Hansard: NA: Debate on Vote 33: Tourism (OAC)
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 14 May 2015
No summary available.
EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Thursday, 14 May 2015 Take: 50
THURSDAY, 14 MAY 2015
PROCEEDINGS OF EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMITTEE – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Members of the Extended Public Committee met in the Old Assembly Chamber at 14:01.
House Chairperson Ms M G Boroto, as Chairperson, took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto)
START OF DAY
Debate on Vote No 33 – Tourism:
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Before we start, I just want to say to our distinguished guests in the gallery and members of the public that you are very welcome at this Extended Public Committee meeting. However, the Rules of Parliament expect you to assume observer status. That means that you won’t participate in the proceedings that are taking place on the floor, and that includes the clapping of hands, using of cameras and any other type of participation. You are very welcome and we appreciate that. Thank you very much.
The MINISTER OF TOURISM: Chairperson and hon members, tourism is about creating opportunity, hope and a better life for all.
It is about people. It’s about the people who are working across the tourism value chain, and it’s about the millions of people who come here from all over the world to savour what our country has to offer. Improving this experience and selling it to the world, so that our people derive lasting benefits out of tourism, is what drives the plans and projects in the budget that we are presenting here to you today.
This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Freedom Charter. The well-known clause: “The People Shall Share in the Country’s Wealth!”, goes to the heart of our commitment to advancing inclusive, sustainable growth and job creation.
The Freedom Charter also captures an aspiration with very explicit relevance to our industry: “Rest, leisure and recreation shall be the right of all”. This, I believe, guides us towards creating affordable access for all our people to enjoying our rich natural and cultural heritage.
Tourism growth is not only about increasing the numbers of domestic tourists or international arrivals. It is about growth that is environmentally and socially responsible, and that brings marginalised people and communities into the tourism mainstream.
It’s about connecting people and enriching their lives. Tourism is our opportunity to share our rich history, our diverse cultures, our wildlife and our incredible scenic beauty with people from all over the world.
Hon members, it is clear that tourism is making a huge impact on our country. That is why it is recognised in the National Development Plan as one of the main drivers of South Africa’s economy. The tourism budget for 2015-16 is R1,8 billion. Considering that this represents only 0,13% of the total budget, we are doing extremely well. According to the latest economic impact report published by the World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism contributed 9,4% to South Africa’s gross domestic product in 2014, and almost 10% to employment.
This means that about one in every ten job opportunities in our country is supported by tourism. These employment opportunities include direct tourism jobs in hotels, restaurants, entertainment, tour guiding, travel agencies, conference organisation and tour operating. It also includes the indirect jobs throughout the industries that support the tourism value chain.
The facts speak for themselves. If we succeed in achieving our tourism growth targets, we will make a massive difference in tackling poverty and unemployment in our country. And the good news is that, despite some of the recent challenges, including the unfortunate effect of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, our tourism industry continues to grow. The 6,6% growth recorded in 2014 once again exceeded the average global growth in tourism.
I was delighted to have some of our committee members, as well as many of you who are in the gallery today, join us at Indaba 2015 in Durban a few days ago. Indaba is the largest travel show on our continent by far. With more than 1 000 exhibitors, including 300 exhibitors from 20 African countries, and about 2 000 buyers from the world’s tourism source markets, Indaba 2015 was a resounding success. [Applause.] Indeed. The support that we enjoyed from countries across the continent reinforced the spirit of Africa Month as a celebration of unity.
During the event I announced that we intend to expand Indaba’s footprint through new partnerships. In the next few months we will be issuing a call for proposals from prospective partners with a global reach to work with us to make Indaba even more competitive.
We have ambitious targets to grow our international tourist arrivals over the next few years. Our target is to attract 12 million international tourist arrivals by 2018, and we are hoping to see an increase in domestic holiday trips from 2,8 million in 2014 to 4,1 million by 2020.
With this level of growth, we will be well on track to achieving the NDP’s target of creating 225 000 additional jobs within the sector by 2020.
To help us achieve these targets, 54% of our budget for this year goes to South African Tourism. Growth in domestic tourism is critical to the future of the tourism sector in South Africa. In the next year, South African Tourism will focus on building a culture of tourism with a ring-fenced budget of R100 million. A significantly enhanced marketing programme will combine awareness of the benefits of travel with exciting destinations and affordable product offerings.
South African Tourism has been doing an outstanding job in marketing destination South Africa. However, we must continuously ask ourselves: How can we market our magnificent destination even better? How can we make our attractive offer even more attractive?
It is in this context that I appointed a panel to review the work of South African Tourism. The final report of this panel, which was chaired by the former Minister of Environment and Tourism, Mr Valli Moosa, will soon be presented to me. I am confident that the outcome of the review will steer us on a path of continuous innovation.
Throughout the world, tourists vote with their feet. Their votes are based on the service they receive, ease of travel, and the value for money offered by destinations. In the highly competitive global marketplace that we operate in, we must work harder than ever to ensure that every tourist who arrives on our shores has the best experience possible.
Several initiatives are being implemented under this budget to enhance our amazing destination offerings, while at the same time promoting transformation and responsible tourism.
In March this year I announced the introduction of the Tourism Incentive Programme. This programme aims to advance sector transformation, enterprise growth and destination development.
It includes an exciting new retrofitting programme, starting with a focus on energy efficiency, which will reduce the operational costs of tourism businesses. We will pilot the installation of photovoltaic panels at some of our state-owned attractions this year, such as the World Heritage Sites and national botanical gardens. R180 million will be spent on this pilot phase. An additional R368 million is budgeted for the following years to extend the energy retrofit subsidy to private sector tourism enterprises. [Applause.] Well, I was wondering when the applause was going start happening, but at least it is here now! [Laughter.]
The incentive programme will also support efforts to ensure that our community tourism projects are sustainable, by improving the business and management skills of the owners.
To assist tourism businesses to market their products, qualifying applicants will receive financial assistance to access new markets by attending tourism travel shows.
The incentive will also be used to subsidise some of the costs of grading by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa. This will particularly benefitSMMEs operating on low margins, who may otherwise struggle to cover the assessment fees to get themselves graded. [Applause.]
Over time the retrofitting programme will also be expanded to address universal accessibility. The programme will provide resources to make establishments and attractions friendly to people with disabilities.
Allowing all people equal access to tourism facilities can make a world of difference, as I learnt when I opened the new Park Inn Hotel in Newlands recently. Bruno Druchen, the National Director of DeafSA, who is unfortunately unable to be with us today, negotiated a deal with a property developer to build the hotel on land owned by DeafSA. He insisted on two conditions – the hotel had to employ a significant number of deaf people and DeafSA had to be the majority shareholder in this venture. [Applause.] Today, DeafSA owns 51% of the hotel, about 30% of the staff are deaf, and the hotel has special facilities for physically disabled people. [Applause.]
This has raised the bar for how tourism establishments in South Africa respond to the needs of people with disabilities, and we can proudly proclaim that South Africa has become a world leader in this field.
Hon members, we have the wildlife, exquisite beaches, mountains and spectacular scenery, but the unforgettable experience we would like to offer tourists depends even more on how well they are hosted. For good hosting and service excellence, you need a good, well-trained workforce.
Investing in human capital is critically important. We will complete a skills audit for the tourism sector and its value chain this year. This will be followed by an intensified skills development drive that will take us into the next decade of tourism growth.
Our current investment in training food safety officers, chefs and sommeliers is already paying dividends in creating employment opportunities for our youth and improving the quality of our service to tourists. Deputy Minister Xasa will provide more details of our skills development programme shortly.
It is essential to expose young people to the many career opportunities available to them in the tourism industry as early as possible. Schools that offer tourism as part of their curriculum are making a valuable contribution to the sector. Today we are delighted to welcome learners from Cannons Creek Independent School in Cape Town. Where are you? My words to you, our future leaders, are that there is no limit to what you can achieve in the tourism sector. [Applause.] I hope that soon one of you will be down here addressing Parliament as the Minister of Tourism, and I will be up there, listening to you deliver your Budget Vote speech from the public gallery. [Applause.]
The high level of unemployment in South Africa makes job creation a priority for all sectors of our economy. But job creation without skills development and training does not lead to sustainable employment. Training is therefore a crucial element of all our projects funded under the Expanded Public Works Programme and the Social Responsibility Initiative.
Our EPWP tourism infrastructure projects have a strong rural bias, which will create jobs in areas where they are most needed. We plan to support the creation of 11 000 full-time equivalent jobs through the SRI programme over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework period. Every single job we create has the potential to change someone’s life, to support a family and to build a future.
To illustrate this, let me take you deep into the rural heart of the Free State, where the department supported the building of the Metsi-Matsho Lodge. Ms Refilwe Moyeye, who is also here with us today in the gallery, was employed there. I am sure she may stand so that you can see her at least. [Interjections.] [Applause.] Refilwe was employed as a general worker in the project. She and her brother lost their parents when she was just 20 years old. She struggled to find employment, and then the construction of the Metsi-Matsho Lodge began. This is what she says:
I will never forget the day I was hired at Metsi-Matsho. After a few months, our lives started to change. I saved half of my salary every month. This year I built a house for my brother and I. Now, we are living a better life.
Our Social Responsibility Initiative has implemented several programmes for youth and women to enable them to obtain employment or to start their own businesses in the tourism and hospitality fields. These include the National Youth Chefs Training Programme, the Sommeliers Training Programme, and the Tourism Buddies Programme.
In 2014-15 about 3 800 young people were enrolled as tourism buddies. Their learning placements in food and beverages and accommodation services would not have been possible without our industry partners, and we thank them for their support. These placements will continue this year. An additional 300 young people will be trained for the Diploma in Cookery, and a further 200 young people will be trained for the Advanced Diploma in Cookery.
Allow me to share with you an example of how the training we offer in these programmes can transform people’s lives. Lee-Marque Jansen is a young man who is here with us today. Where are you? There we are. [Applause.] Lee-Marque was unemployed and the head of the household after his mother fell ill. In 2012 he was selected to participate in the Tourism Buddies hospitality programme, which empowers young people through on-the-job training. He started working as a cleaner at Tsitsikamma National Park. Today, Lee-Marque is a front-desk employee at the Addo Elephant National Park. [Applause.] In his own words:
My journey has just begun. The Tourism Buddies Programme paved the way to my future. Without this programme, I would not be where I am today.
Well done, Lee-Marque. [Applause.]
In addition to developing the skills of individuals, we strongly support the development and growth of small and medium-sized enterprises. Growing the number of enterprises is essential for sustainable development and job creation.
In this financial year we will support 100 rural tourism businesses through the Tourism Enterprise Partnership. The focus will be on skills development, mentorship, access to information, market access training and quality assurance. We will contribute R13,5 million towards the partnership this year.
Also this year, we will review the National Tourism Sector Strategy, which was approved by Cabinet in 2011. We have already achieved or exceeded some of the targets in the strategy. The review will start with a comprehensive environmental scan to identify opportunities to enhance the development, promotion and transformation of tourism. Stakeholder consultation will be an integral part of the process, and an expert panel drawn from key stakeholder groups will be appointed.
To continue deriving benefits from tourism for all our people, we must continually improve the competitiveness of our destination and the authenticity of our experiences. During this MTEF period we will prioritise investment in some of our key tourism magnets, such as our World Heritage Sites, including Robben Island, our national parks and our botanical gardens.
We often talk about public-private partnerships in our industry, and they remain our lifeblood, but I also want to stress the importance of public-public partnerships. We need all three spheres of government and the various tourism agencies to work together with a common purpose.
Policy coherence, collaboration and co-ordination are critically important. We need to learn from the world’s truly successful tourism destinations, who have adopted a whole-of-government approach in order to ensure that tourism development satisfies the multiple mandates of their individual sectors.
If we do not align our work in critical areas such as expanding air connectivity, and minimizing unnecessary costs and inconvenience in processing visa applications, we will struggle to unlock the full potential of job creation and inclusive growth that this sector offers.
We recall President Zuma’s statement during his state of the nation address earlier this year, that we will, and I quote:
... prioritise the review of visa regulations to strike a balance between national security and growth in tourism.
We are looking forward to further dialogue with our sister departments in our attempt to find this balance.
The ongoing transformation of our sector remains one of our greatest priorities. The challenges we face include poor representation of black women in ownership and management, and insufficient representation of black people in the sector.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Minister, you have one minute left. Please round up.
The MINISTER OF TOURISM: Thank you, Chairperson. Large established businesses are also not procuring sufficient goods and services from black-owned enterprises. I am going to skip the paragraph where we say a little bit more about that.
What I am going to say is that the stories of Bruno Druchen, Lee-Marque Jansen and Refilwe Moyeye are extremely important to us. They represent the experiences of real people. There are many more stories that demonstrate how tourism is creating hope and opportunity for the people of South Africa.
I want to thank the people who are making these stories possible by driving this sector through their leadership.
Deputy Minister Xasa, Acting Director-General Victor Tharage and the entire Department of Tourism, the South African Tourism Board represented by the chairperson and the CEO, the leadership of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa and all the associations who are part of it, and the thousands of people who are tourist ambassadors on the ground, thank you for your efforts and your dedication.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you, hon Minister.
The MINISTER OF TOURISM: I will take one minute of my reply time, if you don’t mind, or 30 seconds.
To the portfolio committee chairperson, the hon Beatrice Ngcobo, and all the members of the committee, we appreciate the constructive way in which we can always engage with you in the best interests of this remarkable sector and all our people.
Tourism in our country is growing stronger every year. The benefits of tourism are enormous for our people, our communities, and our economy. We are determined to maintain this growth, and we are committed to making tourism more inclusive and sustainable. As we succeed in attaining these aspirations, the transformative power of tourism will multiply significantly, and the lives of more and more of our people will be changed forever. I thank you. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you. The Table will assist me with the time taken. In now call the hon Ngcobo to speak. Please assist her with the microphone.
Ms B T NGCOBO
The MINISTER OF TOURISM
Ms B T NGCOBO: Chairperson, hon Minister of Tourism and Deputy Minister, Department of Tourism, South African Tourism, tourism industry and hon members, the ANC supports this Budget Vote. The Portfolio Committee on Tourism has dedicated this Budget Vote to the late Mme Ruth Mompati as a gift on her leaving this world.
The National Development Plan recognises tourism as one of the drivers of economic growth and job creation. It further envisages the promotion of South Africa as a major tourist destination to boost tourist numbers and enable the sector to contribute directly to poverty reduction and inclusive economic growth. Our full tourism potential can be achieved through a well-resourced department that will champion programmes that facilitate inclusive economic growth.
After the department and South African Tourism had submitted their strategic plan and APP in preparation for the Budget Vote, the committee interacted with the department, South African Tourism and the tourism stakeholders in order to establish the needs of the sector and ascertain what strategies could be implemented to promote inclusive growth. Meetings were held with the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, the Tourism Enterprise Partnership, and the hospitality industry by way of the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa, Fedhasa.
According to the UN World Tourism Organisation, countries should appreciate a good tourism destination, so South Africa as a country and as a destination should maintain a high level of tourist satisfaction, ensuring a meaningful experience for tourists, raising awareness of sustainability issues, and promoting sustainable tourism practices among themselves.
The tourism resource efficiency programmes will cut the costs of doing business, contribute to a clean environment, and make the parks and World Heritage Sites self-sustaining, to which the Minister has already alluded.
Grading will also involve small businesses for the first time, since they have been excluded from this programme.
The National Tourism Service Excellence programme will be implemented in all nine provinces. This will ensure that South Africa as a tourist destination has the same appreciation and understanding of the significance of providing high quality service and a high quality experience for visitors, thus encouraging repeat visits. This is likely to become a reality, as each province believes it is doing better than the others, which was displayed by provinces at the local government conference in Johannesburg.
We call upon the private sector to work with government in achieving a positive destination image, as it is at the coalface of providing services to tourists, both domestic and international.
A budget has been set aside for the improvement of signage at World Heritage Sites, the Cradle of Humankind, Vredefort Dome and iSimangaliso.
Some countries, such as Turkey and Kenya, are doing very well in their domestic tourism and others have done better. They have improved their GDP and their economy, and they have increased employment. Domestic tourism will translate to direct and indirect employment.
The department should also engage the private sector regarding their domestic packages to facilitate affordability for all citizens. Domestic tourism can transform the tourism industry, which remains myopic and representative of the previous economic structural deficiencies.
As we talk about domestic tourism, we must also be aware that tourism knows no borders and plays a big role in boosting regional tourism economies. Countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Namibia have introduced a Univisa, and are already reaping rewards from the seamless movement of tourists between their countries. South Africa already receives a huge number of visitors from the region, and the introduction of the Univisa in the entire SADC region may be very helpful, because people from the region come to South Africa to promote trade and do business, as well as for tourism, shopping and leisure.
The budget for the continued participation of the department in the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa, Retosa, is commended, as this organisation provides a platform to align Destination South Africa issues with the regional tourism agenda.
When we talk of the Social Responsibility Implementation Programme, we can actually mention some projects that have come to fruition, like Komjekejeke. It is northeast of Pretoria, is nearing completion, and it will be open for tourism business later this year. The department invested R22 million in its construction. This is the only place in the country where the history of the amaNdebele is preserved, and where their former three kings were buried. It has accommodation for 22 people and an amphitheatre that will be used for music festivals and other entertainments.
A modern restaurant was handed over to the community at Betty’s Bay in the Western Cape on 10 April 2015. This project is owned solely by the Mooiuitsig community and will provide services to both domestic and international tourists that visit Stony Point. This will enhance the arrival of tourists, who will appreciate the penguin colony and whale watching at this place.
One hundred unemployed young people from KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo have been trained, and they have qualified as food safety assurers. They will be employed in the tourism value chain, where establishments will benefit from their skills, including restaurants and hotels. Actually the 100 young people have already been employed in their respective provinces.
The projects that have failed are being dealt with by the Department of Tourism and some cases are in the hands of law enforcement agencies.
The budget for the next 5 years caters for a variety of skills programmes. These capacity-building and skills training programmes will produce a pool of skilled tourism personnel that possess skills currently needed in the sector. These training programmes will further address skills shortages and training gaps in the industry.
There are youth development programmes that are taking place. The hospitality industry has supported some young people from rural schools in the Eastern Cape. They have supported these schools with uniforms, stationary and a library. The schools who are the beneficiaries are Gxulu Junior Secondary School and St Patrick’s High School. The programme will progress to other provinces. The support was obtained from Hilton Worldwide and Hilton Sandton. We actually appreciate the work they have done. [Applause.]
National Tourism Careers Expo is meant to raise the profile of tourism at school level, and to expose learners from Grade 9 to Grade 12 to a variety of tourism careers. Also included are tourism students and unemployed graduates, in order to match employers with graduates for job placements.
The Educator Exposure Programme exposes tourism teachers to the tourism industry, and provides them with invaluable insights that will assist them with lesson planning and making the subject interesting.
There are 300 graduates who have been recruited from the Tvet colleges and who will be placed as food safety assurers. We are sure that they will be improving food safety in the industry.
The Department of Tourism has employed a sizeable number of people with disabilities and is fully accessible. [Applause.] The department has changed the lives of many people and is going to change many more. Siyasebenza. Siyaqhuba. [We are working. We are moving forward.] [Applause.]
I would like to thank the committee support staff, and the Minister and Deputy Minister for their availability to the committee.
I also wish to express my thanks to the department and South African Tourism, who are helping the committee with as much information as is necessary when it is asked for. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr J VOS
Ms B T NGCOBO
Mr J VOS: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
Hon Chairperson, without doubt tourism can be used as an effective tool to create jobs, provide opportunities for small businesses to promote livelihoods for communities, and bring South Africans together to share experiences. The DA believes that this can be achieved.
Regrettably, various reports reveal that domestic tourism figures in South Africa are declining due to unaffordability and limited geographic spread.
The South African Tourism Annual Report for 2013-14 shows that one of the strategic objectives was to increase the number of domestic travellers to 15 million last year. Its actual achievement was only 12 million domestic travellers over this period, which was 20% below target and a drop of 500 000 domestic travellers when compared to the 2012-13 financial year. Domestic tourism is shrinking, when the international trend is to grow tourism.
Why are our citizens travelling less? The answer is straightforward. Tourism and travel for South Africans are just too expensive. For example, a family of four would end up paying R920 for a trip to Robben Island, and to make matters worse the prices will be increasing from next month. This is reprehensible. A critical piece of our people’s history will cost South African citizens almost R1000 to visit as a family. This will put it out of reach for many average South African families. Where is the national pride in that? What an insult to our reconciliation as a nation.
Hon Chair, governments of developing countries are actively pursuing tourism growth in their countries. In order to maximise the gains arising from entry fees to various government-owned facilities, and not to restrict their local population from experiencing and connecting with its own heritage, many countries have introduced a dual pricing system.
Dual pricing, where foreign visitors are asked to pay different fees from domestic visitors, means that South Africans, whose tax money already funds these attractions, get major discounts to visit them. That sounds attractive!
While implementing a two-tier pricing system might be difficult, certain attractions such as Table Mountain already make it possible for locals to visit for free, simply by presenting their South African ID on the day of their birthday. Another example is the Kruger National Park with its dual pricing system for South Africans and foreign visitors.
So these models already exist in our country, and this is the challenge to the national Department of Tourism – price attractions for high-volume, not for low-volume – and watch the surrounding economy thrive too. Therefore, the department should consider extending this model further.
Madam Chair, the DA further proposes that the national Department of Tourism considers introducing a model titled “Experience our South Africa”. This will focus on encouraging South Africans to get out and explore our country, while addressing affordability issues and limited geographic spread. This initiative would allow all South Africans to gain free or discounted entry to government-owned national parks, museums, reserves, and the like on nonreligious public holidays in South Africa.
It is our belief that this “Experience our South Africa” initiative will help to stimulate local domestic tourism growth and open South Africa up to be experienced by our locals. This in turn should also help to stimulate local job creation and economic growth in the surrounding communities.
At the same time, affordable accommodation needs to be prioritised. A budget resort chain must be introduced and must be affordable to all South Africans. To quote the former Minister from his Budget Speech in 2013:
It is simply wrong to have state resources stand vacant while there is cropped-up demand in certain market segments. ... we have also commissioned a feasibility study for a pilot budget resort chain, which could in some or other way be de-risked through partnership approaches.
Madam Chair, disappointingly, not much has been done by the Tourism Department to make any progress in this regard.
The DA’s own research has revealed that there are approximately 700 municipal resorts throughout the country that are either dilapidated, dysfunctional or poorly managed. This is deplorable, given the fact that these resorts were built with taxpayers’ money and they are becoming a huge liability for these municipalities.
We submit that following an audit these resorts should either be sold or leased to the private sector. This will take the financial burden of their upkeep away from the municipalities and stimulate local economic growth prospects.
This should be government policy, and this department must work towards this objective, especially as it is reflected in the National Tourism Sector Strategy and, as the Minister announced, it will also go under review. We submit that this particular piece of the National Tourism Sector Strategy should not be amended, because we must see budget resorts being developed in South Africa to cater for the new market.
Madam Chair, the last few years’ decline in domestic tourism sadly backs up all of these submissions that I have made.
Hon Chairperson, moving forward, without fail we must streamline the facilitation of international tourists’ travel to our country.
Since the visa and birth certificate regulations were announced, bookings from China and India have come down by 90%. And, according to the Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa, the new regulations for passengers travelling by air with children could cost the tourism sector over R6,8 billion in losses.
There is a simple solution – collect the biometric data on arrival at airports, as other countries do, and introduce electronic visa application systems.
Hon Chair, I have here in my possession proof of cancellations from several major hotel groups and tour operators as a result of these new regulations. We stand to lose millions of rands. The Tourism Business Council of South Africa has already indicated that the country may lose 270 000 international tourists, and in turn lose 21 000 jobs each year, costing our economy R9,7 billion.
So, Madam Chair, less dialogue and more action are required. Let’s be clear on this issue: The tourism industry cannot afford this, and ultimately South Africa cannot afford this.
Finally, hon Chairperson, we are delighted to have seated in the public gallery our guests from the tourism industry, as well as other spheres of government, to observe our proceedings here today.
It also gives me great pleasure to welcome the winners of the Cape Town Tourism Board Development Fund. [Applause.] The aim of this programme is to assist small, medium and micro enterprises with support to develop their tourism businesses.
The two successful SMMEs are Escape to the Cape, with owner Shaheed Ebrahim, and Ubizo Tours and Events, which focuses on township tourism, with owner Siyabulela Siyaka. May I ask them please to stand so that we may applaud them for their contribution? [Applause.]
In conclusion, Madam Chair, to everyone else, specifically those industries involved in tourism, your contribution needs no introduction – the results speak for themselves. All of you bring passion and knowledge to developing and promoting tourism in our country. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Ms M O MOKAUSE
Mr J VOS
Ms M O MOKAUSE: Hon Chair, my name is Mmabatho Mokause. I’m representing the EFF in this Budget Vote debate, as our Member of Parliament who was a member of this committee was expelled from the party and from Parliament. [Interjections.] The EFF rejects the Tourism Budget Vote 2015-16. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Order, hon members!
Ms M O MOKAUSE: It is important to note that China has the biggest economy in the world because of its lenient visa application requirements, and the fact that it allows people from all over the world to buy goods and services. As a matter of fact, any person who wants to visit China must just prove that they have money in their bank accounts. They do not have to deal with the red tape that Minister Malusi Gigaba has created in South Africa, which has serious implications for our tourism. [Interjections.]
What is the logic behind demanding that documents be translated into English, and that people must take biometric tests and renew their visas in their own home countries, when they can do it in South Africa?
The issue of security is highly exaggerated, because the biggest security breaches since 1994 were when the government allowed the Guptas to land illegally at a national key point, and there was the incident of the warring Rwandan elites in Michelangelo Towers Hotel, which we had no control over.
The immigration law issue and its effects on the tourism industry do not take away from the many issues we need to fix in the tourism industry in South Africa. The tourism industry remains largely owned and controlled by whites. There has been a lack of transformation. This government has been in power for 21 years. We can no longer accept excuses. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Order, hon members!
Ms M O MOKAUSE: No significant opportunities are being given to black businesses to tap into the market. [Interjections.]
This department’s strategic and performance plans are a clear indication that not much will change. Reports on how programmes will be executed are very vague. There has been no monitoring or evaluation of existing projects, yet we are expected to pour public funds into those projects. We have no guarantee that they are working or benefiting our own people. [Interjections.]
The department has done little to ensure improved working conditions for workers, in order to make sure that they earn a decent minimum wage, that they have sustainable jobs, and that they do not add to the growing pool of temporary workers we have across the industry.
Most black workers are assigned junior positions and kept there for years, despite their experience and knowledge of the industry. Those in jobs, such as chefs, tour guides, waitresses, cleaners and drivers, continue to work in terrible conditions and are subject to racial slurs and long hours for slave wages. Most receive tips as a salary, without any job security. Government must legislate a minimum wage of R4 500 for all workers in the tourism and hospitality sector.
South African Tourism has received an additional budget, but its targets are lower than those of the 2011-12 financial year when they had even fewer resources.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you, hon member.
Ms M O MOKAUSE: What are they planning to do with our money?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Mokause.
Ms M O MOKAUSE: It does not make sense, hon Chair, ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Mokause.
Ms M O MOKAUSE: ... for us to allocate so much money to the department, which has no idea what it will do with the budget.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Mokause.
Ms M O MOKAUSE: We therefore reject the budget.
Mr J A ESTERHUIZEN
Ms M O MOKAUSE
Mr J A ESTERHUIZEN: Hon Chairperson, Minister and chairperson of the portfolio committee, the hon Minister of Finance recently advised in his Budget Speech that due to the current energy crisis, we should be focused on less energy-intensive sectors in this country, of which tourism is a prime example. He further advised that the best prospects for economic growth lay in the promotion of such sectors and their ability to contribute positively to the economy should not be underestimated.
It is therefore no surprise, when we look at the first quarter figures for tourism for 2015, to find a steady and sustained performance. This is despite the recent challenges and the operating environment, which include continued concerns over Ebola, xenophobia and the ongoing energy crisis, as well as prohibitive immigration and visa regulations.
Efforts to support this sector must be intensified and barriers to entry be reduced. Greater budget allocation will help this sector unlock its full potential and must be supported.
The hon Minister Hanekom said in his address that tourism is not only about increasing the number of tourists. Tourism directly and indirectly contributes to more than 10% of employment in South Africa, which is conservative in that if tourism were more fully funded, we would see more employment being created. With approximately half of our youth and more than 25% of the population currently unemployed it is surprising that tourism has not been given greater financial assistance from the Treasury.
The meagre R55 million out of the Tourism Incentive allocation to ensure renewable and reliable energy supply to World Heritage Sites, national parks, botanical gardens and community-based tourist projects, is not nearly enough for this to be sustainable. But in the same breath we must say that we feel that Arts and Culture should bear some of the financial burden for heritage sites, as their budget is double that of Tourism.
While the budget has increased by R300 million to R1,8 billion, which is a step in the right direction, moves like the reduction of R44 million in the Domestic Tourism Programme can only affect the tourism industry negatively. It is reported that at any given time three quarters of all tourists in South Africa are South Africans, yet, due to the high profit yielded by international tourism, we do not cater enough for the local tourist. This department should consider promoting local business and the establishment of a pilot budget resort chain, which would in some way or other cater for local tourists.
There are many factors that contribute to a country’s success in the tourism market, ease of access to visas being one of them. Recent changes to South Africa’s Immigration Act have been blamed for the sudden drastic drop in the numbers of tourists from the world’s fastest growing tourist visiting countries, namely, China and India, whose numbers have been drastically reduced. Chinese arrivals have dropped by 50%, and those from India by 15%.
Our concern is also the exorbitant spending by departmental officials on luxury overseas travel under the guise of fact-finding missions. This must become a practice of the past, and must be replaced by a culture of accountability and affordability within the parameters of good corporate governance.
In conclusion, the role Tourism plays in South Africa must be supported and acknowledged as a key driving factor of our economy, not only for its huge contribution to the gross domestic product, but also for the difference it makes in the lives of ordinary South Africans. Therefore, the IFP supports the budget. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TOURISM
Mr J A ESTERHUIZEN
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TOURISM: Chairperson, hon Minister, Deputy Ministers that are here, members of the portfolio committee, hon members and all our guests in the gallery, President Jacob Zuma declared 2015 the year of the Freedom Charter. This is a year when we celebrate the coming of age of our democracy, when we reflect on our milestones, and when we also reflect on the challenges we face and how we continuously address them, as guided by the National Development Plan.
In this context, this month we will also be celebrating Africa Day, which celebrates African unity. This has to start with us. It commemorates what is known as the African Union, and promotes the ethos of socioeconomic growth and inclusivity on the continent.
That is why we united the country to denounce the xenophobic attacks. Indeed, we are positioned to be globally competitive and are ready to welcome the world to our shores. We need to restore the great reputation of our beloved country, South Africa, and continue to grow Africa for a better world.
We believe that tourism is what can build people-to-people relations. Therefore, our attitude is critical and our values will be the foundation for us to build this country on. [Applause.]
To demonstrate our commitment, we applaud South African Tourism’s work. We will be opening two offices, one in Angola and one in Kenya, during this financial year, adding to our recently opened office in Nigeria.
In line with the National Development Plan, our focus is on inclusive economic growth and job creation. Tourism is recognised as one of the main drivers of the economy and employment. This sector is also recognised as one of the six core pillars of growth for this country as part of the New Growth Path.
This requires that we work diligently to sustain a firm foundation from which we can continue to attract more visitors to the country, deepening our transformation agenda and moving South Africans ever further along the path to true freedom.
Domestic tourism, as has been indicated, is the backbone of our tourism and sustainability, and is a key component of our journey going forward. At any given time, three quarters of all tourists in South Africa are South Africans themselves. Indeed, this is the backbone of our industry and plays a major role in the sustainability of the sector. The Minister has already spoken about our intervention in this sector, and we are taking seriously the fact that we need to build on it.
South Africa has a strong and vibrant cultural diversity and this includes tangible and intangible culture and heritage tourism products, in the form of the arts, crafts, festivals, indigenous knowledge systems, oral history, storytelling, folklore, heritage sites and natural heritage, to name but a few. We have a rich and vivid history, ideal for cultural tourism.
I recently attended the launch of the Moruleng Cultural Precinct in the North West Province. What is interesting about this attraction is the preservation and celebration of heritage; the promotion of education; the community development element; the promotion of careers in the heritage sector; job creation through the empowerment of local entrepreneurs, artists and crafters; tourism; and nation-building. Moruleng will provide a diverse experience for tourists visiting the area, who would normally visit Sun City and Pilanesberg, by adding a culture and heritage experience.
We welcome and acknowledge the leadership of His Royal Highness Kgosi Pilane in that vicinity, and we will be taking notes on how to integrate all in building tourism. [Applause.]
One niche area receiving attention in the current financial year is culture and heritage, specifically our liberation heritage. In partnership with the national Department of Arts and Culture, provinces and local government, we are working to explore the tourism potential of 300 sites that are listed by the National Heritage Council in the Liberation Heritage Route database.
We recognise that there can be no economic development without the development of people. By empowering our people, we give them the tools with which to participate in the economy in a meaningful way and to take advantage of what South Africa has to offer.
In the past financial year we have made great strides in our focus of bringing the human element into all our programmes, and we are constantly seeking to find synergies between the initiatives we implement and people development.
Some examples of how this has been done successfully include the programmes that were mentioned earlier on. They are the National Youth Chefs Training Programme, the Tourism Buddies Programme, the Sommeliers Training Programme and the food safety assurers. Let me just say that a journey into this industry starts very small, but grows quite substantially.
As one of our guests today we have Luvo Ntezo, who started as a porter 15 years ago, and then he moved on to become a glass washer. [Applause.] Listen first, hon members. Then, after a series of studies at the Cape Wine Academy in the Western Cape, and studies in viticulture, he became head sommelier for the whole of South Africa and Africa. [Applause.] He is number four in the world. [Applause.]
This shows our commitment to the future sustainability of the tourism industry by our supporting young people who have chosen a career in tourism. These have succeeded because we are in partnership with the private sector in all the programmes that I have mentioned.
The National Youth Chefs Programme, which was launched by the department owing to the dire shortage of chefs in the tourism industry in South Africa, has resulted in more than 2 000 young people benefiting, with some already catering in their own businesses, others having been absorbed into the industry, and still others being trained in advanced training. An indication was also given that we should continue with this programme because it is successful.
The pilot of our Food Safety Programme which has been introduced has taken place. This is a new career path in the hospitality sector. Unemployed hospitality and tourism graduates from our FET colleges are being inducted as food safety assurers in hygiene, food handling, preparation and storage. Chair, 65 graduates have been placed, even before the end of the programme, at the end of this month. [Applause.] Three provinces have been participating - Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo - and we are looking forward to the continuation of this programme.
The Tsogo Sun Hotel group has already realised the value that the young people in this programme add to their businesses. They are the ones who have placed 65 of these young graduates.
Work is under way to place the remainder of the intake, with interest shown by the Departments of Correctional Services and of Health in the deployment of these assurers at their hospital and prison kitchens. In the current financial year we intend to take in more young people, and 300 will benefit from this programme.
The Hilton Group has also shown its commitment by forming a sustainable partnership with us, and by being a strong proponent of our National Tourism Careers Expo. Our National Tourism Careers Expo is our passport to the world curriculum, which is learner-centred with a focus on acquiring knowledge, experience and skillsrelated to the tourism industry. This is another of our flagship programmes which started in 2008, a platform that primarily promotes tourism as a career, a profession, and employer of choice, while also encouraging young people to take up entrepreneurial opportunities that exist in the sector.
The last session was in the Eastern Cape, and this saw the introduction of a new important platform called Student-Preneur,which seeks to unearth entrepreneurial innovation in young people. Five youth in school business ideas and innovations qualified for further business development that the department is working to support.
We continue our theme of youth development through programmes such as Future Leaders Forum that is run jointly by IMEX, which is a trade show, and others. Many students have benefited from peer networking, career guidance and opportunities by attending one of the 81 forums worldwide since 2003.
In 2014 the winner of the International University Challenge at Meetings Africa was a student from the North-West University, who came second globally at the challenge in Frankfurt. [Applause.] Nominations are now open to all full-time registered final-year students in events, tourism and hospitality management.
Equally, we are empowering women in the tourism space to make their voices heard, and preparing them to take the lead in driving the sector forward. In 2014 we held the inaugural conference of what has become known as Women in Tourism. It has committed its work to the following pillars: respect, recognition, representation and results. We have started on national mobilisation that will see provincial chapters of Women in Tourism established. At the recent indaba an impressive group of women from the public and private sectors gathered to network and strengthen alliances.
We would like to make sure that more women-owned tourism enterprises are aware of and benefit from available government support. Earlier this year we announced the introduction of the Tourism Incentive Programme, as indicated earlier on by the Minister. This programme offers financial support to tourism enterprises and aims to reduce the cost of doing business and to stimulate business growth and development. We would therefore like to encourage more women enterprises to take charge of that programme.
Business and events also are just one other example of how we are attracting business into South Africa. I will not bother the House with getting into how far we have come there.
What we are also focusing on is tourist guiding, where we are raising standards in the profession and professionalising tourist guiding. We have successfully entered into agreements with Cathsseta and with the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa. Here we have seen positive results, with numbers growing over the period. We are looking at registration figures that have grown by 12,26% over the past five years.
We can also see the growth of black tourist guides in this portfolio. Chairperson, ...
The Temporary CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon Deputy Minister. I’m sorry, your time has expired.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TOURISM: Thank you very much.
As I conclude, I wish to quote our old man, Nelson Mandela, who said:
I dream of the realisation of the unity of Africa, whereby its leaders combine in their efforts to solve the problems of this continent.
I thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr S D BEKWA
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TOURISM
Mr S D BEKWA: Hon Chair, hon Minister and hon Deputy Minister, hon Members of Parliament, and ladies and gentlemen, the 1994 Reconstruction and Development Programme, a policy document whose origins are to be found in the work of the Congress Alliance, remains a guide to government programmes and projects. In its wisdom it recognised that tourism is a major source of employment and of foreign exchange, and would therefore need to receive greater priority than it had in the past.
Points of the RDP state:
The tourism industry must be restructured to take maximum advantage of South Africa’s extraordinary human and natural resources. ... To develop tourism, links must be developed with the rest of Southern Africa and complete and open environmental tests must be carried out.
The tourism industry in South Africa has always been anchored in inbound tourism and this has meant that international tourism remains a cornerstone of the sector. This inbound tourism has contributed to the growth of the sector and its contribution to economic growth, domestic tourism and employment.
The latest Tourism Satellite Account for 2013, which provides the consolidated contribution of tourism to the South African economy, indicates that tourism directly contributed approximately R103 billion or 2,9% to the gross domestic product of the country.
The inbound visitors’ spend was reported to be R94 million. South African visitors spent over R124 million within the South African economy and R62,5 million in other economies. The tourism sector as an export industry had a positive tourism trade balance of over R31 million with the rest of the world.
Even though tourist arrival figures were up in 2013, there is a concern about a notable decline in arrival figures from emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil. The contributing factors to the decline were not immediately recognisable, as the country had been affected by stigmatisation as an unsafe destination emanating from the outbreak of Ebola in some parts of Africa, coupled with policy and regulatory uncertainty regarding the immigration regulations that will be implemented from 1June 2015.
The announcement made by the President in his state of the nation address that the immigration regulations would be reviewed is welcomed. It is noted that an Inter-Ministerial Committee chaired by the Deputy President will be working on reviewing the immigration regulations. It would be appreciated if the work of this committee could be expedited to provide certainty to inbound tour operators and international tourists in order to prevent further cancellations and encourage forward bookings.
The recent xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals have been observed with great concern, as they might further exacerbate the decline in international tourist arrivals. Many countries have issued travel advisories on South Africa, and others have pulled out of exhibiting at the tourism Indaba, which undermines the work done over the years to stage Indaba as a premier Pan-African tourism event.
South African Tourism has budgeted to continue its work on brand awareness. The entity is urged to work harder than ever before to improve South Africa’s image through targeted awareness programmes to mitigate the effects of xenophobia on the country as a tourist destination. The work done by South African Tourism in embassies should be intensified in order to promote tourism economic diplomacy, thus mitigating possible negative consequences of xenophobia. South African Tourism should also partner with Brand South Africa to promote South Africa as a safe tourist destination.
The move by South African Tourism to report on tourist arrivals instead of foreign arrivals is welcomed. This will assist the country to fully understand the contribution of tourism, based on realistic figures.
The ANC’s vision to create a better South Africa, and to contribute to a better and safer Africa in a better world, is experienced within the tourism sector. [Applause.] This vision is underpinned by its national interests, a globally competitive economy and being an influential and leading member of the international community. The ANC supports Budget Vote 33. I thank you, Chair. [Applause.]
Mr W M MADISHA
Mr S D BEKWA
Mr W M MADISHA: Chair, Cope is indeed satisfied that 11 million people are expected to come here as tourists this year. That is very good. By contributing upwardsof R300 billion to the economy, this sector is indeed creating sustainable jobs. The potential, however, is thrice as much. We need innovative thinking, which is largely absent in government. The department must show what is innovative about its endeavours.
The department can certainly expand the reach of tourism. People in our scenic and beautiful rural areas are not directly enjoying the benefits of tourism.Cope wishes to see the department investing R5 million annually in each of 100 new rural tourism destinations. A total annual outlay of R500 million will change the face of the tourism industry in our country. Communities should co-own this in conjunction with the department.
Rural areas are the repository of culture. Cultural tourism, we know, is very important worldwide, and so is ecotourism.
The department must develop and incubate rural tourism. We want to know from the Minister when he will bring rural people into tourism in a big and significant way. The time for a large number of tourism SMMEs and co-operatives to come into existence in the rural areas and the townships is now.
Cope denounces the reduction of R44 million in the Domestic Tourism Programme. This is the wrong place in which to cut back. Government proudly proclaims that it is using countercyclical measures to boost the economy. Reducing the Domestic Tourism Programme by R44 million will keep the economy stagnant. We reject this cut because it is ill-advised.
Cope says to the Minister that much of the R557,3 million that the department has allocated to the Tourism Incentive Programme over the medium term should, in fact, go toward creating rural tourism hubs. That is what Cope will support. The use of 51,5% of the departmental budget to promote tourism is likewise an overkill.
Tourism in our country must allow for the emergence of a real traveller market. We hope that we are able to move together in making sure that our country really goes forward properly. Let us work together there, Minister. Thank you very much. [Time expired.]
Mr N M KHUBISA
Mr W M MADISHA
Prod N M KHUBISA: Hon Chairperson, ... [Interjections.] ...
The Temporary CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Order, hon members! Hon members!
Prof N M KHUBISA: ... tourism is an important sector in South Africa for generating revenue and providing employment. Tourism can be seen as a sustainable resource for income and revenue generation and, moreover, an industry which has the potential to benefit those involved in it directly.
We as the NFP note therefore that while there is an emphasis on international tourism, we need to say that there is a radical need for a paradigm shift, and we should focus on an emergent tourism interest for local tourism entrepreneurs.
We note our concern regarding the substantial decrease in the allocation for domestic tourism in Programme 4. As the NFP we believe that more emphasis ought to be placed on gainingthe interest of black people, especially in townships, in order to identify and develop niche tourism or tourist markets.
Assisting such emergent tourist entrepreneurs with registering their businesses and coaching them ...
Adv B T BONGO: Hon Chairperson, I just want to know whether he is willing to take a question.
Prof N M KHUBISA: No, I am going to take it afterwards. Assisting such emergent tourist entrepreneurs with registering their businesses and coaching them through mentorship programmes in order for them to enter mainstream tourism will be an investment that will enlarge this industry.
We are also of the opinion that cultural tourism is a largely untapped source in the tourism paradigm which is underdeveloped.Rural communities should be capacitated to add value and a unique product to the current bouquet of tourist options available to foreign and domestic tourists alike. Traditional leaders have an important role to play in developing rural-based cultural tourism, and the department would be well advised to invite their input in developing this sector of the tourism industry.
We also understand that the xenophobic upheavals that we have experienced are likely to have a negative impact on our attraction for international tourists, and we urge the department to ensure that we dispel such negative connotations.
Having said that, hon Chairperson, because we have already said that tourism is very important, the NFP will support the Budget Vote. Then I will take the question later. [Laughter.]
Ms S T XEGO
Prof N M KHUBISA
Ms S T XEGO: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister of Tourism, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Deputy Ministers, chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism, hon members, guests in the gallery and South Africans, good afternoon. Let me thank the ANC government for creating a platform so that we can participate in this debate on Budget Vote 33 of the Department of Tourism.
I am dedicating my speech to the bornfrees of 1994 and reminding them of the men and women who sacrificed their lives fighting for the democracy that they enjoy today. Some of them sometimes forget that those men and women were fighting for them.
This budget, as tabled by the hon Minister of Tourism in this House, will enable the ANC to continue telling a good story, as it is the only organisation that brings a better life to the people of South Africa. [Applause.]
As the Portfolio Committee on Tourism, we have analysed the annual performance plan and the budget for the year 2015-16. It confirms the fact that tourism is one of the top six growth drivers of the economy worldwide. Tourism contributes more to the GDP and that is why the Department of Tourism creates a conducive environment through these budgets for the whole tourism industry to contribute to job creation and poverty alleviation.
In a strategy to improve service delivery, the Department of Tourism has a Domestic Tourism Programme,whose mandate is to instil a culture of travel in South Africans. It is not by their choice that the majority of South Africans regard tourism as an industry for a particular group of people. That is as a result of the apartheid system that existed before 1994, and this budget is addressing exactly that.
I am here to confirm that this budget is realistic. It is realistic in the sense that it translates ANC resolutions into government policies, policies into actions, and programmes into service delivery. It is a budget that accommodates all, because it is a budget of the people by the people themselves. [Applause.]
Gone are the days when a chosen few would sit somewhere in a corner and decide what must be done for the whole of South Africa. The ANC government, through izimbizo, oversights and community meetings,helps South Africans participate in whatever involves them – “nothing about us without us”. [Applause.]
The ANC acknowledges that the budget accommodates everyone – young and old, rich and poor, unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled, educated and uneducated, and urban and rural.
Asimanga siyaqhuba. [We have not stopped; we are moving forward.]
South African Tourismis an entity of the Department of Tourism. With its allocation this financial year, it is mandated to market South Africa to its 54 million people and those abroad. In this way they will make it their priority to discover and enjoy the mountains, oceans, wildlife, beauty, culture, heritage and humanity of their own country.
As I speak, the tourism sector has directly employed 665 000 South Africans and indirectly, 1,4 million. Is that not a good story to tell? [Applause.] Really it is.
The department is embarking on a Social Responsibility Implementation Programme in regard to infrastructure programmes under the Expanded Public Works Programme, with as specific targetsthe youth, women, SMMEs and people living with disabilities, resulting in 8 967 EPWP full-time equivalent jobs.The ANC appreciates this EPWP. It confirms that we will never abandon our people. They are our brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers.
The Department of Tourism fully understands that it is not alone in the industry. There are strategic departments and municipalities, and that has resulted in their having a planned programme that targets municipal policy-makers and practitioners.
The ANC also appreciates the following programmes: the skills audit that is to be undertaken during this financial year; the contribution to youth development of the National Tourism Careers Expo, creating awareness among learners of different tourism careers; and the prioritising of graduates from Tvet colleges. This is by of making sure that the industry ensures tourist satisfaction. We are really moving South Africa forward.This is what the ANC promised in its manifesto during the 2014 general elections: creating decent jobs.
To crown what I have just mentioned above, the Department of Tourism has given birth to a new baby programme, called the Tourism Incentive Programme, which also seeks to ensure tourist satisfaction,as well as transformation in the industry. Through this programme, qualifying emerging enterprises will be supported in their enrollingwith the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa and having their registered establishments qualify to have a stake in the basket of benefits enjoyed by graded establishments.
The sustainability and enhancement project is also welcomed, as it will contribute to the fight against poverty and unemployment.
We welcome the focus of the Department of Tourism on professionalising and regulating tour guiding. Tour guides have a big potential to attract more tourists, which will boost our economy and promote our culture and heritage. The ANC is in full support of this budget.
Sihlalo, oku kukubonisa ukuba uKhongolose unenkathalo ngabantu boMzantsi Afrika. Yiyo loo nto xa sibona abantu esingabaziyo bephithizela; sibabuze umbuzo othi babephi na aba bantu emzabalazweni?
They seem to be causing confusion among the people of South Africa. Let me remind them that in any aircraft there is only one pilot. If you happen not to be the pilot, you must just enjoy the ride. It is only the ANC that is in control. [Interjections.]
This budget debate is taking place during Africa Month, when we as Africans celebrate the achievements of the African Union so far. South Africans must remain focused and adhere to the commitment of the South African government to taking the lead in ensuring that there is political stability in our neighbouring countries, so as to prevent the crowd that may be there on our borders.
At this point, hon Chairperson, I am touched by the words of a well-known South African composer, Enoch Sontonga, and I echo his words, “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”. [God bless Africa.] I thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]
Mr A G WHITFIELD
Ms S T XEGO
Mr A G WHITFIELD: Chairperson, let me just start by saying that this budget allocation to Tourism is an insult to the sector’s ambitions and to the department’s ambitions.[Interjections.] I agree with the Minister ... [Interjections.] I agree with the Minister that a budget allocation of less than 1% and a contribution of almost 10% to GDP form an unequal ratio, and this department is consistently expected to do more for the economy with less of the budget, compared to other departments.
But, Chairperson, I am here to talk about heritage and culture. The promotion of heritage and cultural tourism is critical to addressing the geographical spread of tourism and building an inclusive economy. Through the effective packaging and marketing of our heritage and cultural tourism assets, we have the ability to link rural communities to the tourism value chain, creating jobs and opportunities for many South Africans. [Interjections.]
In this regard the department and South African Tourism must be commended for packaging and promoting the recently launched Madiba’s Journey app. I have downloaded the app, and I trust that the Minister has as well. It is a fantastic digital product that links tourists to our real products on the ground, and that tells the story of Madiba’s “long walk to freedom”.
However, the true success of this app and the locations it promotes depends on the condition of the products on the ground. The Department of Tourism cannot absolve itself of this responsibility, as it is the quality of these products that determines the value of the tourist experience. [Interjections.]
The Nelson Mandela Youth and Heritage Centre in Qunu, part of Madiba’s Journey, is a case in point. I visited the centre and was impressed by the architecture and the sweeping views over the Mbashe River below. However, the service upon the arrival was nonexistent. This is a matter we have addressed with the Minister before, and I know that he will take it to heart. In fact, the only person to greet me in Qunu was a security guard, who could not point me in the right direction.
Another example is the Cradock Four Memorial, where Mathew Goniwe, Fort Calata, Sparrow Mkhonto and Sicelo Mhlauli are commemorated for their sacrifice in the fight against apartheid. The only sign indicating the location of the site sets one on a road to nowhere. Only through much guesswork and by carefully navigating a dilapidated road does one arrive at a broken-down and overrun multimillion rand development. It is evident upon arrival that this memorial site has never been operational, and the local municipality should hang its head in shame. Tourists who stumble across the Cradock Four Memorial leave shocked and disappointed, with only Google to tell them the story of these four brave men. [Interjections.]
My colleague, hon Vos, raised his concerns about the condition of the Vredefort Dome earlier this year. Just last week, on a reputable heritage website, a tourist commented, and I quote:
As I visited the site today I was met at the closed gate by a “not so friendly” official from the Fezile Dabi District Municipality who would/could not answer any questions related to any activities re mentioned site. This matter is a disgrace to SA and is not promoting tourism!
While the budget for signage at this heritage site is welcomed, Deputy Minister, the problems here go far beyond the erection of signs.
Chair, too many of our heritage sites are being neglected. Research by South African Tourism indicates that heritage and cultural products are sought after by tourists. However, and I quote, “they are underperforming relative to their potential.”
I quote from the National Heritage and Cultural Tourism Strategy, which says:
The gap analysis conducted by South African Tourism ... shows that more tourists prefer cultural and historical heritage than wildlife viewing, yet fewer had experienced it while in South Africa.
Our heritage and cultural products are highly desired by tourists. I continue:
... this cultural diversity is underrepresented and under-performing within the tourism market.
The department needs to take the National Heritage and Cultural Tourism Strategy off the shelf, dust it off and provide sufficient funding for its full implementation.
In the light of the recent vandalism and protests around statues and heritage, and the abundant potential of heritage and cultural tourism, I believe that the department must play a bigger role in ensuring that it addresses the various shortcomings in this regard.
In the coming financial year I will be pushing for increased funding to implement the National Heritage and Cultural Tourism Strategy, as well as the formation of public-private partnerships to ensure the maintenance and upgrading of heritage sites. I will also continue to stress the importance of functional strategic partnerships with relevant departments, to which the Deputy Minister has alluded with Arts and Culture, to ensure that we deliver quality heritage and tourism products across the country.
Finally, I will request the department to investigate the potential for the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa to expand its mandate to incorporate the grading of our heritage sites to ensure improved quality control for our tourists. [Applause.]
Ms L S MAKHUBELA-MASHELE
Mr A G WHITFIELD
Ms L S MAKHUBELA-MASHELE: Hon House Chairperson, Minister and Deputy Minister, members of the Tourism Portfolio Committee led by the hon Beatrice Ngcobo, Members of Parliament, and ladies and gentlemen, allow me to greet you all.
I make my contribution to Budget Vote 33 of the Department of Tourism this afternoon during Africa Month. In a few days from now, on 25 May, we will be celebrating Africa Day.
I am reminded of a renowned speech delivered by DrPixley ka Isaka Seme on the regeneration of Africa.The Regeneration of Africa was Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme’s call for all African states to stand up and be counted amongst the nations of the world.
The late former President Nelson Mandela added his voice regarding the African agenda by calling for the African Renaissance, meaning the new birth of Africa. This was a call that emphasised the fact that we have it in ourselves as Africans to change our material conditions, a call that we must in action assert our will to do so,and we must say that there is no obstacle big enough to stop us from bringing about the African Renaissance.
Africa is central to the future of South Africa. For her future growth and development, South Africa needs Africa. According to Kevin Lings, an economist, during 2013 South African exports to the rest of Africa represented almost 29% of total exports, making it the second largest export destination after Asia, which is in the number spot at 32%. This qualifies the above statement that South Africa needs Africa for her prosperity.
Many travellers land on our South African soil before connecting for other African destinations, which makes South Africa a gateway into Africa.
For any investor to do business with us, they will want to visit us either on business or for leisure, or both. Our vision of being a destination of choice and being amongst the top 20 destinations in the world can only be realised when investors choose us as trading partners for our domestic goods and services.
In this historic 60th year of the Freedom Charter, the aspirations of what is enshrined in the Freedom Charter should be our programme of action geared to the total eradication of poverty and unemployment.
Allow me to remind us today that we are still bound by the people’s contract which we entered into with the people of South Africa through their vote for us. We promised to bring a better life for all. Poverty, inequality and unemployment have become a cancer that is slowly eroding our democratic gains in this new South Africa. We have all been negatively impacted by the lack of jobs and lack of economic growth.
Tourism has, however, proved its ability to create sustainable and labour-intensive job opportunities. The tourism sector currently employs just over 600 000 citizens directly and approximately 1,4 million people indirectly. This constitutes about 4,4% of our labour force in the country.[Applause.]
These jobs can only be sustainable if those who are tasked with enforcing compliance with our labour legislation can come on board and protect even the most vulnerable restaurant worker. As we advocate for the tourism sector to create employment opportunities, we should focus on monitoring, and not lose sight of the fact that these opportunities should be in line with our Decent Work Agenda.
The skills shortage remains high and may thus hamper further creation of job opportunities. In order to ensure that the sector continues to create the much needed jobs, hon Minister, the Tourism budget for the next five years must also cater for a variety of skills programmes. This must be done across the board, such asawareness programmes in schoolsand, most importantly, the youth needs to be absorbed into the sector.[Applause.]
The private sector has always raised concerns that the tourism curriculum in our institutions of higher learning does not produce graduates that are fit for purpose. Employers have stated that there is a need to spend a sizable amount of their budget on retraining graduates in order to make them ready for their jobs. The sector skills programme budgeted for in the 2015-16 financial year will go a long way, hon Minister, in addressing these shortages and training gaps in the industry.
It is a known fact that the tourism industry in South Africa is dominated by big tourism businesses. These big businesses are successful, as they are always linked to international markets serviced by well-established inbound tour apparatus. However, the tourism industry has numerous small companies which are operated on a small scale. Most of these tourism SMMEs operate bed and breakfast establishments, backpackers’ accommodation and guesthouses.
It is inspiring and refreshing to see a strong emergence of township tourism operators and tour guides. These tourism SMMEs are also faced with a number of challenges, which includes market access, business management skills, ICT infrastructure and other bottlenecks such as compliance with our legislation and the local government by-laws.
Hon Minister, our rural and township economies have been distressed for a very long time. The time has come, and the time is now, for all government budgets, including this one of the Tourism Department, to be catalysts for transformation and bring about meaningful change in the lives of many South Africans. The multiplier and ripple effect of this budget must bear fruit. Our rural and township economies must come alive with endless opportunities.
Hon House Chair, allow me to conclude my address this afternoon by addressing the Minister and the executive authority of the department, led by the team of accounting officers led by the Acting Director-General, Mr Victor Tharage, and the entity led by the CEO, Mr Thulani Nzima.
We support the Tourism Budget tabled this afternoon by Minister Hanekom. We see that the budget summary is about R1,8 billion and is estimated to grow to R2,7 billion in the outer years. We know that the purpose of this budget is to promote and support the growth and development of an equitable, competitive and sustainable tourism sector, enhancing its contribution to the national priorities.
I choose to address Team Department Tourism because every rand and centin this budgetthat must be spent will be spent by your good selves. This budget, however, small as it may seem, looking at all the line items that we as politicians want addressed, will go a long way if it is spent wisely. [Applause.]
Our role as the Portfolio Committee on Tourism will be to hold you accountable on behalf of the citizens whose money you are spending. We do applaud you on showing commitment and adherence to the PMFA and Treasury regulations in your spending patterns. This is reflected in your unqualified opinions from the Auditor-General in previous years.[Applause.]
Before I sit down, hon Chair, allow me to remind us, as public representatives elected to serve our country at this level, that:
Contrary to popular opinion, leadership is not a reserved position of a particular group of people who were elected, or appointed, ordained or enthroned. Leadership is self-made, self-retained, self-inculcated and then exposed through a (fruitful), sincere and exemplary life.
Let these wise words resonate with all of us as we diligently carryout our duties in the service of our people. I thank you. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF TOURISM
Ms L S MAKHUBELA-MASHELE
The MINISTER OF TOURISM: Chairperson, could I just confirm with you how much time I have?
The Temporary CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): You have seven minutes.
The MINISTER OF TOURISM: Seven minutes? Thank you very much.
Hon members, thank you very much for by and large extremely positive contributions to this debate, and some of the ideas that have been passed on to us. I am going to try to address some of the comments that have been made during the debate.
Just to the learners up there in the gallery that have seen this exercise now, maybe I have given you bad advice. You know, it gets pretty rough down here. Maybe you should just stick to jobs in restaurants and hotels, and leave this stuff to us. [Laughter.]
Chairperson and hon members, many of the people who spoke in our debate spoke about our diverse and rich cultural heritage. We really don’t need to look any further than the hon Makhubela-Mashele, our Whip of the committee. Look at that!Just look at that! Isn’t she just magnificent? Isn’t that beautiful? [Applause.] The truth of the matter is that we have many types of costumes, cultures, music, songs and dance in our country, and we must celebrate this. So I agree with the hon Whitfield that we really have to promote our heritage tourism – it’s a richness that we have.
I think you have noticed that as part of our rich cultural tapestry we have this very colourful group who are sitting up there. [Applause.] They are a group of Minstrels who really did us proud when they participated in a carnival in theSeychelles recently. I must say that they’ve been going there for several years now at their own expense, representing South Africa very, very proudly. [Applause.]Hon members, I haven’t shared this with my own party, for that matter, but they have made me an honorary minstrel! Please don’t call me “hon member” anymore; call me “hon minstrel”, if you don’t mind. [Laughter.] [Applause.]
To the hon member Vos, I think your proposals are good and constructive.Now I don’t want my comrades here to get angry with me when I praise the members of the opposition, but I must say that all of the members are constructively involved in this portfolio committee.This is a good tribute to Sis Beatrice Ngcobo there as the chairperson of the committee, ... [Applause.] ... who is,I would like to believe and I’m sure, Mr Vos, you will agree with me,really acquitting herself very well of the task and holding the committee together. Well done, Sis Beatrice! [Applause.]
On making our tourism attractions more affordable, I must say that I agree with you entirely. We need more of the Table Mountain type of example, and I will engage with my counterpart so that we can find ways in which we can make all of these key destinations affordable, destinations that every South African, irrespective of their income level, can go to at least once in their lifetime.You know, hon members, we have Robben Island just across the sea over here, and it is some kind of travesty if an ordinary South African, who would love once in their lifetime to go to Robben Island, which is such an iconic spot, is unable to do so. So, I will be engaging with my counterpart and we will be looking at models that will allow every South African access to our wonderful heritage. [Applause.]
On municipal resorts, I should say, hon Vos, that we have already worked on this and we will continue to do so. Let me give examples. In the Vhembe DistrictMunicipality there are the beautiful PhiphidiWaterfalls. There is an affordable resort there, where a chalet costs only R400 for a family. There isthe caravan park in Grahamstown and as part of our Expanded Public Works Programme, we’ve upgraded it. I can also refer to Keimoes and various other examples. However, the point is made, and regardingthese municipal resorts, especially those that are there already, we agree with you that we want to enhance them and help make them affordable so that they increase domestic tourism, which I agree is very important to our country.
To the hon Mokause from the EFF, sector wage determination is not the responsibility of the Department of Tourism. It’s the Department of Labour. [Interjections.] However, we will continuously engage with the sector ... [Interjections.] We will continuously engage with the sector to try to ensure that they do their utmost to improve working conditions. I must say that when I read about the lowwages paid by the leader of your party to his gardener once upon a time, I would say that perhaps you should start the campaign right there. [Applause.]
Hon Esterhuizen, of course, we agree with you that there is a very strong case for a budget increase. But for the moment we have our budget, and we can say quite proudly to this House that we are using this budget well. We are using it to the best of our ability. There are challenges to using existing resources efficiently, and as time goes along we will deserve budget increases and we will get them.
I must say though, hon Esterhuizen, that we do not waste money on extravagant overseas trips. We do not do that in the Department of Tourism, but it must be said that the work of South African Tourism is to sell South Africa internationally. So theywill be going out there to market South Africa to the world, and selling South Africaat international travel shows for that matter. But we will not do it in an extravagant manner, so we take your point and we hear you.
Hon Madisha, we do have innovative thinking in abundance. It is between the department, South African Tourism and the many bodies, including the private sector, with whom we work very closely. There is just an abundance of examples of lodges, hotels and restaurants doing the most fantastic things. If I had time, I would share some of these examples with you, but there is no shortage of innovative thinking.
Concerning Madiba’s Journey, and I will end here, hon Whitfield, we take your points. We’ve got to make sure of certain things. The app is very good, but every stop along that journey must be well managed and the tour guiding must be good. We can say that even at Robben Island there is room for improvement.We therefore take your points as constructive points.
World Heritage Sites are very, very important to us – they are uniquely ours.On the Vredefort Dome as a World Heritage Site, for example, a lot of what happens there depends on the Interpretative Centre and the quality of the guiding. We will give our World Heritage Sites special attention in the years to come, because they are uniquely South African.
With those few words, I once again thank all of you fora very, very good debate, and we take your proposals very seriously. Thank you. [Applause.]
The Committee rose at 15:50.
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