The Minister of Tourism said that SA Tourism (SAT) was responsible for the branding of South Africa (Brand SA), but matters had been made difficult by the recent violence against women and the attacks that had taken place against fellow Africans. The negative publicity from these incidents impacted upon the country’s economy and on its ability to create jobs. No tourists meant no jobs.
During Quarter 4, SAT had achieved a performance level of 54%. It was trying its best, but its performance was not where it wanted it to be. In October, the Committee would be presented with its annual report, which would shed light on how things would be done differently in future. It reported that international tourist arrivals to SA had declined by 3% from January to March 2019, compared to the same period in 2018
Members expressed concern over the violence against women and children, as well as the attacks against fellow Africans in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. The Committee was united in its condemnation of these types of behaviours. The attacks on fellow Africans were seen for what they really were -- acts of criminality -- which were being camouflaged as something else. Members were concerned about how Brand SA was being negatively affected. Something needed to be done. There had to be a concerted effort by government. They agreed that an analysis was needed on why the violent attacks were taking place. Selfish thinking in SA had to stop, and perceptions had to change.
SAT’s lacklustre performance was described as unacceptable and well below par. Members observed that there were many targets that had not been achieved. SAT seemed to have weaknesses in its planning. Members needed to see an accurate plan on how SAT intended to achieve its targets, and effective coordination and monitoring was needed after the planning was done. Members wanted to know why the number of accommodation establishments seeking grading was dropping. What could be done to enhance tourism in rural areas and small villages? How could provinces outside of the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng get a bigger share of tourism? Major travel firms in the private sector needed to be approached to help fund SAT’s initiatives.
Minister’s opening remarks
Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane Minister of Tourism, apologised for the absence of the Deputy Minister, Mr Amos Mahlalela, who was off sick, and the Acting Chief Executive Officer (ACEO) of SA Tourism (SAT), Ms Sthembiso Dlamini, who was participating in a road-show abroad. She had also received an apology from the Chairperson of the SAT Board, Ms Pamela Yako, but had not accepted it because of the reason given for not attending the meeting. Here reason had been that in the past the Chairperson of the SAT Board had not been expected to be present when SAT presented its quarterly performance reports to the Committee. Other SAT Board members were, however present.
She said that SAT was responsible for the branding of South Africa -- Brand SA. Matters had been made difficult by the recent violence against women and the violent attacks that had taken place against fellow Africans. The negative publicity from these incidents impacted upon SA’s economy and on the ability to create jobs. No tourists meant no jobs.
The SAT Board members would update the Committee on progress over the SAT Chief Executive Officer (CEO) matter. SAT had furnished her with a report, and she had signed off her concurrence on 15 August 2019.
The 2018/19 Quarter 4 performance figure for SAT had been 54%. Although it was trying its best, its performance was not where it wanted it to be. Consequently, during strategic planning sessions it had been decided that things should be done differently regarding SAT’s “5-in-5 strategy.” In October, the Committee would be presented with SAT’s annual report, which would shed light on how things were being done differently. She would be meeting with Ms Yako the following day, when she would receive SAT’s annual report and the details of its audit outcomes. The presentation would address why targets had not been met.
SA Tourism (SAT) Quarter 4 Performance Report
Ms Kate Rivett-Carnac SAT Board Member, said once the Acting CEO returned from his overseas road show, SAT would get an idea of what was being said about SA abroad. She confirmed that SAT’s annual report would be presented to Minister Kubayi-Ngubane the following day. She informed the Committee that SAT had appointed Mr Themba Khumalo as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).
An update on the SAT CEO matter was that SAT had obtained agreement from the Minister for disciplinary action to commence. There had been a delay, as SAT had had to get an extension of its legal services, but now everything was on track. In ten days time disciplinary processes would commence.
Mr Darryl Erasmus Chief Quality Assurance Officer, Grading Council of SA, said that international tourist arrivals to SA had declined by 3% from January 2019 to March 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. The Quarter 4 target was to have 3.1m international tourist arrivals, but the actual figure had been 2.7m arrivals. Total number of domestic trips from January 2019 to March 2019 had increased by 27.2% compared to the same period in 2018. The Quarter 4 target for domestic holiday trips was 0.6m, whereas actual performance had reached 1.1m.
On tourism grading performance, a total of 5 147 establishments had been graded in Quarter 4. This was a 2% increase compared to the same period in 2018. SAT had achieved just over 50% of its Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in the quarter. The briefing provided a breakdown of SAT’s performance in its various pogrammes.
Corporate Support Programme
The annual target of having a score of 3.4 for staff satisfaction was achieved, and the 7% vacancy rate target was met. On compliance with the Employment Equity Act, the annual target had been achieved, with the SAT employment equity plan having been submitted to the Department of Labour within the statutory deadline.
Business Enablement Programme
The stakeholder satisfaction annual target of having a score of 4.1 was not achieved. Actual performance sat at 3.6, which was 12% short of the target. One of the reasons for the shortfall was that stakeholders were less satisfied with SAT’s synergies for their business and marketing initiatives. SAT planned to improve synergies with stakeholders. The stakeholder engagement framework would also be reviewed in order to improve the engagement models for each stakeholder.
Leisure Tourism Marketing Programme
The annual target for the number of tourist arrivals was 11.2m. As previously stated, the Quarter 4 target was 3.1m, but the actual performance for the quarter was only 2.7m, a shortfall of 13%. Reasons included the decline in numbers from many of SA’s source market regions, and the attacks that had taken place in certain parts of SA. To rectify matters, SAT had developed a recovery plan to ensure that it met its targets. Driving conversion and encouraging intergovernmental relations had been included in the recovery plan.
The annual target for the number of domestic trips was 25.4m. In Quarter 4, the target was 6.4m, but actual performance was only 4.8m, a shortfall of 25%. Remedial action was being implemented by SAT to strengthen its focus on domestic tourism.
Business Events Programme
The annual target for the number of business events hosted in SA was 153, and the actual performance was 207 events. The target had been exceeded by 35.3%. On the number of bids supported for international and regional business events, the annual target of 105 had been surpassed by the actual performance of 109. However, in Quarter 4 the target had been 27, but the actual performance was only 22. Quarter 4 performance was off by 19%. The target was not achieved due to fewer bidding opportunities being available. The South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB) would, however, continue to pursue the leads generated through its sales drive.
Tourist Experience Programme
The annual target for the number of graded accommodation establishments was 6 229. The year-to-date performance sat at only 4 916 graded establishments. The Quarter 4 target was 1 674, but actual performance was only 1 245, which was off target by 26%. SAT had in 2018 launched an integrated marketing and communications campaign to promote the value of star grading. New campaigns would continue to highlight the benefits of star grading.
Ms Nombulelo Guliwe SAT Chief Financial Officer (CFO) described the financial performance of SAT. The actual budget for SAT for 2018/19 was R1.448 bn, which was around R8.3m more than the approved budget. She made it clear that the figures presented were pre-audited figures.
Mr Erasmus said that as at 31 March, the vacancy rate at SAT was 8%. Vacant posts were being filled. He reiterated that the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) post had recently been filled.
Ms S Xego (ANC) was concerned about the violence against women and children.
The Chairperson agreed that the attacks on women and children were barbaric. These types of behaviour did not bode well, given that the South African brand was being re-branded. The Committee condemned such behaviour. The acts of criminality in the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces also affected efforts at re-branding SA. These acts of criminality were being camouflaged as many things, but the bottom line was that they were criminal. The outside world got the impression that SA was burning.
Mr P Moteka (EFF) made a plea to Minister Kubayi-Ngubane that something needed to be done about the violent outbreaks that were taking place. There were black on black attacks, and something needed to be done. What could stakeholders in the tourism sector do? The violence hugely affected tourism.
Mr M de Freitas (DA) pointed out that the violent outbreaks went beyond tourism. He suggested that Minister Kubayi-Ngubane speak to her colleagues in different ministries for something to be done. Government had to respond much more to the attacks than what it had done so far. Besides the utterances of the Minister of Police, there had been nothing else from government. He felt that even President Ramaphosa should say something.
Ms M Gomba (ANC) said that the previous week there had been a joint sitting between the Committee and the Security Cluster, and the matter of tourists’ protection had been discussed.
Ms L Makhubela-Mashele (ANC) appreciated the good work that the Minister had done thus far. She had even spoken to stakeholders about crime. There was a need for stakeholders to engage on issues that affected tourism. She had observed the Minister on a road show drive to engage stakeholders on Tourism Month, which was the present month of September. The Minister had been active even in small towns. She felt that her efforts were putting tourism back on the stage where it should be. Issues of crime affected everyone. Members condemned the femicide and the violence in the strongest terms.
Minister Kubayi-Ngubane pointed out that even though Tzaneen was a small town, it had facilities in place to host events and to top things off, the town itself was beautiful.
Mr K Sithole (ANC) said that he shared the sentiments of Members over the violence that had erupted.
Mr H April (ANC) agreed with what Members had said about the violence in Gauteng and elsewhere. He felt that Members had to engage collectively in their respective constituencies on the matter. Each Member had a responsibility to discourage the scourge of behaviour that was happening. They had to speak actively to their constituencies. He asked what had happened to the “Sho’T Left Campaign.” He wished for it to be brought back, as it had done much for domestic tourism.
Mr Erasmus said that comments around the “Sho’T Left Campaign” would be taken on board. From 23 to 29 September, there would be a “Sho’T Left” travel week. Discounts would be offered to make things more affordable, and businesses would get greater exposure.
Minister Kubayi-Ngubane appreciated the feedback and comments from Members. She said the Security Cluster was looking at the matter of the violent attacks. This was not normal behaviour. The Ministry of Tourism was guided by the Security Cluster on the matter. She agreed that it was black on black violence, and responsible articulation was needed from leaders. Issues of criminality had to be isolated. The problem was that people needed employment and the economy had to be uplifted.
A number of issues needed to be responded to. SA needed an inclusive economy. Everyone should have a role to play. Inclusive growth was needed. As a result of the violent attacks, she had heard that the petroleum company Total had instructed its delivery trucks not to make deliveries to service stations. In the African continent, the Minister of Transport of Zambia had instructed Zambian truck drivers to park their vehicles whilst en route to SA, and those in SA. The eruption of violence was being analysed. There had been a huge impact on SA’s economy.
She did feel that there was a need to improve the “Sho’T Left Campaign.” Not enough had been done. Brand SA had to be sold to SA and abroad. She said that the vacant post of Chief Marketing Officer at SAT had been filled and the appointed person had started on 1 September. On 27 September, Tourism Month in KwaZulu-Natal would be launched.
The Chairperson said that the oversight visit of the Committee should overlap with the National Department of Tourism (NDT) and SAT’s activities. He encouraged Minster Kubayi-Ngubane to also speak to the Minister of Intelligence. Pre-emptive messaging was needed. He was aware that the Minister had met with a Southern African Development Community (SADC) Minister of Tourism. The creation of greater impact was needed from the SADC. In Africa there were many countries that had forums with SA. Would it not be better if everyone participated in one collective forum? He commented that Afro pessimism did not help things. Perhaps at the African Union (AU) level there needed to be a single voice on what the challenges were.
He felt that the violence that had erupted was not innocent -- there was more to it. He agreed that an analysis was needed.
He said that when tourism awards were being given, peers should be pitted against peers. The playing field should be equal. Big cities should compete against big cities. Villages should compete against villages. He was pleased that Minster Kubayi-Ngubane in a media statement had said that people on the periphery of tourism would be included in tourism.
The Committee doing oversight over the National Department of Tourism would not necessarily be antagonistic. He appreciated the efforts of the Minister.
Mr April was pleased to hear that vacancies within the SAT had been filled. He was, however, concerned that unaudited figures were being presented to the Committee. He observed that the figures for grading had been below what was targeted. Did the SAT have its finger on the pulse of things, like Airbnb and other new factors in the tourism sector?
Mr T Khalipha (ANC) pointed out that Members had raised issues in previous meetings, one of which was that the matter of SAT’s CEO had to reach completion. He was still not pleased with the progress on the CEO matter. The Committee had instructed the SAT Board to move with speed on the matter. All that the Committee was hearing was explanations, and that processes were to be concluded and finalised. He was also not convinced by the reasons given for targets not being met. Targets had to be achieved.
Ms Rivett-Carnac said that SAT did the marketing and branding, while the industry itself did the selling. It was a complicated issue to achieve targets. SAT needed to reflect on the targets that it had set. It was an issue that national tourism organisations all over the world had to grapple with.
Mr De Freitas wanted to confirm that the CEO’s formal hearing was in ten days’ time. Had the CEO been charged? He also asked why there was only a charge sheet six months down the line. The SAT was asked how it measured local trips taken. How did it know whether South Africans were travelling? How was SAT able to measure domestic spend? He asked about SAT’s interaction with provinces in order for the provinces to get their fair share of tourism, and commented that for some provinces, tourism was more of a priority than for others. How did SAT reach the targets that it set? What were the benefits for accommodation establishments being graded? Given that grading figures were down, he asked whether there were incentives in place. Was it expensive to be graded? It was after all an extra expense for small businesses.
Ms Rivett-Carnac said that the charge sheet had been delivered to the SAT CEO on 24 July. The disciplinary hearing would start on 13 September.
She explained that SAT had a modelling framework for the setting of targets. It took into consideration best practices globally.
Mr Erasmus referred to integration with the provinces, and explained that SAT had data to direct the provincial spend. He added that SAT also had a number of fora with the provinces. There was a CEO Forum and a Marketing Forum.
Mr H Gumbi (DA) asked why there had been a drop in the grading figures for the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. He suggested that the Committee be given a briefing on grading itself. It could shed light on what the benefits were, etc. He felt that the cost element of grading needed to be dropped. Grading should be free. He commented that there had been a drop in tourist numbers overall, although President Ramaphosa had stated that the intention was to double tourist numbers. How had the President come up with the figure of doubling tourist numbers?
Ms Rivett-Carnac said that tourist arrivals were affected by factors such as crime, visa issues, etc. There were also market factors that affected the numbers. It also depended upon how well SAT’s competitors marketing efforts were. Regarding the Public-Private Growth Initiative (PPGI), she said that SAT was involved in President Ramaphosa’s announcement of wanting to double tourist numbers. It was where SAT wished to be. It was a very aggressive stance. However, it had to be remembered that there were many barriers that hampered efforts. Visa issues and safety and security concerns affected tourist numbers. SAT tried to find ways to achieve the numbers that President Ramaphosa wanted. SAT was also committed to seeing the number of jobs in the sector increase.
Mr Erasmus referred to grading, and said that a session with the Committee could be arranged to shed light on quality assurance. Various factors affected grading. It cost R3 500 per annum for an establishment to get graded. There was, however, an incentive programme for grading which could mean that the cost would come down to as little as R350 per annum. Sometimes establishments stopped being graded because the establishment was being refurbished. On upping grading standards, there could be a requirement that establishments should have wifi as a minimum requirement.
Mr Sithole asked SAT to assist Members to understand its brand awareness campaigns. He pointed out that across its programmes, SAT had not achieved quite a few of its targets. To make matters worse, of its 27 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), only 14 had been achieved. Why was this so? SAT’s efforts on transformation also needed to be better.
Mr Moteka was concerned that revenue targets for Indaba and Meetings Africa had not been achieved. He said that the issue was all about focus. There were good things happening in Africa. Countries like Kenya and Uganda were attracting tourists. SA needed to learn from these types of countries. He felt that the Committee needed to speak to South Africans on the violence against women, children and fellow Africans. Members should do this individually and as a Committee collective. The attitude of selfish thinking in SA needed to change. Perceptions needed to be changed.
Ms Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, Chief Convention Bureau Officer, explained that Indaba and Meetings Africa were trade shows which SAT had brought in. They were the biggest on the African continent and showcased the most tourism products. SAT had tried to make the trade shows more sustainable. SAT also had a mandate to assist the tourism industry to sell. It had created a platform so that numbers could be reached. SAT had done a return on investment (ROI) study which showed that people in Africa wanted to use the Indaba. If the Committee so wished, SAT could make a presentation to the Committee on the Indaba.
Mr G Krumbock (DA) pointed out that the cover page of the SAT presentation had a picture of the Nelson Mandela capture site at Howick on it. It was an iconic tourism destination. Efforts of the previous Committee had paid off, in that brown tourism information signs were now provided on the highway in Howick. The Road Traffic Manual should have exceptions. He made special mention that there was another major tourist attraction in Howick, and this was the Howick Falls. What made the Falls so special was that it was the only waterfall to be found in a Central Business District (CBD). The unfortunate thing was that Howick Falls had been degraded and funding had been cut. Crime levels had risen and tourists had been scared off. In the area, business had declined by 40% and many businesses had closed down. There were many people who were talented, but opportunities were few. Tourism had dropped by 45%. Even the Howick Falls Hotel had closed down.
He said that at grassroots level, things were not working. The whole point of the “Sho’T Left Campaign” was to boost domestic tourism. In light of the fact that there were a number of failing resorts, he asked what was being done about the Committee, the national Department of Tourism (DoT) and the SAT interacting with one another to deal with issues. What was the difficulty in fixing things? All that was needed was cooperation. Local government could also be brought in. Not enough was being done to polish the South African brand.
Mr Erasmus referred to integrating efforts between the SAT, the DoT and the Committee, and said SAT did work closely with the DoT. There was room for improvement, though. He preferred to take guidance from the Committee on how the working relationships could be better integrated.
Ms Xego appreciated the sentiments expressed by the Committee over the violence against women, children and fellow Africans. She agreed that an all inclusive approach was needed to deal with the challenge. The workshop that was held the previous week had been the first time the Committee had included its provincial counterparts. It would seem as if Parliament was starting to prioritise the Committee. The Committee was not only asking SAT questions, but also making suggestions. Members knew all too well what was happening on the ground.
She asked how prepared the tourism sector was the Fourth Industrial Revolution. SA had to be prepared for it. The status quo could no longer remain. Things needed to change. Thought patterns also had to change. There was a need to think out of the box. Everyone needed to participate in the economy of SA. She agreed with Members that it was unacceptable that of SAT’s 27 KPIs, 13 had not been achieved. The unachieved KPIs had budgets attached to them, after all. Had there been weaknesses in the planning? SAT’s targets had to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely (SMART). She too was pleased that SAT vacancies had been filled.
Addressing SAT, she said all that Members were saying was that SAT had to up its game. SAT had the “Sho’T Left” and “We Do Tourism” campaigns, but at the end of the day people had to participate in the planned efforts of SAT. What was SAT doing to sensitise other provinces about the benefits of tourism? It seemed as if only the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal did well with tourism.
Mr Erasmus suggested that the Committee be provided with a explanatory document on target setting. On whether the tourism was sector was ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, he said that SAT had adopted a very technical approach. Everything was done online. There was even a journey “app” for smartphones on the books.
Ms Gomba was concerned about actual expenditure being greater than the budget (slide 27). She said that it was the first indication leading to bankruptcy. If the figures were at present were unaudited, how would SAT survive if the Auditor General of SA (AGSA) confirmed the figures? She asked what happened to the budgets allocated to targets when the targets were not achieved. What was the plan for dealing with future overspending? What austerity measures were in place for future deficits?
Ms Guliwe said a timing issue was why unaudited figures had been presented to the Committee. SAT would be able to present audited figures to the Committee only when it presented its annual report. SAT did not use the cash standard for accounting, even though some departments did. SAT used the accrual system of accounting. On whether a deficit was a sign of a red flag she assured Members that there was no cash deficit. The AGSA had confirmed that SAT’s financial health was positive. It had no going concern issues. Tracking was done on a monthly basis to ensure that there were no cash deficits.
Ms Makhubele-Mashele was concerned about the underperformance of SAT, saying that the performance of 52% was borderline. It would seem that the planning of SAT was not SMART after all. It needed to identify where it had underperformed. She expected SAT to be upfront about travel advisories that countries had given to their citizens about visiting SA. The upcoming quarters would show the decline in the number of tourists.
She had also expected SAT to brief the Committee on its turnaround strategy on positive messaging to encourage people to come to SA. What types of social media messaging was SAT putting out? Could it quantify its efforts on positive messaging? The Committee should be given examples of what types of positive messaging was put out there. Regarding small ‘dorpies’/towns hosting events, she asked what Tzaneen had done that other small dorpies/towns had not done, so that successful models could be replicated elsewhere.
Ms Kotze-Nhlapo responded on what Tzaneen had done differently to other small towns, and pointed out that in Mpumalanga, the North West and Free State provinces there were small towns that were coming on board with bidding for conventions. The SANCB worked closely with provinces which did not have convention bureaus. Cape Town had an advanced convention bureau. Over the past five years, much work had been done with provinces that were not so strong. The SANCB had strategies aimed at national associations for different professions, like nurses and doctors, to rotate their conventions all over SA. Small towns did bid for smaller events. There were specific strategies in place for them.
Mr Erasmus pointed out that there had been travel advisories from the USA and Canada during Quarter 4. SAT had tried to counter these with positive messages. It was all about public relations.
The Chairperson said that presently there was a transition from the 5th Parliament to the 6th Parliament. Going forward, the 6th Parliament had to set a good base for the 7th Parliament, and planning was key. Things should be done not only for compliance. Effective coordination and monitoring was needed after planning was done. For the execution of plans, what systems had SAT put in place to ensure that targets were met? He suggested that over and above planning, SAT should monitor implementation so that problems could be identified beforehand.
He proposed that it engage in discussions with the national DoT and the Reserve Bank of SA on foreign reserves. This could be of help to mitigate against eventualities. The question was how foreign reserves could be linked to tourism. Losses would always be a possibility, but the issue was around how foreign reserves could be used. Systems had to be put in place.
He felt that SAT needed to work with the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), given SA’s historical past under colonialism and apartheid. The families of persons who had perished should be targeted.
Collaboration with departments was of utmost importance. One of the biggest problems in SA was poverty. Everyone was after the little that was out there. Hence there was conflict. SAT needed to engage with the Small Business Development Department (DSBD) on small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). The violence in Johannesburg was hitting SMMEs. The battle was at the SMME level.
He too pointed out that grading figures were declining, which meant that attraction levels were also declining. In the end businesses would collapse. Banks repossessed properties. There was a ripple effect. What were the reasons why grading figures were declining? The consequences were great.
On the Fourth Industrial Revolution, if one went from village to village, the chances were that there were youths who could come up with innovative ideas around tourism. SAT could also through the Department of Education to target schools. The Department of Education should be pushed to provide wifi at schools. Enablers were needed.
He suggested that a vibe be created around township/village tourism. If it became popular, then big city people would be attracted to villages and townships. Small villages and towns should have events to attract people. Why could golfing events not be held? The one good thing that apartheid did was to build golf courses in small towns.
SAT should approach big business for capital to fund events. It should have a multiplicity of revenue streams. It had to be bold in this regard, as it was not likely that it would get substantial increases from the National Treasury. It was difficult to change the mindset of the Cabinet when it came to tourism. As a result, the push had to come from outside. Big boys like Thompsons Travel and Sun International should be brought on board.
It was unacceptable for SAT to have a performance of around 50%. It should be closer to 100%. When it planned, it had to be deliberate about monitoring its executives to deliver, or else its objectives would not be met.
Ms Rivett-Carnac commented that much of what Members had said revolved around government coordination.
Ms Guliwe agreed that having additional revenue streams was a good thing. The issue was about how SAT should make better use the assets it had, like the Tourism Indaba.
Mr Erasmus commented on stimulating tourism in small towns, and said SAT had launched the “We Do Tourism” campaign, which was aimed at all South Africans. It was about how all South Africans could identify with tourism. The issue was how to make tourism relevant to small towns, villages and dorpies. The Committee’s comments on planning had been taken on board, and SAT would endeavour to be more ‘SMART’ with its targets.
The Chairperson said that the Tourism Indaba should be a culmination of small indabas. He asked that SAT engage with all 277 municipalities in SA to have their own indabas. Thereafter, the indabas should move on to the district/metro level. Only thereafter should the national indaba be held. If it was done as suggested, then an indaba vibe would be created and a hype would build up for the national indaba. SAT should, through Minister Kubayi-Ngubane, discuss this with the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
Mr Erasmus appreciated the good suggestions that the Committee was making.
Mr April asked SAT to proof read their presentations in future to prevent mistakes in the figures provided.
Mr Khalipha emphasised that the Committee needed an accurate plan on how SAT intended to achieve its targets. The plan should be in document form, to be submitted to the Committee. He felt that SAT should have a greater focus on villages, townships and small towns. People in these areas were sick and tired of being excluded. Just as work was being done to promote tourism in metros, so too work must be done in villages, townships and small towns. Members wanted to see practical steps. If things did not change, then Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg would remain the top tourism destinations.
Mr Moteka agreed that villages, townships and small dorpies should be prioritised in SAT’s plans, with budgets allocated to them. Tourism should feature in rural areas. He asked what had happened to the budgets of the 13 unachieved KPIs. He commented that the Committee had previously agreed to launch village, township and dorpie oversight councils. When would things start?
Ms Gomba remarked that it was not the first time the Committee was interacting with SAT. She wanted to see a concept document to conceptualise what the Chairperson had wished to see happening in villages, townships and small dorpies. The concept document should also cover the mentoring of small businesses by big business. This mentoring had taken place in the past, and should be revitalised.
The Chairperson said that the Department of Education could shed light on how many schools there were. SAT should try to organise at least two trips per year for each school. He wanted to see what Members had raised that needed to be covered in the SAT annual performance plan. The Committee would visit Howick Falls. At some point, it would invite big tourism companies to appear so as to encourage them to invest in small towns, villages and dorpies. The Thompsons of the industry must contribute. He asked what had happened to the unachieved targets. Had they been rolled over? He mentioned the importance of the Legislative Oversight Tourism Forum (LETOFO) which the Committee had come up with. The LETOFO was a partnership between provincial Tourism Portfolio Committees and the Committee, to improve oversight over tourism.
The Committee Secretary, Mr Jerry Boltina, was asked to shed light on changes that had been made to the Committee Programme.
The meeting was adjourned.
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