The Select Committee received a briefing in a virtual meeting from the Department of Tourism on its 2021/22 – 2023/24 budget vote and annual performance plan.
The Department emphasised that they were presenting their plans in the midst of a disrupted tourism environment as a result of the Covid pandemic, which had affected not only the South African tourism sector, but also the international market. In response to the changed environment in which tourism was operating, the Department had developed a tourism sector recovery plan, premised on the government's economic reconstruction and recovery plan. The main objective was to re-ignite the tourism sector for long-term sustainability. Domestic demand would be used to anchor the recovery, followed by regional demand, and once open, they would expand to the international markets.
The Department gave a detailed presentation of their four programmes’ performance targets and the financial information. They reported that they had returned R1 billion to the Treasury in the previous year. They also pointed out that the compensation of employees had stayed constant, and there were no increases for the next two years. For the 2021/22 financial year, the budget allocation was R2.4 billion, of which transfers and subsidies (R1.6bn) to South African Tourism made up the biggest component, while the compensation of employees was R333.1 million..
Members of the Committee wanted to know if the interdict by Afriforum in relation to the Tourism Equity Fund had been settled, and if not, what the implications for some of the Department's initiatives were. There were questions about the Department’s collaboration with other entities, such as whether the Department's work with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) was an interim solution to the infrastructure challenges in the tourism sector, and if they planned to develop their in-house capacity. Members wanted to know what collaboration the Department was involved in with other entities to deal with the safety challenges as result of crime and the pandemic in the tourist areas.
The DoT was asked what it was doing to promote tourism in South Africa in other countries, in the context of the ban and the need to counter information about the COVID variant that had been discovered in the country. South African officials abroad, particularly those in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, had to be trained in tourism aspects that were relevant to the communities where they were located. Overall, however, the focus was on the Department’s plans to re-ignite domestic demand.
The Minister said they were promoting domestic tourism as the first phase of the recovery. There was then the area of international marketing, because they understood that in the long term they had to be able to defend the markets that they existed in, and be able to retain these source markets, as well as penetrate new markets.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson said that this was the first meeting of the Committee in the second term, and they would be starting with the tabling of the annual performance plans (APPs) for all the Departments that report to the Committee, which were:
Trade and Industry,
Small Business Development,
Employment and Labour.
The first APP to be tabled was that of the Department of Tourism. Another meeting would be scheduled to adopt the report on the APPs. The Ministry had confirmed 1 June as the date for the budget debate for the Department of Tourism.
Ministry's opening remarks
Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, Minister of Tourism, said that the Deputy Minister would lead the discussion in the meeting.
Mr Amos Mahlalela, Deputy Minister, said that they were presenting the APP (APP) and the budget in a tourism operating environment that was fundamentally changed because of the severe disruptions by the pandemic. The international market had been highly disrupted, and was likely to remain impacted because of the continuous new developments and the way in which the pandemic was evolving, as well as the travel behaviour. The extent to which they were able to present the situation of a confident and safer environment depended on the extent to which the country and the world were able to curb the virus and reduce its spread.
Domestic demand was operating under strenuous conditions due to the impact that the pandemic had on disposable income. Uncertainty still remained a core characteristic of the changing environment. The Department of Tourism (DoT), had developed a sector recovery plan as a response to this environment, based on the government’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan (ERRP). The sector recovery plan’s main intention was to make sure that they ignite the tourism sector and place it on the path of long term sustainability. While doing that they, would be contributing towards the ERRP. Linked to the ERRP, tourism projects would make a contribution to infrastructure.
One of the contributions of tourism was to mass employment ,where there were various programmes in the APP. Skills development was key to the plan, in order to try and build the capacity of the sector and ensure there was an adequate workforce.
The sector recovery plan was based on three pillars which were interrelated. The domestic demand would be used as the anchor for the recovery, followed by the regional market. Once open, they could expand to the international market. As they engaged in the recovery plan, they wanted to make sure that as the sector recovered, it did so fundamentally in a manner that took into consideration that it must be inclusive and contribute to the growth and the development of South Africa, and must benefit people in the rural areas. Tourism had the potential to contribute towards closing the gap between the haves and the have-nots.
Department of Tourism's APP
Programme 1: Corporate management
Mr Blessing Manale, Acting Deputy Director-General (DDG), DT, said this Branch provides strategic leadership, management and support services to the Department. The programme includes seven areas. These were audit, human resources, legal, communications, office of the director general, strategy systems as well as finance.
Output 1: The target was to have an unqualified annual audit on both financial statements and performance information.
The key deliverable was to make sure that they submit the required documents to Treasury.
Output 2: The target was to make sure the vacancy rate does not exceed 10% of the funded establishment.
Output 3: To attract and retain a capable and ethical workforce in a caring environment, with targets of 50% for women, 3% for people with disabilities, and 91.5% for black representation.
Output 4: Capacity development interventions to address identified skills gaps. Implementation of a branch-targeted workplace skills plan (WSP), with defined targeted training interventions.
Output 5: Audit reports with recommendations as per the approved internal audit plan, targeting 100% implementation.
Output 6: Implementation of the Departmental communications strategy and awareness campaign plan.
Output 7: Departmental expenditure to contribute to the government’s economic transformation agenda through the procurement of goods and services from broad-based black ecopnomic empowerment (B-BBEE) compliant businesses and small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). The target was to maintain 100% of their expenditure through B-BEE compliant enterprises, with a minimum 30% of procurement of goods and services from SMMEs.
Output 8: Initiatives to support the tourism sector recovery.
Output 9: Departmental expenditure to contribute to the government’s economic transformation agenda. The target was payment of all compliant invoices within 30 days, including state-owned entities (SOEs) and municipalities.
Output 10: Promotion of reasonable access and gender equity, with seven initiatives implemented to promote reasonable access.
Output 11: Promotion of reasonable access and gender equity, with eight initiatives implemented to promote gender equity.
Output 12: Achieve good corporate governance through 11 initiatives to promote integrity and ethical conduct.
Programme 2: Tourism research, policy and international relations annual targets.
Ms Anemé Malan, DDG: Tourism Research Policy and International Relations, DT, said this branch enhanced strategic policy environment, monitored the tourism sector’s performance and enabled stakeholder relations. It had six output indicators and around 26 targets for the year.
The first output addressed the production of monitoring and evaluation reports. They would produce nine monitoring and evaluation reports.
The second out indicator dealt with regulatory initiatives for tourism growth and development in which they had a number of initiatives to create an enabling policy and regulatory environment for tourism growth and development.
The third output spoke to the development of South African Tourism (SAT) oversight reports.
The fourth output dealt with the number of information and knowledge systems developed and implemented. There were two systems involved -- an integrated tourism knowledge system, and data collection and verification conducted in line with the National Tourism Information and Monitoring System (NTIMS) regulations.
Programme 3: Destination development
Ms Shamilla Chettiar, DDG: Policy and Knowledge Service, DT, said this branch ensures coordination and development of amenities, facilities, products and infrastructure to deliver quality visitor experiences and enhance communities well-being. This was achieved through the provision of coherent destination planning, investment promotion, tourism product and infrastructure enhancement and development, and experience development and job creation through the Working for Tourism programme. It had nine output indicators.
The first indicator dealt with destination enhancement and route development projects implemented to diversify tourism offerings and enhance visitor experience in identified priority areas. There were a number of destination planning and investment and coordination initiatives that had been undertaken. One of the targets for this year was a piloting the budget resort network and brand concept.
Output Two dealt with destination enhancement and route development projects implemented to diversify tourism offerings and enhance visitor experience in identified priority areas. There were three destination enhancement initiatives supported. One of the initiatives was an infrastructure programme implemented in 19 national parks.
Output indicator referred to the number of work opportunities created through Working for Tourism projects. The target was for 3 826 work opportunities to be created.
Programme 4: Tourism sector support services
Ms Mmaditonki Setwaba, DDG: Tourism Sector Support Service, DT, said this branch enhances transformation of the sector, increases skills levels and supports development to ensure that South Africa is a competitive tourism destination. It had six output indicators.
The Department had packaged its work in terms of four units, which were enterprise development and transformation, tourism incentive programme, tourism sector visitor services, and tourism sector human resource development.
It would implement two incentive programmes -- the Tourism Equity Fund and the Green Tourism Incentive Programme (GTIP).
In order to stimulate domestic tourism, it would proceed with implementing the domestic tourism scheme.
There were incubation programmes targeted at SMMEs.
To increase women's participation and drive inclusive economic growth, there were two programmes that would be targeted towards women in the sector. The first programme was the Women in Tourism Business, where they would be focusing on 225 women for business development and support programmes. The second programme was the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), which was aimed at increasing skills. The pilot programme for the UNWTO would begin in the Mopani and Vhembe districts.
To ensure that visitor services were enhanced, the service excellence programme would continue to be implemented, targeting the Northern Cape and Limpopo this year.
The Department would also be implementing the tourism monitors' programme nationally. This was a drive for safety, using the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) vehicle.
In order to enhance skills in the sector, there were a number of capacity building programmes (slides 50-57). There was one programme to capacitate tourist guides, focusing on the North West, Northern Cape and the Free State. There would also be the food safety quality assurance programme, with training on norms and standards, where they were targeting 300 unemployed youths in KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape and Gauteng.
Mr Ralph Ackerman, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), DT, said four financial years were included in the presentation, with the focus on the previous and the current financial years, 2020/21 and 2021/22.
In the previous year, the Department had returned R1 billion from its budget to National Treasury which made their total budget in the previous year R1.4 billion. In the 2021/22 financial year, their total budget was R2.4 billion.
He highlighted that the compensation of employees had remained constant -- there were no salary increases. The largest component of the budget was the transfers and subsidies, which was R1.6 billion as a result of the transfer payment to South African Tourism.
Risks and risk mitigation
Mr Victor Tharage, Director-General (DG), DT, presented the risks and the risk mitigation strategy.
With regard to increasing the tourism sector's contribution to inclusive economic growth, he said the major risk they faced was the ability to meet transformation targets as a sector. They believed that to overcome that risk, they had to strengthen the monitoring part of the Tourism Transformation Charter Council. Part of that would be the process that the Council had embarked upon already, which was to ensure that it had independence. Other issues facing this outcome included ensuring that their policy environment was adapting to the changes, the poor brand reputation, and the effects of climate change, etc.
The risks to achieving good corporate and cooperative governance included the inadequate capacity to manage infrastructure, inadequate contract management, as well as monopolies and collusive practices, to name a few. The mitigation strategies for these included the transfer of knowledge and skills by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) in the management of infrastructure projects, as well as the monitoring of supplier patterns and encouraging supplier rotation in an effort to mitigate the risk of monopoly developments.
Mr K Mmoeimang (ANC, Northern Cape) addressed the Tourism Equity Fund issue, stating that he did not see anything in the presentation with regard to the lawsuit by Afriforum. He asked if the litigation process was still in progress, or if a settlement between the Department and Afriforum had been reached. The issue was important, because there was reference in the presentation by the CFO to the Working for Tourism budget reduction, which was attributed to the establishment of the Tourism Equity Fund and the Tourism Incentive Programme, so he wanted to know if the litigation was still in progress and what the terms of the interdict were. Did the interdict also have an impact on the Tourism Transformation Fund or Working for Tourism? It was critical that they got a sense as to whether the Department was contesting the demands to ensure that the transformation programme and programme 4 were not halted.
Secondly, he asked at what level the infrastructure programme was being implemented -- was it through South African Tourism, or by the Department? He was mindful that the DG had been honest in alluding to the challenges around project management that were raised in the past concerning infrastructure implementation. The DG had indicated that they had roped in the DBSA as an implementing agent -- was this a short term measure, as outsourcing had to be an interim programme to mitigate these challenges? As part and parcel of their commitment to building a capable and developmental state, in-house capacity was important, so he asked if there was any plan to build the in-house capacity so that they did not have to rely on the DBSA, which would at some point be overstretched as they were also an integral part of the infrastructure development that was spearheaded by both the Department of Public Works and the Presidential infrastructure unit.
With reference to the key strategic themes of the planning for recovery which were centered on re-igniting demand, the rejuvenation of supply and also strengthening capability, he asked whether the main focus was on domestic tourism or the global tourism market. If the emphasis was on reorientating the sector towards rejuvenating domestic demand, the strategic orientation also had to shift.
Lastly, he referred to the engagement that the Committee had with the Departmental team and provinces, as well as the local municipalities. He appreciated the number of initiatives that they were applying across the country, but thought that key to that was one of the distinguishing features that they had always talked about. This was the need to strengthen the coordination capacity at the local level in order to ensure that whether it was through the local economic development or through tourism, they did not see it as an unfunded mandate. It was important that it becomes a much closer element in monitoring and evaluation, and also that responsibility for coordination at the local level, with the emphasis on small towns and villages, was given to local municipalities. Within the district development model (DDM), coordination around the three spheres should put much more emphasis on the local level. He wanted to get the sense of the Department’s plans of ensuring that the recommendations that were fashioned from their engagement with the Committee, with regard to coordination across the three spheres, were taken forward.
Ms H Boshoff (DA, Mpumalanga) said she needed to get information on the policy review process under programme 2. Had the programme started yet? If so, what was the outcome? Did the review panel have the right to speak on quality assurance and the grading of establishments? Would the panel be allowed to make recommendations on possible tax breaks, or was that something that would be done by Treasury? They needed to know this, because everyone was suffering in these trying times.
She asked when the Department envisaged receiving the full final proposals for the Minister’s consideration, and how long after that the final proposal would be gazetted for public participation. She asked if the Department of Tourism had had any collaboration or discussions with stakeholders like the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), roads departments, the Department of the Environment, and the South African Police Service (SAPS), because many of the smaller towns were losing income due to the state of the roads and the lack of infrastructure in the smaller towns, especially with respect to electricity and water supply and the continuous flow of raw sewage. This was chasing potential tourists away from the little towns. She also highlighted that safety was a big issue, referring to a case of an ATM bombing in Graskop, and stating that it was not good for both Graskop and other small towns when these incidents happened, as they chased away possible tourists.
With regard to a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, she said Gauteng had alluded to seeing a spike in cases due to non-compliance, and North West and KwaZulu-Natal were also referring to a possible third wave. Had the Department taken any measures to enlighten domestic tourists of these areas and requested them to stay away for protection purposes? They all knew that the only way the spread of Covid could be stopped was by herd immunity, but unfortunately the country was behind. She also asked what had been done about visitors from abroad -- did they need to prove that they have been vaccinated and if so, did they still need to be quarantined for a certain period? They could not "sit back and wait for the National Command Council to decide for us.”
What steps had been taken to assist small tourism startups and also to ensure that small businesses were revived? How many businesses had received the Covid relief funds, and what was the amount given to each of the businesses? She wanted to know what bilateral discussions the Minister had had with other countries, and who these other countries were. Had the Minister signed any memorandums of understanding (MoUs) on matters relating to tourism which was important to them and to the country? If so, what did these MoUs entail? Lastly, which neighbouring areas would benefit from the Numbi Gate project? She said it would be great if the Select Committee could go and do oversight at the various projects, not only the Numbi Gate project.
Mr M Dangor (DA, Gauteng) asked if the Department had considered training people -- especially officials of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) who were overses -- in order to understand tourism and how to promote it. Were there training sessions for the senior leadership, ambassadors, consul generals, and also the third, fourth and fifth secretaries? He said that they should consider training for those officials who were overseas already. When they came back on their leave, they should take extra days for training with the tourism ministry. It was important that they understood their markets -- the large markets and the large spenders --and attracted the large spenders into South Africa. He referred to an incident where an official had inapproprately promoted wine in Saudi Arabia.
The Chairperson thanked the Department for the presentation, and commended them especially on Programme 1 (Corporate management), with the details of the output indicators. The Committee sometimes used the output indicators as a benchmark when they asked questions to other departments. Other departments, when they came to that programme, tended to focus on around three areas, whereas the Department of Tourism had focused on twelve. He had not seen, as one of the output indicators under the corporate management, the target that the President had talked about in the State of the Nation Address (SONA), which was of the 40% procurement from women and youth-owned businesses and enterprises.
He said he did not know how many countries had banned South Africa due to the Covid variant that was identified in the country. He asked what the Department, maybe in collaboration with the Department of Health, was doing to convince the countries to visit South Africa, and also to explain the variant. Generally, how was the ban on South Africa affecting international visits to the country? With regard to the tourism sector recovery plan being part of the ERRP, were there any additional resources to ensure that they implemented the plan? The CFO had said that R1 billion was sent back to Treasury, and that R1 billion was now back. However, the R1 billion was actually part of the Department’s budget in 2019, so he wanted to know if there would be any additional funding with regard to the recovery plan.
Though the Committee had been part of the launch, the Tourism Equity Fund (TEF) had not been formally presented to them, but as part of their own programme, they would be inviting the Department to brief the Committee. They were aware, through the media, that there were challenges.
Lastly, he said that the Minister once announced that she was considering different prices for domestic tourists and international tourists. How far were they with the implementation of price differentiation for domestic and international tourists? He was part of the group that went to Aliwal North, where there was a dilapidated tourist attraction, and he wanted to know what the process and the role of the Department was nationally in infrastructure maintenance. How did the Department identify the projects that they were focusing on, in terms of infrastructure? Were the provinces giving the Department information on those projects, or did they identify them themselves?
Mr Manale responded on the 40% target for women, youth and people with disabilities, and said that the target had been cascaded down to the business plan because a fair amount had already been embedded in the 30% of SMEs, and they did not want to stretch the target to more than this. It was in the business plan of the supply chain and cut across all the branches so that they would be able to meet the target.
Ms Malan responded to the questions relating to programme 2. She said that when South African Tourism came to present their APP, they would provide more detail regarding the focus on South African tourism. There was a big focus on domestic tourism within the current financial year, while still retaining some focus on international tourism.
With regard to the review of the policy, she said the process had started with the appointment of the advisory panel by the Minister last year. They were busy with consultations and were targeting a green paper to be developed by the end of the financial year. During the financial year, the panel would have to present their policy proposals to the Minister for her consideration.
Tax breaks was indeed a Treasury responsibility, but the matters involving the assurance and grading was something that they could look into.
South Africa had historically signed a number of MoUs with countries on the development and promotion of tourism, and there was also a number of MoUs that were ready to be signed. They had prioritized the MoUs that were ready to be signed as soon as possible. In terms of bilaterals, during the last year and this year, the Minister had had a number of discussions, including with the ambassadors of Germany, the USA and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), depending on the issues at the specific time, and those bilaterals were continuing.
Regarding the training of DIRCO officials, the Department, together with South African Tourism, were training ambassadors that were posted overseas, as well as other officials at all levels, on request from DIRCO.
The Department had not received any additional funding for additional resources in terms of the Tourism sector recovery plan. The Department and South African Tourism had aligned their APPs to the actions that were relevant for implementation, so that the funds that they had were spent on driving the implementation of the tourism sector recovery plan.
Referring to the impact of closed borders, she indicated that in February, South Africa saw a 88.7% decrease in tourist arrivals, compared to the same month last year. This was in line with what they had seen internationally, as there was a decline of 87% internationally in January compared to the previous year, so there was a huge impact on the arrivals in South Africa.
Ms Chettiar responded to the questions relating to Programme Three, and highlighted two elements related to the plan for in-house capacity. One element was actually having built environment professionals -- engineers, quantity surveyors, etc. The second element was looking at project management and contract management capacity. She did not believe that the Department had any plans to employ built environment professionals in the future. It was a function that would be outsourced, as it was not a function that was needed every day, and the resources came in at a significant cost.
The Department had provided specific training to their various teams on contract and project management. Some teams that were part of their project management unit had gone through university courses to become certified project managers. With regard to the work that the Department was doing with the DBSA, there was a plan around skills transfer for project management and contract management in the Department itself. They were building the project and contract management capacity, but in the long term, built environment professionals would be outsourced.
There were two communities that surrounded the Numbi Gate project, and the work the Department was doing at the moment was stakeholder engagements in order to understand their specific needs and requirements. Both communities had tourism facilities that were in need of support and maintenance.
The selection of projects for the maintenance programme was done in consultation with the provinces, which provide the Department with the tourism assets that they believe were highly visited but were in need of maintenance and repair. The Department was working with the provincial and DBSA teams to do conditional assessments on those properties to establish the kind of maintenance work required. It was therefore a consultative process in order to identify the projects.
Ms Setwaba responded to the questions regarding the fourth programme, and said the Department had a plan in their business plan to strengthen the capacity of local government. It had been in their APP for some time, and the fact that it was now in the business plan did not make it less important.
She presented two programmes that she said were intended to make sure that local government was strengthened in order make tourism thrive in their respective jurisdictions. Firtsly, the Department was providing a platform for practitioners, through the peer learning network, to interact with one another and share experiences and expertise in terms of how they were managing the growth of tourism in their localities. It was a project that the Department was driving every now and then to call practitioners to be able to share experiences. Secondly, together with local government, the Department was galvanising the industry to come around and were able to expose them to what it was offering in its programmes at both the departmental and local government level. Most of the programmes were geared towards local governments. The Department partnered with provinces on how best to recruit beneficiaries for the skills development programmes, as well as the monitors' programme. Provinces also played a role in identifying areas where monitors could be placed, and most of the beneficiaries were locally sourced. There were instances in these programmes, especially in the tourism monitors' programme, where the provincial tourism agencies were appointed to manage or implement Departmental programmes.
The size of the Covid 19 Relief Fund was R200 million, and they had been able to support 4 000 businesses, each at R50 000.
Mr Tharage said one business had been overpaid by R50 000 from the fund, and the Department had instituted all the processes to recover the money. The Tourism Equity Fund was currently under an interdict not to proceed with the processing of applications. Until the court processes were concluded, he requested that they do not go into detail about it, as it was currently sub judice.
On the Department's capacity to deal with projects, he said they had had challenges in getting infrastructure projects completed on time and with the requisite quality, as well as problems with completing them within the costs that were originally envisaged. However, they believed that the processes they had embarked on would help them to deal with these three aspects, and they would then be able to move forward.
As part of the recovery plan, they were looking at the protection and rejuvenation of the supply side. All the maintenance they had been talking about was to ensure that by the time they came to full recovery, their main base -- particularly the big attractions in the state’s hands -- were not dilapidated to the point that they do not have a product in place. They were also looking at the stimulation of demand, and he referred to the campaign that the Minister was championing with the support of the Deputy Minister, ensuring that the domestic tourism message was well received.
He said that when South African Tourism came before the Committee, it would outline what would happen with regard to supply from the point of regional and international tourism. The strengthening of the capacity would also link to the aspects of how they would be working with Home Affairs on the issue of E-visas and how they would work together with the SAPS on issues of safety.
There was greater cooperation with government at all levels to ensure that they got the recovery going. Before the Minister took the plan to Cabinet for approval, there had been participation by local government. It had been developed with the full cooperation of industry at large, which was why the Minister had called it the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan, as it was seen as a plan for all of tourism.
Their safety programme in partnership with the SAPS, as well as the industry, had three pillars. One of the pillars was preventative measures, which included visibility, prioritising high volume areas. There would be measures put in place where there were major big attractions, and all areas with a high level of tourist traffic. If an incident occurred, the monitors on the ground would alert the necessary system to kick in.
One of the things the Department had relied upon was the wisdom of the scientists who advised the Minister of Health, in order to give direction in matters of prevention. This had been translated into the regulations in terms of the Disaster Management Act, and subsequently the directions that get issued by the Minister from time to time. This had worked for the Department, and was what had enabled them to reopen much earlier than they had anticipated, so they believed that they should use that formula.
With regard to issues of immunity, there had been clear indications that there were countries with more vaccines, and there were matters relating to pricing. It was important to achieve herd immunity, and he believed that the country would get to that point. However, he did not want to go into what had been said in relation to the vaccination issues.
Regarding the matter raised by Mr Dangor about the relevance of the message to certain markets, he said that some of the issues had been taken into account by South African Tourism in their segmentation approach, going into depth of the cultural and historical dynamics so that they understand the environment.
He also highlighted that there was no additional money that came with the ERRP. Because the ERRP was a priority in the country -- just as the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan was a priority when it came to tourism -- it was important that Department align their APP fully and make sure that it addressed those matters. The Minister’s directive was that if an APP was brought to the Department or SAT, and it did not show how the economic reconstruction and recovery plan would be implemented, as well as the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan, she would not consider it.
Minister Kubayi-Ngubane began by responding to the questions regarding recovery issues. She said they were promoting domestic tourism as the first phase of the recovery. Then there was an area of international marketing, because they understood that in the long term they had to be able to defend the markets that they existed in and be able to retain these source markets, and also penetrate new markets. She emphasised that spending on international markets could not be withdrawn completely, so that when they recovered they would still have international market participation. They would push domestic tourism as the current way of sustaining the sector, but also support international tourism.
As they were drafting the policy review, they were having consultations with various sector players. They would then have the benefit of driving a policy which was inclusive of everybody involved. Members of the public would be expected to make their inputs.
They were cognisant that the third Covid wave was a threat, and what needed to be done was to continue with their messaging, emphasising the need for South Africans to wear masks, social distancing and sanitising. They did see some level of non-compliance in some of the communities, which posed a threat, so from the tourism point of view they emphasised their support so that they did not move away from the balance of saving lives and saving livelihoods, and continued with the risk adjusted strategy.
They had engaged various embassies, and she had also been on media platforms in other countries such as Germany, in order to communicate how South Africa was managing the virus. They were finding that there were misunderstandings about the situation in South Africa and as they engaged with other countries, and were able to explain and rebuild the brand internationally and get into their key source markets. They had engaged with China and the UAE, particularly around the Emirates flights. They have also been on CNN, where they had talked about the impact of the vaccine rollout on the economy and tourism. There were currently 104 countries that had banned South Africa or listed it as undesirable to visit, which was a serious concern for the Department.
Lastly, she said there were embassies that were driving the work that tourism was doing, and there was collaboration with DIRCO and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC).
The Chairperson thanked the Department and the Minister and the Deputy Minister for the presentation, and said it would form the basis of their debate on 1 June. He also indicated to the staff that they should make sure that by next week they had the report ready for adoption.
They would have to defer the report on the special economic zones (SEZs) which they had discussed during the last term, as well as the minutes of the meeting that was held on 8 May.
The meeting was adjourned.
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