On a virtual platform, the Committee was briefed on the quarter three and four reports of the Department of Tourism. In quarter three, overall performance achieved for the quarter is 71.62%. The percentage which is not achieved but there is significant work done, is 8.11%. The percentage not achieved and where intervention is needed is 20.27%.
In quarter four, the overall performance achieved is 76.32%. The percentage which is not achieved but there is significant work done, is 5.26%. The percentage not achieved and where intervention is needed is 18.42%.
The Committee questioned SA missions, digitisation of the sector, performance of service providers, tourist complaints, training opportunities with the sector and gender parity. Further questions were posed on the Expanded Public Works Programme, training and uptake of these beneficiaries, recovery programmes for the sector, appointment of the Technology Innovation Agent and participation of the Food Safety Quality Assurer Programme.
The Committee discussed cooperation between the Department and other departments, modelling numbers for job losses, projects on the oceans economy, the relief fund and energy-saving and retrofitting for tourism enterprises.
Department of Tourism 2019/20 Quarterly Report – Quarter Three and Four
Under the Corporate Management Programme, the achieved targets reached are 90.91% (10 of 11).
Under the Tourism Research, Policy and International Relations (TRP&IR) Programme, the targets achieved are 81.82% (9 of 11).
On the Destination Development (DD) Programme, the achieved targets are 73.91% (17 of 23)
Concerning the Tourism Sector Support Services (TSSS) Programme, the achieved targets are 58.62% (17 of 29)
The overall performance achieved for the quarter is 71.62%. The percentage which is not achieved but there is significant work done, is 8.11%. The percentage not achieved and where intervention is needed is 20.27%.
See attached document for full presentation
Department of Tourism 2019/20 Quarterly Report – Quarter Four
Under the Corporate Management Programme, the achieved targets reached are 77.7% (7of 9).
Under the Tourism Research, Policy and International Relations (TRP&IR) Programme, the targets achieved are 90.91% (10 of 11).
On the Destination Development (DD) Programme, the achieved targets are 88.89% (24 of 27).
Concerning the Tourism Sector Support Services (TSSS) Programme, the achieved targets are 58.62% (17 of 29).
The overall performance achieved is 76.32%. The percentage which is not achieved but there is significant work done, is 5.26%. The percentage not achieved and where intervention is needed is 18.42%.
See attached document for full presentation
Mr H Gumbi (DA) said he sees the framework for the South African missions are developed, and there is a process moving forward to finalise it. He wanted to know what the next step is concerning this and if the next step is anticipated possible for the coming December season. He said it will be a great tragedy if international tourism only opens next year. He wanted the Department to expand on which elements of digitisation are happening in the sector.
Ms M Gomba (ANC) said she does not have much to say since the entire world is affected by COVID-19. All government can do is to realign and adjust to the situation.
Mr P Moteka (EFF) asked which programme is 70% affected by COVID-19. The Department must not use COVID-19 as an excuse not to perform up to 70%.
Mr M De Freitas (DA) referred to slide 43 of the presentation. He said it talks about service providers not keeping up to standard. If service providers are not performing well, the service providers must be penalised. He wanted to know how this can be improved.
He asked how tourist complaints are filed and addressed. The biggest complaints are for refunds and service. Tourism is a service industry, so he wanted to know how this is co-ordinated among Departments and how it is ensured the services are improved. There are also several outstanding complaints. This means complaints are not addressed fast enough.
Thirdly, he said there are various training opportunities within the sector. He wanted to know if the training results in jobs for those who undertake the training.
Mr T Khalipha (ANC) wanted to know why women from the Department resigned. He welcomed the work done by the Department on its master plans. These are the areas the Department raised in the last financial year, where it needs to improve.
Lastly, he said the Department must trace the students who undertook training with the Department, to see if these students are able to get opportunities in the sector.
Mr K Sithole (IFP) said the presentation shows the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) project came to an end in quarter four. He wanted to know if there are any new programmes to train EPWP beneficiaries. He asked for how long the tour interpreters will be put on hold because of COVID-19, and if there is a Recovery Programme.
He asked the Department to unpack the delay for approval of the appointment of the Technology Innovation Agent.
Lastly, he asked about the participation of the Food Safety Quality Assurer Programme which is not developed. He wanted to know if there is any plan to develop this Programme.
Mr G Krumbock (DA) said the number of complaints received is not a true reflection of the complaints out there, as some people do not know how to complain. Even if these people did know how, there is a low expectation anything will be done. There is always a situation in Tourism where the Department is co-dependent on other Departments to make sure tourists have a good experience. This is why the DA asked for an Inter-Ministerial Committee. This Committee will try and identify hotspots through electronic disapprovals expressed by tourists, rather than just the government complaining platform. He wanted to know if there is any progress concerning this.
He asked if there is any progress in identifying the Department’s most iconic or most visited tourist spots. Every single government department, not just the Tourism Department, must bring its side so tourists can leave satisfied.
He asked if the Department has any further modelling or updates on the number of jobs losses from COVID-19, and what its expectations are, as the Department going forward into the other quarters.
He asked what the Department expects to see by the third quarter and last quarter, specifically, if the situation looks more encouraging or much worse.
Ms S Xego (ANC) said she is happy about the way the presentation is structured. The DG focused on areas where the Department did not perform and accounted for this. However, the Department must learn from these instances and be able to move and implement as per its newly adopted Annual Performance Plan (APP) and target. There is some underperformance in Programme Three, but the DG talked to it. The Committee will love to see the Department’s Programmes guided by research.
There was project on Oceans Economy, to unlock the economic potential of South Africa’s oceans. Ms Xego said she did not see this project in the presentation, and suggested the project be in the Department’s books because of potential there. The Department can re-plan it and do it again.
She said she appreciates the programme on tracking complaints, which she thinks results from the Department’s engagements in the Fifth Parliament.
She applauded the Department on the maintenance of gender parity, and awaits action to maintain the 50/50 gender parity.
She said the issue of the Technology Innovation Agency is, in her opinion, a government-to-government programme. The Department must continue to engage so it can work together with the agency.
Concerning the Tourism Equity Fund, she asked where in the document it says there are approved applications. It also goes on to say the concept document is going to be reviewed. She wanted to know if those approved applications are processed.
She appreciated the R200 million Tourism Relief Fund to help Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) and noted it will make a difference.
Mr L Makhubela-Mashele (ANC) reminded the Department about its Report tabled before Parliament after the oversight to KZN. In this Report, there are recommendations the Department must follow to ensure the municipality looks into ensuring the Howick Falls tourism product is maintained and also looked after.
She asked about energy-saving and retrofitting for tourism enterprises as a means to ensure saving energy. She wanted to know how far the project is resuscitated and when the Department is set to report on the project.
The Chairperson said there was a matter raised about projects which cannot be started or completed, or it started late as a result of service providers. He suggested going forward, the Department must have some fallbacks as far as service providers are concerned. It must be clear from a policy perspective how to recoup in monetary terms the costs which are a consequence of a service provider’s failure to own up to the contractual agreement between the Department and the service provider.
Concerning job creation, he suggested the Department look at, at least the last 15 years of its performance as far as job creation is concerned, and look at poverty and inequality. It must see if it is in a position to perform better on poverty and inequality. This is because the bulk of money under tourism goes to marketing the country at the expense of Black people and Africans who clearly will forever struggle to gain entry into the economy as far as tourism is concerned.
He asked what 20% of non-achievement in economic terms means regarding ownership and control of the economy. The Department must quantify this so it demonstrates to South Africans why it is important to be harsh to service providers who put the Department in a bad light.
He asked the Department to show what the future of the Tourism Equity Fund is. The Tourism Relief Fund must be transparent and publish everything, such as those who received relief and how much is received. This is so in the future the Department must not be accused of concealing some issues around the Tourism Relief Fund.
In its oversight report, the Committee made recommendations to the Committee. It said Howick needs immediate attention. Linked to the Howick situation is the Empangeni Township. Going forward it must integrate the tourism strategy in Howick and Empangeni so it helps it to build and foster this non-racial character of the country the Department seeks to build.
Ms Lulama Duma, Deputy Director General (DDG): Corporate Management, Department of Tourism, answered regarding the exit of the five women. Three of them retired and the other two went to pursue other opportunities.
On maintaining gender parity she said, unfortunately the resignation of the five women pushes the Department back. The Department is in the process of recruitment and it will ensure it reaches its 50/50 gender equity targets.
Ms Nonkqubela Nsilulwane, Chief Director, Tourism Research, Policy and International Relations: Research and Knowledge Management, Department of Tourism, said the Department is going to implement the policy framework it developed to support South African missions for tourism development and growth. It will implement this policy framework in consultation with Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) and South African Tourism (SAT).
Regarding the digitisation framework, she said the Department unpacks the tourism sector and looks at relevant technologies and digital solutions on a sub-sector level. The main focus is identifying opportunities for business to customer, business to business, as well as business to Cabinet transactions.
Ms Mmaditonki Setwaba, Acting Deputy Director General (ADDG): Tourism Sector Support Service, Department of Tourism, said the intention with a tier is to tap expertise by providing appropriate and adequate support for innovation with a high social and economic impact.
COVID-19 struck with the restrictions on its side. The Department made decisions about making proposals regarding specific deliverables it wants. It wants to ensure it obtains value from its relationship with Tour on the incubation Programmes.
The Department will pursue the speedy conclusion of the Service Level Agreement (SLA). It must be kept in mind the restriction greatly affected implementing the innovation incubator.
Complaints have several platforms people can use. The Department gazetted the way complaints can be lodged. It has a dedicated email which is used. This email is found in the Gazette. There is also a Department Call Centre where people can phone and lodge complaints. The Department collaborates well with other government complaint mechanisms. This is a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) complaint mechanism accredited by the Consumer Protection Act. Most of the complaints received about tourism are sent to the Department. This way the Department can engage with it. The Department always aims at amicable solutions.
Regarding the TEF (Tourism Equity Fund), the pilot plan is completed, albeit a bit late, in the last financial year. The launch was affected by the restrictions. This meant the Department was not able to have the window of applications open. It is trying to look at how it will go forward with assisting and making sure the project goes ahead.
Concerning the outcomes of the training, the Department produces quarterly reports. Training involves experiential learning. It negotiates with the private sector to offer platforms to take participants for onsite experiential learning.
On the Green Tourism Incentive, the intention is to see how it can clear the current pipeline applications. It is using this time where it is not able to move with the necessary speed, to review the processes of assessing applications.
Ms Shamilla Chettiar, DDG: Destination Development, Department of Tourism said with contract management, service providers try to use the dispute resolution clauses to resolve any conflict which may arise between the service providers and the Department as a client. In instances where there are serious problems on the part of the service provider, the Department takes action by reclaiming funds. In extreme situations where there are cases of negligence or criminality, the Department lays charges against those service providers. If the Courts find the service providers were negligent, the service providers are blacklisted from the supply and chain databases.
Concerning a new EPWP programme, she said the Department’s APP for this year is largely impacted by COVID-19 and the Risk-Adjusted Strategy. For this year, the Department is applying very cautious principles around commencing projects which need people to be in a workplace environment and to be actively training.
It looked at all its programmes and started with online training where applicable. It suspended some programmes where it is not safe to start training. The Department will ensure it catches up with programmes which cannot continue now, in the next four years left of the term.
The Oceans Economy Project includes the Hole in the Wall, Orange River Mouth, and Harold Johnson Reserve. It is developing concept plans for each of these. This work is completed. It can be found on slide 27 and 28 of the presentation.
It ensures all the work it is doing on destination development is integrated. The Department is working together with its teams at local government and the Department of Corporate Governance.
The Director- General said the people the Department trained, find opportunities in the sector. In the previous tracking of the Department’s training, it identified there is a significant uptake. In some programmes it is close to 70%. Some of the graduates end up in businesses. Others are taken by other countries.
Related to putting together a framework which tracks the areas deemed to be hotspots for the brand, brand tracking is done. This is done by South African Tourism. South African Tourism made a presentation on this and by and large, the critical issues identified include crime, aviation, and visas.
The issues regarding the quality of service do not necessarily come up highest in the tracking of the brand. This aligns with the Programme launched by the Minister of Tourism, aimed at the safety of tourists. It is in partnership with the South African Police Services, in the form of the Tourist Monitors Programme. The Minister works with the Department of Home Affairs to make sure it improves on visa processes.
Regarding the modelled employment impact in the most recent past, he said most companies have not yet laid off people. The Department assisted approximately 50 000 businesses with the Relief Fund. It means it is able to assist about 600 000 employees due to the Relief Fund.
The number of jobs at risk is 300 000.
He said the Department is mainly using the WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council) to model future potential growth on jobs, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and other variables. This model leads to about ten years, according to outward projections.
Concerning the future of the Tourism Equity Fund, he said it does have a future. It is here to stay and the Department is going to implement it.
On the Green Tourism Incentive Programme, he said so far 45 applications are approved. This amounts to approximately R24 million.
Mr Gumbi referred to the recommendations the Department made after its oversight in KZN. He suggested the Committee invite the municipality to come and make a presentation on why it has not presented the requisite reports. The Committee can begin to put pressure in the right places.
The Chairperson suggested if the Department interacts with the municipalities and provinces and does not yield anything, then the Committee can call it to appear before the Committee.
The DG said the Missions Programme is twofold. The first aspect of it will be how the Department expands its reach. It only has ten offices across the globe. It needs to have a much broader reach than this. In places where it has not yet invested regarding direct marketing, it is trying to ensure it reaches those places. Concerning marketing, for December, he said the Department scaled-down on those activities.
Secondly, the South African missions will help the Department draw insights from countries where it does not have a presence. There are good practices which it can draw from these countries. This includes how it deals with its domestic tourism or product base.
This also includes the insights about what exactly the interests of this particular community are regarding tourism consumption. This feeds through to the Department’s planning. Even in the way it designs its products in the country, it takes those, and sees the benefits.
He said he does not see it having an impact in December. The Department believes in the long term it is going to give it some results regarding stimulating markets it would not necessarily have reached.
Mr Krumbock asked how the Department does in working with other departments, such as Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Transport and Arts and Culture. This is to try and identify iconic tourism resorts in each province, and try to make sure there is proper inter-departmental coordination for a better tourism experience.
Ms Chettiar said the Department has good relationships and works jointly together with entities such as South African Local Government Association (SALGA), and COGTA. It works with it on its work on economic regeneration and other programmes it is implementing on the District Development Model.
Concerning world heritage sites, there is an arrangement between the Department, the Department of Arts and Culture, and the Department of Environment. It also works closely with the Department of Transport.
The DG, replying on the concept of a budget resort brand, said with over 700 products across the country it will not be possible from a resource point of view to intervene in each of those. These are commercially-run operations. It requires the type of assistance on how to position itself better. The budget resort brand concept allows it to have some sort of branding rights. Other issues observed are, these brands it does its operations, it also saves up for maintenance of the facilities. It must not necessarily come as an afterthought when some sort of dilapidation has kicked in. Overall it has good working conditions with its sister-departments across the entire government.
Mr Makhubela-Mashele suggested the Department initiates a plan which will seek to guide municipalities around the country on issues of the budget resort. It must start working on a concept and then bring it to the Committee. The Committee will engage and input into it.
The Committee adopted minutes from the previous meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
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