture)
•Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape
•The Cradle of Humankind (Fossil Hominid Sites)
•uKhahlamba/Drakensberg Park (Cultural Landscape)
•iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site
•Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site
•Cape Floral Kingdom World Heritage Site
•Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape

The location and particular significance of these sites, as well as their dates of declaration were more fully described (see attached presentation), and images of these sites were shown. Implementation strategies for them included a Needs Assessment for the sites, which would be done in the 2013/14 financial year, and raising awareness. Improving the tourist signage and infrastructure was planned in the current and next financial year.

Based on the outcomes of the needs assessment done in the past year, certain critical areas were identified, which included:
- Poor signage
- Lack of adequate tourism Facilities ( e.g. visitor information centres, accommodation, amenities)
- Poor road access in some of the World Heritage Sites
- Lack of effective marketing of World Heritage Sites
- Skills development and training

The NDT, with South African Tourism (SAT) had staged a heritage pavilion, in 2013/14, to showcase and promote the World Heritage Sites, at the 2013 Tourism Indaba, held in Durban. It had hosted a workshop for product owners, and also produced a DVD to effectively promote the cultural diversity and offerings in these sites, which had been presented through the marketing platforms of SAT. Mr Manetsi said that this had resulted in an increased number of visits to the World Heritage Sites, and backed this up by quoting figures.  In the current financial year, NDT, in partnership with the management authorities of the World Heritage Sites, planned to improve signage as part of improving the quality of product offerings, and he tabled some examples and likely costs of R250 000 per site. Improvements in the next year would include further improvements to tourism facilities and infrastructure, and proposals had been submitted to the Expanded Public Works Programme (see attached presentation for likely costs).

Details were then provided for the Maloti Drakensberg Route, which covered parts of the Free State, KwaZulu Natal (KZN), Eastern Cape and Lesotho Mountain Kingdom, an area of around 2   600 km. A country MOU was signed between South Africa and Lesotho to foster bilateral cooperation and regional integration. The NDT had a partnership agreement with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife for the development and promotion of the rural tourism products along Maloti Drakensberg Route (MDR). The contribution made by the NDT over the last three years to support marketing and promotion of this route had been R500 000, and there were also contributions from each of the provinces. Direct jobs created had amounted to around 7 965, of which around 35% were part-time or casual jobs. There were about another 23 074 indirect jobs supported by the tourism spend, and about 31 000 jobs (about 124 120 people) relied directly or indirectly on tourism.

Mr Manetsi then described the NDT efforts to capacity building, following its Capacity Building Programme that had been started in 2013/14, for tourism stakeholders in the district and local municipalities. These were intended to create a platform to build relationships, and provide support to existing initiatives. eneficiares included municipal officials, local community representatives, small businesses, local tourism authorities, cooperatives and traditional leaders.

Mr Manetsi concluded that NDT was already implementing strategies and programmes across all three spheres of government, and trying to create better alignment of plans and programmes, and strengthening cooperation and partnerships between provincial and local government. It was prioritising tourism development in rural economies, supporting enterprise development, particularly in the small business sector, and supporting skills development and training initiatives.

Discussion

Mr L Mokoena (EFF; Free State) noted that filming induced tourism, and there was a growing concept around the world of the benefits of the industry, as illustrated by the making of the film Jurassic Park, where the film also promoted visits to the site of Jurassic Park. He suggested that perhaps money could be invested in commercial films about heritage sites, that would lead to recovery in a similar way. He also suggested that South Africa could help Lesotho in developing its tourism more, because the road to Lesotho also went through South Africa.

Ms D Van Lingen (DA; Eastern Cape) referred to the tourism, culture and country research. She wanted to know what agreements there were in respect of people doing research in the country. She also shared her concerns on balancing conservation and cultural heritage, and said was concerned about the development that could see a certain natural water feature being destroyed by the proposed nuclear plant. She also asked if knowledge about the cultural heritage sites formed part of the educational curriculum, suggesting that if this was not already the case, then they should be included. She noted the name change for Cacadu Municipality, which had been renamed Sarah Baartman Municipality, but complained about poor signage.

Mr Suka agreed that the issue of educating the nation about cultural heritage matters was very critical. He also said the remuneration of workers on these sites must be looked at, to ensure they shared from the profits begin made on these sites.

Mr Y Vawda (EFF; Mpumalanga) said South African wild life has been judged as premier in the world. He was not sure about other attractions specifically, but did want to note that Robben Island had unique things to offer to tourists. There were many other issues that could be capitalised upon; for instance, the Japanese tourists were keen to see the jacaranda trees, given their nation's interest in flowers. He also said that local tourism must not be forgotten; South Africa needed to promote its heritage sites to its own people, especially schools. Referring to the earlier comments on whether crime detracted from tourism, he suggested that this gap could be breached when the gap between the rich and poor was reduced.

Mr S Mthimunye (ANC; Mpumalanga) asked how the Members envisaged integrating enterprise development with tourism. He noted that the Department of Arts and Culture was busy with a project called "Liberation Route", in the interest of regional integration.

The Chairperson agreed with concerns expressed by Members and said that most people did not know about their local or surrounding area's opportunities, and asked if the NDT was looking specifically at how it could make people more aware of the opportunities in their surroundings. He asked about the benefits and involvement of people who lived close to tourism hotspots, and said in areas such as Sun City and Pilanesburg he never witnessed people selling artefacts to tourists, although at the Hector Petersen Memorial in Soweto, there were people selling various products.

Mr  Manetsi said there were plans by the Department of Arts and Culture to deal with deficiencies at Robben Island. On relation to the question of development being a threat to cultural heritage sites, he said, there was a need to preserve the heritage sites, because they were the product being sold to the world and would be irreplaceable when destroyed. He agreed that tourism was the instrument for conservation. He also agreed that issues of education and research were very central, particularly in the context of heritage and cultural research, because it was possible to broaden and share this kind of information with the wider public, including pupils at schools.

With regard to questions on enterprise development he said there was a program called "BEE Tourism", which looked at providing support to emerging small businesses in the tourism sector. Speaking further to the Liberation Route, he noted that there was a Memorandum of Understanding  between the NDT and Department of Arts and Culture.

Ms Morongoe Ramphele, Deputy Director General: Domestic Tourism Management, National Department of Tourism, spoke on the issue of community participation, which she described as a challenge, but said that the NDT was working on this. She noted that training and capacity building was formally conducted by the University of Pretoria, but in addition to this, the NDT was also dealing with traditional leaders within rural areas, local communities and municipality officials. She said that once the NDT had identified a managing company to deal with specific areas of tourism, the goal was to ensure that contracts were extended to locals who lived in these communities.

Ms Ramphele said that the NDT was also invited to be part of the inter-ministerial Committee that looked at the Liberation Route, and said it would comprise other countries like Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland. She said, expanding on Mr Mokoena's point, that there was a DVD available, but agreed that there was room for expansion. She also confirmed that there were plans to align tourism more closely into the education curriculum but at the moment that subject was only available to Tourism and Hospitality learners.

Mr J Londt (DA; Western Cape) noted that it was very important for anyone coming into an area to be able to learn more about the area, and that was also important for the curriculum.

Mr Mokoena spoke of the previously successful media drive, Sho't Left, and said that it was important to get the local people to participate in tourism and visit more of their own country.

Adoption of minutes
The Committee adopted the minutes of the previous meeting.

The meeting was adjourned.
 

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