A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE Ms E Thabethe (ANC)
21 June 2005
SA TOURISM SHO’T LEFT CAMPAIGN: BRIEFING; COMMITTEE PROGRAMME AND KOEBERG NUCLEAR POWER STATION VISIT REPORT: ADOPTION
Documents handed out:
ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
Ms E Thabethe (ANC)
SA Tourism Sho’t Left Campaign briefing
Draft Third Term Committee Programme
Sho’t Left Campaign website
Report on Koeberg Nuclear Power Station Committee Visit ( available shortly @Committee Reports)
SA Tourism presented an update on their Sho’t Left Campaign that focused on developing the domestic travel market. The campaign had aimed at achieving a reduction in seasonality, improving geographic spread and contributing towards transformation. The message to the public was that holidays were affordable, do-able and good for you. There had been an increase in bookings during the traditional low season; an increase of 11% had been recorded in domestic travel during 2004, and public interest had been increased.
Certain products were still not available in all provinces and ongoing promotion and advertising throughout the provinces was hoped to correct this imbalance. Empowerment and the inclusion of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) businesses had occurred to some extent, but there was room for improvement. The target market was the segment of the population that had the available disposable income to spend on travel. A large segment of the market still remained untapped and not catered for in terms of products and affordability. This posed an ongoing challenge.
Members queried the success of the campaign; whether it reached poorer communities and schools; if older persons were being targeted, and whether emerging businesses were given opportunities to benefit from the campaign.
The Committee also adopted a report on its visit to the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station with a few technical amendments. It further adopted the draft third term Committee Programme.
SA Tourism briefing
Ms Roshnie Singh, Portfolio Manager: Domestic Marketing and SADC, said they had launched the Sho’t Left campaign in May 2004. It had been focused purely on the domestic market. This segment could contribute to GDP growth, as well as to job creation. Their objectives had been to increase local travel volumes, to reduce the incidence of seasonality in tourism in the country, to improve geographic spread evenly throughout all nine provinces, and to contribute towards transformation. There was significant room for growth in the Domestic Travelling Population, since out of an adult population of 28 million, only 15 million travelled in 2003. Nearly two-thirds of travel was for the purpose of visiting friends and relatives, which did not necessarily grow GDP. Therefore the leisure and holiday industry had to be developed.
The campaign was targeted at the emerging travel market, which consisted of the so-called "young and up and coming", "striving families" and "well-off homely couples" and aimed at showing these segments of the population that there were other travel options available, and to instil a culture of travel. The message was that holidays "were affordable, do-able and good for you". Domestic travel in 2004 had increased by 11% and new products such as the Fun Bus had been a resounding success.
The Sho’t Left 2005 campaign was a continuation of the campaign launched in 2004 and had been aimed especially at low season periods. Each province had contributed R1million towards the campaign, which would end in August 2005. Radio, TV and print advertising had been used to raise awareness. The media exposure return on investment had been 70%. There had been a public relations focus from April, which would continue until August 2005. Publicity support had come from newspapers, magazines and radio.
Targeting economically active shoppers and employees would be part of the Activation Focus. This would be facilitated with road shows, expo’s and shopping mall promotion. Directing interest and converting it to actual holiday bookings had been facilitated by the SA Tourism Call Centre, the SA Tourism website and Association of SA Travel Agents (ASATA). More than 5 000 agents had received brochures on Sho’t Left packages and an Enterprise Programme would be responsible for the training of travel representatives to sell packages door-to-door. Ms Singh said many agents still seemed to be unaware of the products and some tour operators were not explaining the products on delivery. It was imperative that the trade ‘got on board’ after being historically focussing on the international and corporate markets. This would remain a challenge, but mindsets had to be changed in order to empower agents in the quest not only for profit, but for nation-building. She was confident that the campaign would achieve its objectives.
Mr M Swart (DA) asked whether there were any plans to institute a ‘Fun Bus’ from Cape Town. He asked whether the impending lower SA Airways (SAA) fares would be incorporated into the packages. He asked whether labour legislation should be changed since the campaign was encouraging people to take shorter, more frequent breaks, whereas labour legislation advocated one long holiday per year.
Mr K Durr (ACDP) said that much more needed to be done to cater for the poorer segment of the population. There should be places where campsites were set up and activities were organised, in order to allow these people to vacation as families.
Ms C Zikalala (IFP) asked to what extent the campaign reached poorer communities and questioned whether these packages were affordable.
Ms M Ntuli (ANC) asked whether any of the trips catered for school groups, since tourism was a school subject. Children should be encouraged and needed to see their own country. She asked if emerging black businesswomen were included in the packages, as many of them ran Bed and Breakfasts (B&Bs). She suggested the campaign link up with these business people.
Ms Singh said that unfortunately those with the highest disposable income lived in Gauteng and therefore the Fun Bus ran from Johannesburg, although there were plans to add one from Durban. They would eventually target the untapped market, but initially had to focus on the so-called "low hanging fruit’, the segment of the market that had sufficient disposable income to afford these packages. They simply had to be encouraged to place travel next to the other priorities on their list.
Britain had run ‘Butlins resorts’ which catered for people with low disposable incomes. Such a product still needed to be developed in South Africa. They first had to target that segment of the population most likely to respond positively to their advertising, and then the message would eventually spread to the other segments. SA Tourism had signed a memorandum of agreement with SAA, which would ensure their buy-in to the campaign. She could not comment on the proposal to adjust labour legislation, but suggested that school holidays be staggered.
During Tourism Month, each province would create awareness around travel and East London always provided free bus transport for that month to see the ‘Big Five’ tourist sites. Outreach through the unions and church groups had been initiated and even Stokvel TV had been used to raise awareness and to advertise promotions. They had included B&Bs in the packages and an Entrepreneurial Tourism Award had been established whereby 45 B&Bs had been short-listed and nine finalists had been chosen. The winner would be selected in London and would gain exposure in the newspapers and travel agents.
Mr G Morgan (DA) asked why backpackers’ lodges often did not accommodate South Africans, since this was one of the most affordable and accessible ways to travel. Surely they could at least open their doors to South Africans during low season?
Mr D Olifant (ANC) asked whether small and emerging business were being directed towards the domestic market and being encouraged to join the campaign, especially since they battled to compete with the big players in the international market. He suggested that independent tour operators that organised buses for one-off events should be drawn into the campaign in order to encourage Capetonians to travel more widely.
A Member suggested the use of rural community radio stations to educate the public, and the staging of events like concerts to attract people to a certain area where there were other sites of natural beauty. South Africans were often cautious about visiting these places because of the perceived threat of crime, while overseas visitors did not allow this to be an inhibiting factor. It was imperative that all children gain a greater awareness of the natural beauty of their country.
Mr J Arendse (ANC) asked whether the campaign would be continued over the next few years.
Mr S Maja (ANC) asked whether senior and disabled citizens were being accommodated in the Sho’t Left packages.
Mr M Moss (ANC) said travelling was especially difficult for those in a wheelchair and necessitated expensive private transport.
Mr A Mokoena (ANC) said there had been suggestions that the campaign was a failure, since it did not benefit the intended beneficiaries and that it had been hijacked by big business. He suggested that the taxi industry be harnessed to provide transport to the tourism industry. This might result in a decrease in violence as it would mean a bigger cake for all to share.
Ms Singh agreed that previous disadvantaged individuals (PDIs) did not benefit enough from the initiative as yet, but B&Bs in the townships had been included. Four big players and four small players had been ‘marshalled’ in the process. One of the latter was Vuya Africa. Tour operators still needed to package products, and these products were not always easy to find. They considered this an ongoing challenge and every effort was being made to spread the benefits to all. Unfortunately all people aspired to staying in five-star hotels and it would take a while to change this mindset. They had enlisted twenty small, medium and emerging tour operators. They were still in the process of learning the business as they came from a marketing background. Commission structures were still in the process of adjustment. Every product in the campaign had been graded, which implied that all adhered to the requirement of providing access to the disabled.
Ms Singh agreed that backpackers’ lodges were loathe to provide accommodation to locals. Often they were simply too fully booked, but unfortunately they still exhibited racist tendencies. Community radio had been used to promote the campaign. The suggestion to organise events at certain popular tourist sites would be taken on board. The campaign was intended to run for three years and there would be a monthly survey conducted to assess its effectiveness. They would be moving away from TV as a medium to more promotional work and accessing big companies. They had initially targeted the young and up and coming segment of the population, but this did not exclude senior citizens. Group travel had been found to be popular with older people. She did admit that it was an oversight on their part. Older active couples were in fact more likely to tour and tended to travel throughout the year.
The Chairperson asked that the Committee be updated before Tourism Month on any further developments.
Ms Singh said World Tourism Day would take place in Bloemfontein on 27 September. A tourism conference would take place at Sun City during the first week of October. The Department had made block bookings for accommodation.
The Chairperson said Members should consider themselves ambassadors to their constituencies during the month of September and should promote the idea of travel through South Africa as part of their oversight work.
Koeberg Nuclear Powerstation Visit: Committee Report
Members then discussed the Committee report on the visit to Koeberg Nuclear Powerstation.
Mr Morgan said the term "air quality" was inaccurate, as it was not so much air quality which came into question with nuclear power plants, but issues of environmental safety, such as the incidence of radiation, He proposed the term be changed to "environmental safety".
Ms Ntuli disagreed and felt the issue of safety had been dealt with further on in the report under the item on business operations and processes.
Mr Olifant concurred with Mr Morgan and said that as a Committee, they had undertaken to visit ‘hot spots’ in the country, of which Koeberg Nuclear Power Station had been considered one. Air quality was not the overriding concern in this instance, and he agreed the statement should be changed
The Chairperson agreed to replace the statement to read "environmental safety".
Mr Morgan said the report provided some background on the Pebble-bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) project, while failing to mention that since its inception, Escalon had withdrawn as an investor. This fact should be included in the report. The Chairperson agreed this should be included.
The Chairperson put the report with its amendments to the Committee. Mr Olifant moved to adopt. Mr Morgan seconded the motion.
The Chairperson said the Committee would be involved in oversight work from 1 - 19 August. Their visit to St Lucia had not been completed and the Committee would have to go back in order to see all the poverty alleviation projects in that area. Their visits to the Eastern Cape would include both ecosystems and poverty alleviation projects. The briefing by industry on how they intended to comply with current legislation on clean air would take place on 23 August and phasing out of the use of asbestos would be discussed on 30 August. The long outstanding visit to the Johannesburg International Airport was scheduled for 6 September. On 13 September, the Committee would be briefed by the Tourism Sector Education and Training Authority (TSETA) on blockages experienced in fulfilling its mandate. The programme could be updated and might include another briefing on the fishing industry. The Chairperson said that international study tours were still subject to approval and might only be included in the next year’s business plan. She suggested they request permission to attend the next International Travel Market.
Ms Zikalala asked whether they could discuss issues not included in this programme. The Chairperson said further issues and visits would be placed on the next programme and would not be forgotten.
The meeting was adjourned.
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