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ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS & TOURISM PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
12 October 1999
MEETING WITH A GERMAN PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION
The committee met with seven members of the German Federal Parliament who represented their tourism committee. The meeting revolved around different tourism issues in South Africa and Germany.
The German delegation was very interested in the fact that South Africa has a tourism minister. Since they do not have a tourism minister in German they wanted to know how it worked.
The Portfolio Committee explained that the Minister actually has a combined portfolio of environment and tourism. Therefore, the position is not totally dedicated to tourism.
The committee then went on to discuss the importance for tourism in South Africa and in Germany. For example, in South Africa tourism represents 8% of the GDP, and that is trying to be expanded. The committee explained that tourism in this country has never received the opportunity to grow like it has now because of the history of Apartheid.
Tourism is also a very big industry in Germany where it earns 300 billion Deutsche Marks a year. This makes it a bigger industry than Germany's car market .
The meeting then focused on tourism in South Africa more specifically and how South Africa can expand its tourism industry. The committee explained that South Africa is trying to create more jobs through tourism. The goal is to move from 600 thousand jobs to two million in the next two years. However, in order to do this South Africa will need help with service training. Also, it is important to make the shift from seeing tourism as something that is only for affluent people to something that is for all South Africans.
In response to the problems facing South Africa's tourism industry a member of the German delegation offered some advice. He advised the committee that the most important issue to remember is to create a sustainable tourism industry. However, in doing this, it is very important that there is no harm done to the environment. Most tourists prefer to see areas that have been relatively untouched by humans. Therefore, South Africa should consider conserving its environment over building large hotels.
It was also suggested that the safety concerns of tourists needs to be addressed. These issues range from crime control to traffic control.
The committee described some of the efforts being made by the South African government to eliminate these problems. For example, there is the new gun control legislation which will be introduced in Parliament shortly, and there is a new Minister of Safety and Security who is making major changes in the police force. There are also new road regulations in light of all the traffic accidents in South Africa.
This ended the meeting since the delegation was on a tight schedule.
These minutes have been supplied by Contact.
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