The Committee considered and adopted its proposed Plan for the First Term of 2018. The Committee discussed the matter of changing its scheduled meeting date from Friday to Wednesday. The Committee stated that due to the amount of activity currently taking place in Parliament, it has decided to limit the amount of activity during the first three months of the year. The matter of tourists’ attacks taking place on Table Mountain was discussed and it was agreed that a meeting would be arranged with the Table Mountain authorities in order to deal with this problem. The Committee welcomed the idea of an International Study as well as the extension of the scope of Homestays. The broadened effect of the drought on the Tourism Industry as well as interventions pertaining to the effect of day zero on the industry of Tourism was also discussed.
First Term Committee Programme
The Chairperson stated that the agenda for the meeting was to go through the Committee's programme for the First Term of 2018.
The Chairperson then asked Mr Jerry Boltina, the Committee Secretary, to take the Committee through the Committee Term Plan.
Mr Boltina greeted the Committee and thanked the Chairperson. He asked Members to refer to the memorandum which was attached to the Committee Term Plan. This memorandum came from the office of the House Chairperson that was sent to all Chairpersons. It indicated to Committees the issues that they needed to focus on during this first quarter of 2018.
Mr Boltina told the Committee that based on the framework and outline set out in the memorandum; there has been a term plan which has been developed for the Committee of tourism.
Mr Boltina said that the programme was sensitive towards the issues and points which were raised by the Committee for a certain amount of time, which included the inconvenience of having meetings on a Friday. As a solution, the meetings would be held on Wednesday instead of Friday and that depending on the other Committees, lunchtime would be used as a slot.
Mr Boltina commented that since there were a number of activities that were taking place, they did not want to overload parliament during the first three months of the year, and hence, they decided to limit the number of activities taking place during the first quarter with regards to their Portfolio.
Mr Boltina stated that another observation was that there have been incidents pertaining to tourist attacks, particularly on Table Mountain. These incidents have been in the media as of late. In this regard, there is a proposal for an engagement with the Table Mountain authorities so that the Committee can go to Table Mountain and be given an explanation and presentation on what exactly is going on, and get some more insight on the security measures put in place to ensure the safety of the tourists and locals who frequent Table Mountain.
The Chairperson agreed that a meeting with SANParks should be arranged.
Mr Boltina continued to state that the department is expecting a number of invitations from the Minister with regards to Meetings Africa, their research campaign and Tourism Indaba for 2018. Although these invitations have not been received as of yet, he assured the Committee that they could expect these invitations soon.
The final point made by Mr Boltina was that when they departed in November of 2017, there was an understanding amongst the Committee that there was a need for an International Study Tour. The only thing which prevented the Committee form doing this was the memo which came from the office of the House Chair where it was indicated that due to a lack of funds, the International study Tour would not be possible. The Committee agreed that in order to aid this, they have rescheduled this Study Tour to April instead of March, since this will see the start of the new financial year.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Boltina and stated that in a nutshell, the points raised by Secretary were just to update the Committee on the intended plans going forward. Secondly, she stated that if there should be any disappointments from the House Chair, then there isn’t much that they as a Committee can do. However, they do hope that the International Study Tour is made possible as they have never had one. It was important that a discussion take place with Mr Cedric Frolick with regards to the Friday meetings because it is an inconvenience to Committee Members.
Ms S Xego (ANC) greeted the rest of the Committee and agreed that the meeting held to discuss the Term Plan was an important one, and that she approves of the proposed Term Plan as she feels its meets the requirements proposed by the House Chair. With regards to the Wednesday meetings which were agreed to by all members, she questioned why there was such a lack of attendance today, and speculated that perhaps its due this being the first meeting of the year. She thanked the secretary for the efficient communication made to members.
Ms Xego agreed that there needs to be a meeting with the authorities of Table Mountain because there needs to be improved safety measures put in place, especially if the numbers of visitors to the mountain increases. The issue of Homestays should be taken seriously, since it proved to be a huge success in the Eastern Cape when that province hosted the African National Congress, and there was a shortage of beds. Ms Xego proposed an extension of the scope of Homestays.
On the Study Tour, Ms Xego agreed that the idea should be welcomed and that before work could be done by the Content Advisor in this regard there should be more research done on the country which they choose to visit so that before they go on the Tour, they have sufficient knowledge of their surroundings. Lastly, she concluded that she agreed with the proposed plan and thanked the Chairperson.
Ms E Masehela (ANC) agreed that Friday meetings should be moved to Wednesday and that a discussion should be held with Mr Frolick. She hoped that the issue is taken with good faith. With regards to the Study Tour, she seconded that the Committee has never undertaken an International Study Tour and that perhaps the Chairperson could push for and make mention of the Study Tour before the new financial year so that there won’t be any issues. Finally, she endorsed the Term Plan as well, stating that it covers all the requirements as set out by the House Chair.
The Chairperson thanked the Committee for the stellar work they have done in the past. She acknowledged that even though there have been inconveniences with travelling and transportation in the past, members still made sure that they attend the meetings. Whenever questions are put forth Tourism is not always prioritised, and that it is a worry since it is a gem and it should be treated as such.
The Chairperson also thanked the Communications officer before proceeding to read out the apologies of those not in attendance.
Dr Sibusiso Khuzwayo, Committee Content Advisor, added on to those observations made by the Chairperson and said that it is the duty of the Committee to alert members to whatever is happening in the industry. Tourism is also concerned about other phenomenon such as natural disasters and the outbreak of diseases like Ebola since it affects the industry.
Dr Khuzwayo said the drought should not be reduced to only a lack of water; there was also an economic impact as well as an effect on other sectors, like Tourism in particular. This is being raised so that Members know that what is currently going on in the Western Cape might have serious repercussions on the Tourism sector. There are interventions that are being done but Day Zero has been brought forward to 12 April. There is word that economic hubs such as the city centre will not be affected. Should day zero arrive, Tourism will be seriously affected because Government is stating that Cape Town is still open for Tourism and should these trips be cancelled, most of the country will be affected along with Cape Town since trips which are booked for Cape Town usually include visits to places like the Eastern Cape. There are no statistics with regards to how many cancellations have been made as of yet, but as soon as that information is available, it will be sent to the Committee.
Ms Melanie Titus, Parliamentary Liason Officer, Department of Tourism, said that with regards to the meetings on Wednesdays the minister might not be able to attend due to it clashing with cabinet days; however there will be confirmation as to when the Minister will be able to attend the Wednesday meetings so that the Minister can touch base with the Committee. The Deputy Minister however, will be available on cabinet days since the Deputy Minister does not attend cabinet meetings.
The Chairperson acknowledged the remarks made and thanked everyone for attending once again.
The meeting was adjourned.
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