The Committee considered the Portfolio Committee of Tourism legacy report from the Fifth Parliament. It indicated that in the past two years, 2017and 2018, there had been a decline in tourism and in its contribution to the country’s GDP. The report spoke of the potential markets to be developed, such as the medical niche because of relatively low costs and the high standard of medical procedures offered in the country. Other niche markets included wildlife. A major issue affecting tourism in the country was the rate of crime. The report provided solutions to the problems, and suggestions as to how to mitigate crime in the country. The Provincial Member of the Executive Committee should have been holding meetings with all the districts but that did not happen in all provinces which had resulted in a disjuncture between the approach of the national and provincial levels of government.
Members discussed the input extensively, determined to put matters to rights in the area of tourism. The Committee decided that it should implement its own vision for the Sixth Parliament.
The main concern of the Committee was the lack of investment in rural areas which had not been benefitting from the investments allocated to tourism. Members stressed the need for inclusiveness in tourism marketing and for the development of rural, township and small-town areas so that they could benefit from tourism and the income generated to address unemployment, inequality and poverty. Tourism would be used to deal with issues of unemployment, inequality and poverty which were prevalent in rural areas and small towns. The Committee wanted to see tangible achievements in townships. Members noted that marine tourism had become a lucrative business but many people from areas next to the seas were poor and could not afford to get into market.
Issues of oversight were raised as Members of the Committee in the Fifth Parliament had not been given approval to oversee funded events such as the Indaba Tourism Expo or to explore the successes in tourism in Kenya.
The Committee agreed that tourism was an intersectoral industry required participation from all the relevant stakeholders and collaboration should be enforced at the Cabinet level, amongst parliamentary Committees through joint oversight work, and through the three spheres of government.
Members suggested joint Committee meetings should be held with the relevant Committee on the safety of tourists and on International Relations around joint marketing agreements. A Member suggested that each of the Members should collaborate in developing five-year objectives to be achieved during the Committee’s term of office. One Member called for an amendment of the constitutional mandate because it did not enable the national Department of Tourism to have adequate oversight over provincial departments.
The new Tourism Amendment Bill was gazetted for comment in 2019 and would be prioritised.
Two critical points emerged from the meeting: the need for joint meetings with the Portfolio Committee on Police every six months for the next year, and a quarterly oversight meeting of the Minister and the Members of the Executive Councils in provinces.
The Chairperson welcomed the Committee Members. The main item on the agenda was the Legacy Report of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism in the Fifth Parliament, which would be presented by the Content Advisor to the Committee.
The Chairperson read out the apologies.
Mr M de Freitas (DA) suggested that the presentation should be conducted first and questions, recommendations, and concerns should be raised after the presentation had been concluded.
The Committee agreed.
Presentation of the Fifth Parliament Legacy Report on Tourism 2014 - 2019
Dr Sibusiso Khuzwayo, Committee Content Advisor, presented the report. He informed Members of the suggestion that South Africa should develop its own man-made attractions like Disneyland, which would attract tourists. As America had done, South Africa should create man-made sites to bring more tourists to the country.
Accessibility was a key factor in the development of tourism and so adequate land, air and water transportation enabling tourists to reach the destinations was critical. Issues of suppressed demand sometimes related to affordability. The Committee should look for ways to make tourism more affordable, including the cost of flights. Most people came to South Africa because of its wildlife. It was important for South Africa to preserve its wildlife because it was a huge tourist attraction. Some people came to South Africa to shop because some of the products were cheap. South Africa had some of the best medical facilities in the world which were very cheap for those with foreign currency and so people came to South Africa for medical procedures. That was a market South Africa needed to explore. Hotels should be encouraged to invest in rural areas.
Tourism unlocked opportunities. The Department of Tourism should be asked to brief the Committee on what had it done to ensure communities were benefiting from tourism. For tourism to benefit communities, support services had to be rendered to those communities, some of which were near game reserves and other well-known tourist destinations. The Committee had to determine how to make South Africa a tourist-attractive place that could compete with other destinations. Travelling to South Africa should be made smooth and easy in terms of visas. All the relevant government Departments should do everything to possible to ensure that. South Africa should brand itself across the world and deal with issues such as crime that affect the image of the country. Some governments had issued travel advisories for South Africa, warning travellers to exercise caution due to what they described as high levels of crime. Safety should be prioritized to ensure tourism in South Africa did not decline.
Other destinations such as Kenya had overtaken South Africa in term of growth in tourism. The lack of growth affected the contribution of tourism to the GDP. In 2017 tourism had contributed 8.9 % the GDP and 8.6% in 2018. Employment had declined from 1.5 million in 2017 (9.5 % total of employment in the country) to 1.44 million (9.2% total employment in the country) in 2018. However, there had been some improvement in accommodation figures in 2018. Of the top ten countries that tourists came from, the United Kingdom was number one followed by the USA, which had overtaken France and Germany. The Chinese market was growing throughout the world and would soon become a driving force for outbound tourism. There were over 23 million outbound tourist departures from India in 2017 and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) expected that figure to more than double in 2020. The Department of Tourism should capitalize on the growth in tourism in those countries. There had been a decline in domestic tourism.
There was a strong global movement go back to Africa. African Americans were going back to Africa, particularly Western African countries. Some people were examining their DNA to indicate were they had originated from; others just wanted to go back to the motherland. That market should be explored because those people would bring a lot of money into the country.
Effects of wildlife interaction
The safari niche market had been marred by the growing of wild animal interactions and canned hunting that had damaged the country's brand as a champion of wildlife conservation. The Department needed to engage relevant stakeholders, such as the South Africa Tourist Services Association (SATSA) to facilitate the development of a proactive campaign to address the effects of animal interactions on the tourism industry.
Jobs in tourism
Most jobs did not come from accommodation, but from business. Road passenger transport accounted for 30% of the jobs, food and beverage service, 20%, and accommodation,19%. The Committee should focus on helping people in poor communities to start businesses, such as African cuisine restaurants, rather than accommodation because tourist did not sleep in townships. However, they went to townships during the day for activities. Tourist attraction sites and restaurants had the potential to make more money than bed and breakfast accommodation. The Department had to develop good oversight to ensure when offering training in skills, those trained went on to open their own businesses to ensure that tourism grew in their local areas. For example, the Committee should look at how many of those trained as chefs had opened their own businesses.
Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR)
The domestic market was dominated by the VFR segment but could be converted into leisure tourism. For example, “Friends coming home for a funeral” should be drawn into tourist activities. Religious tourism in Limpopo was huge and so domestic tourism in Limpopo exceeded that of other provinces. People travelling on religious trips should also be encouraged to engage in tourist activities.
Marine and Coastal Tourism
The Department had developed the Marine and Coastal Tourism Implementation Plan. That was a major opportunity for tourism as there was a huge market in Marine Tourism. People loved to watch whales and paid a lot of money to go out on boats to watch the whales, especially between August and September. It was a lucrative business in the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal. However, one needed a permit to operate in the market and a minimum of R1.5 million in a bank account. The iSmangaliso community had issues with permits and the R1.5 million stipulation, which prevented people in the community from entering that market. There needed to be some mechanism to deal with the issue. The Tourism Transformation Fund should be used to help assist the people of iSmangaliso to break into the market and unlock opportunities for those who live close to the ocean.
Approval of Oversight Visits
Applications for oversight visits had not been approved for the previous Committee, not even the events that the Committee had to report on, including the Tourism Indaba. It was important for Members to attend those government-funded events.
September was tourism month in the world and coincided with heritage month in South Africa. Members of the Committee had always been invited to the heritage month events. It was not possible to attend functions in the current year. However, moving forward, the Committee had to observe tourism month.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution
The Fourth Industrial Revolution might affect traditional jobs. Skills should be provided to ensure that people caught up with technological advances.
All levels of government work should work together to ensure that that tourism did well throughout the country. There needed to be a link between national and provincial Tourism departments to ensure effective oversight. The provincial departments had to meet with districts and local government. That did not happen in all provinces.
The new Tourism Amendment Bill was gazetted for comment in 2019 and would be prioritised.
Issues identified by the Fifth Parliament had not been addressed. The Bill was mainly focused on the sharing of the economy and issues of bed and breakfast establishments. Members had to have the correct information about what was happening in that sphere before the Bill arrived. The Bill should be prioritized.
The Chairperson opened the floor for discussion.
Mr P Moteka (EFF) stated that the presentation was very informative, because some of the Members of the Committee, including himself, were new to the field of tourism. He suggested that there should be combined meetings between the Portfolio Committee on Tourism and that of Arts and Culture to resolve issues pertaining to museums that belonged to the Arts and Culture Department. The two Committees needed to discuss how they would resolve those issues. Some of the issues Mr Moteka raised included the lack of investment in rural areas which had not been benefitting from the investments allocated to tourism. There had been less progress in those areas because of a lack of funding and Investments. He requested a report, from 2012 onwards, stating what has been done to ensure that rural areas were benefiting from tourism and what efforts had been made to ensure that people from rural areas benefitted from tourism.
Mr Moteka said there was a need for an amendment of the constitutional mandate because it did not enable the National Department of Tourism to have adequate oversight of provincial departments. That led to a lack of accountability and the misuse of funds. The previous year when Mr Moteka had been in the Portfolio Committee on Sports and Recreation, some provincial administrators had misused funds given by the national Department but were never punished. How could the National Department of Tourism allocate money to provincial departments but not be able to reprimand culprits when state funds were misused or not properly allocated? The National Department should be allowed to punish and reprimand those responsible for corruption. Sometimes the Committee only went once to a province during its term of office and sometimes it did not even have the time to go to some provinces. How was the Committee following up on the provinces and making sure things were happening on the ground? The purpose of the Committee was to make sure that the person on the ground felt part of South Africa.
Mr Moteka stated that performance should not be measured by the expenditure figures because some people spent most of the funds in the fourth quarter to avoid being in trouble the following year. There had to be a classification of how much of the 98% of the expenditure that the Department claimed to have spent was wasteful and fruitless expenditure and how many people were responsible for that expenditure. The Committee should know when it came to expenditure how much was allocated to each activity and how that money had been spent, so that there was better oversight of expenditure.
Mr Moteka stated that Parliament had prevented the Committee from going to Kenya, which was currently the most attractive tourist destination in Africa, to see what Kenya was doing and why Kenya was doing so well in tourism. Committees that were led by women were frequently denied requests to undertake oversight visits.
Ms M Gomba (ANC) rose on a point of order. She was offended by Mr Moteka’s remarks about Committees led by women.
The Chairperson clarified the point that Mr Moteka was trying to make to Ms Gomba, who had misunderstood his statement. The Chairperson explained that Mr Moteka was saying that most Committees led by women were denied requests to undertake oversight visits, such as the trip to Kenya, because of the existing patriarchal practices in Parliament.
Mr Moteka thanked the Chairperson for his explanation and added that his comments should not be misunderstood but they were based on experience. His previous Committee, the Portfolio Committee on Sports and Recreation, was led by a woman who had been undermined by patriarchal practices in Parliament. Disapproval of requests by women-led Committees was common.
Mr Moteka claimed marine tourism was not accessible to black people because of the of R1.5 million required before a business could enter the sector. Not too many black people had that kind of money, especially in black areas and townships. It was disadvantageous to black people. Transformation and empowerment of the poor could not be achieved. He asked the Committee who was being empowered if those people that the Members wanted to empower could not enter the market. He stated that the R 1.5 million stipulation was racist, because it prevented blacks from being involved in the tourism market and the law should be abolished. The stipulation was similar to the apartheid laws because black people were the ones who would be affected because they would not be able to afford it.
Mr H April (ANC) thanked the Chairperson and reminded the Committee that it was his first contribution to the Committee and that it was nice to be part of the Committee. He said that some years earlier there had been a ‘sho’-left’ tourism marketing campaign run by the Department of Tourism which had encouraged South Africans to travel locally as part of domestic tourism. Did the Content Advisor know what the program had yielded in term of domestic tourism and whether it had contributed to tourism because it had looked like an effective tool?
He added that he wanted to make a contribution. He commuted from the city of Ekurhuleni which had the biggest airport in the continent, but the presence of tourism there was almost non- existent. There was so much potential to engage the tourist that landed on South Africa’s shores and to direct them strategically about where to go, what to do and what to see once they were in South Africa, but the Department of Tourism never seemed to be present at the airport. A good strategy at the airport could direct tourist to various tourist attractions areas. A lot of money was spent on marketing by the Department of Tourism. Most money was spent marketing overseas. There was a bit of an imbalance in marketing.
Mr April suggested that there were tourist attractions in small towns and great economic opportunities that needed to be explored, such as in the Northern Cape where mining was a huge economic driver. The Committee and Department of Tourism were not doing enough to direct tourist and investors to such areas. There was also an open mine in Kimberley. Those were some of the areas that needed to be explored. He added the information presented in the legacy report was overwhelming and a person might not be able to make sense of it all. He would read up because he was not yet accustomed to the tourism field. He stated there were a lot of things he still needed to learn about what was happening in the Committee.
He asked what the role of Dr Khuzwayo was in the Department of Tourism, and who the Accounting Officers at the Department were, because he wanted to know if Dr Khuzwayo had the capacity to respond to the questions that the Committee was asking him.
The Chairperson clarified that Dr Khuzwayo was not part of the Department but was the Content Advisor for the Committee. He also informed Ms Gomba that he and Dr Khuzwayo agreed that the section of the presentation which had talked about man-made sites should be changed to person-made sites to avoid being sexist and to be more inclusive.
Mr E Myeni (ANC) suggested that the Committee should deal with gap between developed tourist sites and developing tourist sites and should decide what they should do in order to close the gap. He suggested that the Committee should ensure that communities close to tourist destination that were not involved or active in any tourism activities became involved and participated in the tourism activities. The Committee needed to find a way to make sure that those communities were included in nearby tourist economic activities.
Mr H Gumbi (DA) thanked the Chairperson for the opportunity and suggested that the Committee should organise joint-Committee meetings with other relevant Portfolio Committees. He acknowledged that other Committees had programmes which were different from that of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism, but the first joint Committee meeting should be with the relevant Committee on the safety of tourists. Other joint Committee meetings should be with Portfolio Committee on International Relations around joint marketing agreements because marketing should be a huge part of an embassy’s job. The Committee could facilitate arrangements with travel companies, which a large portion people still used. Another aspect for the Committee to look at was the online sites, which should be used to market South Africa tourism to the world.
Mr Gumbi asked what initiatives there were with airlines to ensure that the cost of flying to South African was lowered. Visas should be one of the aspects of travel dealt with to ensure the cost of coming to South Africa was low. The best report tourist destinations around the world, like Thailand, had a comprehensive offering from cuisine to the climate. South Africa had a favourable climate, for sporting events and other outdoor activities, as well as the facilities. He added the cost of going to Thailand was very low. In order to attract more people to South Africa the Committee had to find ways to drop the costs of travelling to South Africa. If the costs were high, there would be a proliferation of low-cost flight search engines which would present another challenge.
Ms Gomba asked if there were safety and security strategies to protect tourists when they came to South Africa, especially in the hot spot areas, where tourists were targeted. Such dangers would cause tourism to decline.
Ms Gomba stated that the performance audit for the Department of Tourism did not provide enough information as it did not state whether there was a follow-up on construction and whether it had been done or not. She asked if Parliament had a project management system, and personnel, that followed up on the progress of construction.
She urged the Committee to improve the marketing strategy to include those who had previously been excluded, especially in rural areas and townships. Only a few places were being marketed despite 26 years since the inception of democracy. New, emerging tourist destinations were not being marketed and the focus was still on the old established tourist destinations. New, emerging tourist destinations would be interesting to tourists who had already been to the old established destinations. If new destinations were not promoted, tourists would become bored from visiting the same sites over and over again. Expenditure on already existing tourist products should stop, and money should be spent on the emerging and not yet established sites.
Ms L Makhubele-Mashele (ANC) stated that the Committee should appreciate the legacy report and the key findings of the Fifth Parliament and should move on to implementing its own vision and the legacy of the Sixth Parliament. She requested that the Committee determine what it would like to influence, so it could be achieved in the entire tourism space. She said the Committee must be able to leave a blueprint and after five years say that that was the blueprint of the Portfolio Committee of Tourism. The Committee needed to engage various tourism stakeholders regarding how funding could be channelled to small towns. The Committee could talk as much as it liked about how much it wanted tourism to benefit everyone, including those in the rural areas, but as long as the conceptualisation of tourism and how the Department ran tourism - and how tourism stakeholders impacted the tourism environmental space - did not change, the Committee would not make any progress in achieving that goal.
Ms Makhubele-Mashele claimed the Department supported already established tourist business. It did not fund people who wanted to establish new tourist attraction sites or to extend their businesses.
The Tourism Transformation Fund was only just being established. The conceptualisation of the Tourism Fund was not concerned with small town investments, and supporting local tourism stakeholders, who were trying to establish their own businesses in the sector.
Mrs Makhubele –Mashele told the Content Advisor that he needed to discuss how stakeholders could be requested to invest money in townships. She added that municipalities did not budget for tourism because they had limited resources and were unable to put money aside to develop tourism products such as destination and attractions sites. The Department should assist them with training and expose them to the Tourist Indaba and other platforms.
She suggested that Members should produce objectives relating to what they would like to achieve in the next five years. Then there could be a discussion about which of the ideas could be implemented, which were too radical, and which still needed to be developed. The Committee wanted to see tangible achievements in townships. That was part of the strategic objectives of Parliament and their manifestos. When Members campaigned, they made promises to the people about what they were going to do for them.
Instead of asking the Department of Tourism how it had implemented the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS), the Committee should decide on the policy environment it wanted to create for the NTSS to be implemented. What policy environments were hindering the implementation of the NTSS?
Mrs Makhubele –Mashele suggested that the Committee should lay a foundation for the Department to implement the strategy. The Bed and breakfast (BnB) establishments needed a policy environment that Parliament had to regulate instead of allowing self-regulation. How could the Department implement the strategy if the Committee itself did not lay the foundation for it to do so? She asked the Content Advisor how many of the BnB's that were built in 2010 were still functioning, how many had collapsed, and what caused them to collapse.
The Chairperson reminded the Committee that at the beginning of June the Committee had decided that tourism would be used to deal with issues of unemployment, inequality and poverty which were prevalent in rural areas and small towns. The Minister had spoken about rebranding and renewing the country's economy through tourism in every small village, township and small town without compromising the already existing tourist establishments. Tourism infrastructure had to reach all those areas without compromising the already existing establishments. The already established sites would be maintained and not neglected. The Department of Tourism should have a presence in all those areas and ensure that all support for tourism existed, including infrastructure, security and safety, transportation and communication. The Committee needed people from those areas who would conduct oversight and report to the Committee through gadgets and technological ways of communicating.
The Chairperson claimed that tourism should be able to create jobs for young people and women. Those communities needed skills that could be used to create tourism opportunities for themselves. He suggested tourism should be taught at primary school. Young kids should be taught about tourism in the early grades so that they could go home to their parents with suggestions of places to visit. The Department had to implement that strategy to encourage tourism within the family framework. Parents would want to visit those places because their kids encouraged them. Kids should be taught the value of tourism at a young age to boost the prospects of tourism in the country.
Response by the Content Advisor
The Content Advisor informed Ms Makhubele- Mashele that many of BnB's were not up to world standards in term of the infrastructure and the services they offered. Some were not properly built.
The Content Advisor stated that there had to be a summit to deal with the issues raised concerning travel costs and flight costs. Some provinces, such as the Western Cape, already had a partnership with the private sector in terms of funding some of those issues. Regarding the safety and security strategy, he advised that the government was still developing a safety and security strategy. The Committee had to support the Department in the policy environment and provide oversight to see what had been achieved and what had not been achieved, and to identify areas of policy uncertainty.
The Chairperson stated that the Department and the private sector would have to agree with the Committee that the focus should change. Tourism had to invest in townships, small towns and rural areas in order to eradicate poverty, and decrease unemployment and inequality, which were the three most prevalent issues in those areas. There had to be continuity in tourism in those areas and if something went wrong, people had to be able to fix the problem. The oversight structure in those areas had to be able to send information to the Committee as it would become the Committee's eyes and ears concerning what was happening in those areas on a daily basis.
He suggested that the Committee should talk to the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) about the disjuncture between institutional arrangements at the provincial and local levels and what was happening in the Committee in Parliament. It should look for solutions to solve the problem.
He suggested that the Committee should hold a quarterly Minister and Members of the Executive Councils (MINMEC) meeting and with SALGA to discuss the oversight perspective and if anyone misled the Committee, it could say that the oversight forum had sent different information. The people on the ground would help the Committee do effective oversight as they did not lie.
The Chairperson said that the Committee had to push people towards developing tourism in rural areas; some areas did not know anything about tourism. Despite 26 years of talk about those other areas, they still did not have tourist destinations. Tourism in townships was limited to Chesa Nyama’s and BnB's. Tourism was broader than that. There had to be other attractions added in those areas to open the market and to attract more tourists and capital into those areas. The school curriculum should be changed so that it focused more on tourism and taught tourism to kids at a primary level.
The Content Advisor noted that the Members of the Committee had covered most of the issues and that he and the supporting staff had a lot homework to do following the discussion. He noted a recommendation about developing an oversight model for the Committee which would include a five-year strategic plan. Once Parliament had finalised its strategic plan, the Committee needed to do some serious strategic planning.
Concerning a joint Committee meeting, the Content Advisor said that he would develop concept documents for all the issues mentioned in the meeting. He had sent a concept paper to Members for the Safety and Security workshop which was to be held the following week.
As to travel cost issues, the Content Advisor said that a summit on the airlift in the country should be held to discuss how airlifts would deal with the issues raised in the meeting about the cost of travel. Two provinces would tell the Committee how they had managed to successfully partner with the private sector in terms of funding the cost of flights as a lesson to other provinces. He had already started talking to some small towns. For example, there were few flights to Limpopo and only one airline flew there. Sometimes flights were cancelled, without refunds.
He added that the Minister was still developing a Safety and Security strategy. The strategy was still at the development level as it had to cover disaster management following the Knysna fire disaster. He informed Members that were no management units in Parliament. For project management issues, the Committee could invite a service provider, such as G-TEC, which dealt with issues from construction, to architecture design to infrastructure.
The Committee Secretary had circulated an amended Committee programme to the Members and required an endorsement from the Committee because item number three had been changed to a joint Committee meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Police. The NTSS briefing with the Department had yet to be included on the programme. The secretariat had submitted that draft to the House office as a guide from the Committee for the period from 20 August 2019 until 20 September 2019. He added that he should have submitted the programme to the Committee before the House Programming Committee.
The minutes of the previous meeting were deferred to the following week. The Committee concurred.
The Chairperson stated that two critical things had emerged from the meeting: the need for a joint meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Police every six months for the next year, and a quarterly oversight MINMEC. He added that in every area there had be a well-known tourism site that attracted tourists, for example KwaMzoli in Guguletu, and Vilakazi Street in Soweto.
The Chairperson thanked the Committee Members for their participation.
The meeting was adjourned