The Committee was briefed by the National Department of Tourism (NDT) on the draft Tourist Guide Regulations, and was informed that the NDT did not nationally manage the tourist guide qualification framework. However, it collaborated closely with the Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA) and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to ensure that that qualifications framework and the training were up to standard.
The 1994 and 2001 Regulations had referred to annexures A-G, as they were listed in the presentation, but when the Regulations had been gazetted, the actual annexures were never published and that had created inconsistencies with the application processes at Provincial level
. With the 2016 draft Regulations, the NDT had made provision for and standardised the annexures, and they had been provided in the gazetted notice
A socio-economic impact assessment had been required by Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), and some elements of that process had involved evaluating alternative approaches to dealing with the challenges that the tourist guiding sector was facing. Amongst those challenges were illegal guiding and the inconsistencies around how the tourist guiding function is administered mostly at Provincial level. The Department had also come to realise that the cause of the challenges were the gaps in the current legislative framework for tourist guides
, resulting in varying degrees of inconsistencies related to the guiding function.
CATHSSETA certification had been an issue for some time. Guides had been complaining that they had not received their certification. Unfortunately, that situation was not clear cut as there were many other issues involved. These included training providers not having the necessary accreditation, and therefore learners’ details would not be loaded on to the CATHSSETA system, resulting in them not being certified. The NDT had, however, developed a very close working relationship with CATHSSETA, and the institution had some time ago ensured that the Department had access to its learner database. This allowed Provincial Registrars to continue registering tourist guides after verifying on the database that an individual had been deemed competent. This was necessary because the time between verification and when a certificate was actually printed could be about three months, and having access to the database allowed for verification and registration to take place while waiting for a certificate deeming the individual to be competent.
Members asked if it would not be sensible to have a single portal for tourists to access information about attractions, rather than having to use the different Provincial websites. Why was there a need for Provincial Registrars instead of a single entity managing all tourist guides in the land? Were the Provincial websites sufficiently user friendly, as could be expected? What was the projected impact on the current crop of tourist guides with the application of the Regulations from June 2016? It also wanted to know whether tourist guiding was represented in the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA). Did the sector have career-pathing and upward mobility as elements within it? What skills were given to guides?
Draft Regulations: Tourist Guiding
Ms Shamilla Chettiar, Deputy Director General (DDG): Policy and Knowledge Systems, NDT, said that the Department did not nationally manage the tourist guide qualifications framework. However, it collaborated closely with the Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA) and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to ensure that that qualifications framework and the training were up to standard.
She said that the 1994 and 2001 Regulations had referred to annexures A-G, as they were listed in the presentation. However; when the Regulations were gazetted, the actual annexures were never published. This had created inconsistencies, as there was no actual notification that NDT could refer back to which would have published the annexures. With the 2016 draft Regulations, the NDT had made provision for and standardized the annexures, and these were provided in the gazetted notice. The new draft Regulations had clarified other aspects relating to the procedure to register tourist guides. They were aligned to the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), which had not been in place regarding the Regulations from 1994 and 2001.
A pre-socioeconomic impact assessment system (SEIAS) had been carried out already, which related to the promulgation of the draft Regulations and their impact, and the NDT’s mitigation role.
Ms Uveshnee Pillay, Director: Tourist Guiding, NDT, said that the SEIAS process was required by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), and some elements of that process involved evaluating alternative approaches to deal
ing with the challenges that the tourist guiding sector was facing. It was also become important that the NDT develop draft Regulations, as there was an Act mandating the Department to do so.
Among the concerns raised, illegal guiding was also discussed and the inconsistencies around how the NDT was administering the tourist guiding function at the Provincial level.
The NDT understood that the CATHSSETA certification had been an issue for some time, as guides had been complaining that they had not received their certifications. Unfortunately, that situation had not been clear cut, as there were a lot of embedded issues involved. These had included training providers not having the necessary accreditation, and therefore learner details would not be loaded on to the CATHSSETA system, resulting in learners not being certified. The NDT had, however, developed a very close working relationship with CATHSSETA, and the institution had some time ago ensured that the Department had access to its learner database. This allowed Provincial Registrars to continue registering tourist guides after verifying on the database that an individual had been deemed competent. This was necessary because the time between verification and when a certificate was actually printed could be about three months, and having access to the database allowed for verification and registration while waiting for a certificate deeming the individual to be competent.
The Act was quite clear on how the NDT was to deal with illegal guides. The procedure was that complaints that disclosed an offence could be brought to Provincial Registrars so that they could then lay a charge with the South African Police Services (SAPS). This meant the enforcement around illegal guiding was a competence of SAPS. However, the NDT and Provincial Registrars had always been pro-active in the area of illegal guiding, to the extent that it had launched numerous awareness campaigns, and had partnered with law enforcement agencies to conduct inspections at key attractions where a high number of illegal guiding activities were reported. There had been information pamphlets published targeting consumers, tourist guides and the general public. The awareness process was an ongoing exercise at airports and other access points into the country, to encourage compliance.
Ms Nonkqubela Silulwane, Chief Director (CD): Research, Information and Knowledge Management, NDT, said the Department had been consulting with the Department of Transport (DoT) on a number of issues, one of which was the vehicle-carrying capacity as per the current legislation regarding guiding. That function had gone to the DoT, and was no longer a mandate of the NDT, and the DoT already had legislation which established Provincial entities for the registration of tourist services vehicles. Those entities had been scheduled for establishment by February 2016, but this had not happened due to delays. The NDT was continually engaging with the DoT on the matter. The tourism industry had brought some of these issues to the attention of Minister Derek Hanekom, who had arranged a forthcoming bilateral meeting with the DoT to discuss tour operators and vehicle carrying capacity.
Ms Mmaditonki Setwaba, CD: Legal Services Unit said that the reason the NDT had brought the annexures to the draft Regulations had been to ensure that the Department could collect as much information as possible for the database. From the application of the current Regulations which the drafts Regulations were to repeal, the NDT could see that upon application of the new Regulations there would be much more information collected. This would make the administration of the draft Regulations more simplified and enable NDT to know what was happening in the tourist guiding sector and what needed to be improved.
Mr J Vos (DA) asked if it would not be sensible to have a single portal for tourists to access information about attractions, rather than the different Provincial websites. Why was there a need for Provincial Registrars, instead of a single entity managing all tourist guides in the land? The issue was that some provinces lacked capacity and in others the Provincial NDT was not as prominent as it could be. Would that not impact on their efficiency to manage that particular aspect of administering the Act?
The draft Regulations were coming at a good time, as the NDT was busy implementing the recommendations of the South African Tourism (SAT) review. What would the NDT do to ensure that the narrative was in line with the high standards expected of SA tour guides? It was also important that the draft Regulations be subjected to regulatory impact assessments, as the Committee would recall recently with the tourist visa debacle, where it had been strongly reflected that those visa Regulations had not been subjected to any regulatory impact assessments. Would the draft Regulations be subjected to such regulatory impact assessments?
The Chairperson asked whether Provincial websites were sufficiently user friendly, as could be expected.
Ms E Masehela (ANC) asked about the structure of the fines -- what could the minimum fine be, as only the maximum had been stipulated? What was the projected impact on the current crop of tourist guides with the application of the Regulations from June 2016?
The Chairperson asked whether the National Registrar responsible for tourist guiding was a new appointment in a new portfolio, or was the appointee someone who had been within NDT structures all along? What capacity building initiatives did the NDT have?
Ms Silulwane said her responsibility was that of National Registrar of tourist guides including research to inform some of the national programmes and strategic interventions within the tourist guiding sector as well as the establishment of a centralised database and systems amongst others. Ms Pillay had been responsible for the tourist guiding function in KwaZulu Natal (KZN) and the Western Cape (WC) previously and was therefore quite capacitated in that regard and that they worked well together.
The Chairperson asked whether tourist guiding was represented in the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA).
Ms Pillay replied that they were to a certain degree, as there were a number of associations representing tourist guiding. Among these was the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) which dealt mainly with the nature guiding sector and was a member of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA).
The Chairperson asked whether tourist guiding had career-pathing and upward mobility as elements within the sector? What skills were given to guides?
Ms Pillay said that the current tourist guide NQF was made up of theoretical, practical and newly-introduced workplace experience components. However, there were generic skills that were supposed to be given to tourist guides that were not being imparted as they entered the sector. This was why the NDT had the challenge of inconsistencies in the quality of guiding. What is usually covered had at the entry level were the basics of how to conduct a tour in a particular site and important skills relating to research, dealing with clients and various group dynamics etc. were not included.
At NQF level 4 for the full qualification, all the above was included as unit standards, together with how to use a computer and other technology, how to do profiling and how to understand the cultural differences within one’s groups of visitors as generic skills taught to guides. The challenge then became that some of the training providers wanted to teach all the knowledge there was about sites, even though much of it was outdated. Therefore there was a need to update the content, involving tourism authorities and marketing agencies, and to then come together to set minimum requirements around the content. A training provider had to be able to give a guide adequate research skills so that the guide could collate information to provide it at a given site efficiently.
The Chairperson asked what NDT’s role in that regard was, as it was responsible for promoting tourism. Did the SAT have any role in this area? Had Ms Setwaba ever received any complaints around tourist guiding and if so, what was the nature of the complaints?
Ms Setwaba replied that generally complaints were around improper conduct involving non-compliance to an agreement between a tourist guide and his/her tourist. Generally it would be an issue of a guide not arriving to take their tourist to a particular site, or arriving quite late. Since tourist guides signed-up to a code of conduct, the Provincial Registrars were empowered to take disciplinary action against them when complaints were lodged. When the tourism complaints office received complaints, the Act provided that they had to be referred to the Provincial Registrars. The complaints office followed-up with the Provincial Registrars to establish what steps had been taken and to ensure that a complaint had been resolved.
Ms Chettiar said that the NDT would definitely provide feedback on a post-SEIAS to ensure that there was proper compliance, and that the impact from both a regulatory and an economic perspective was understood before finalising the Regulations.
Everyone was aware that training was a major challenge, especially in respect of who did it and whether it was correct. The bigger challenge for the NDT was that it was a key influencer. However, it was not its mandate to be responsible for the framework and training programmes. The NDT would continue to lobby and advocate for proper training in its role as a key influencer, a stakeholder and on behalf of its sector. The NDT’s core mandate was managing the Regulations.
Ms Pillay said that the Act allowed Provincial Registrars and the National Registrar to not only register tourist guides but to provide training and develop the sector through monitoring trends and publishing information about tourist guides as well. That was the benefit to the sector for those within it. The legislation is intended to provide benefits to attract people to the sector -- one has to be passionate about guiding to enter the sector. Once tourist guides are in the system there are a number of opportunities that tourist guides can benefit from. Additional benefits emanated from the bilateral agreements SA had with other countries for those on the tourist guide database, such as foreign language training opportunities. The NDT will be developing a tourist guide’s application (APP’s) for smart mobiles and tablets, and that could also be seen as another way of promoting tourist guides.
The Chairperson asked whether the NDT had partnered with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) around the skills required by tourist guides. She then thanked the NDT and released the delegation.
Consideration of Portfolio Committee minutes
The Committee considered and adopted its minutes for 8 April 2016, with substantive amendments. These were related to a discussion with the NDT on closer cooperation between the Department and other departments to get the issue of signage addressed.
It also considered its minutes for 14 April. The Chairperson said she remembered the issue of signage at the briefing on 14 April, instead of 8 April. The Committee agreed that at both meetings the issue of signage had come with the briefing by SAT, where it had been proposed that interpretive signage be established to give a short interpretation of the significance of heritage sites in SA. The minutes of were adopted with substantive amendments as well.
Mr Jerry Boltina, Committee Secretary, said the minutes of 21 April related to the Committee adopting its budget vote report, as all Members were aware. It was an internal set of minutes in which all points of deliberation had been included in the budget vote report which had already been debated in Parliament on 3 May. Those minutes were therefore not considered.
The Chairperson noted that the Committee’s integrated oversight draft report with the Departments of Arts and Culture (DAC) and Environmental Affairs (DEA) in KwaZulu Natal had been sent to the office of the House Chairperson, and it had not been returned yet. She asked the views of the Committee on that as she felt it had to be followed up, as a lot of money had been used during the trip.
Mr G Krumbock (DA) concurred with the Chairperson that there had to be an account of how the money had been used by the Committees jointly.
The Chairperson thanked Members for attending the meeting and the proceedings were adjourned.
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