ATC170601: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism on Local Government Tourism Conference held in Emperors Palace, dated 1 June 2017


Report of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism on Local Government Tourism Conference held in Emperors Palace, dated 1 June 2017

The Portfolio Committee on Tourism, having attended the 2017 Local Government Tourism Conference held in Emperors Palace, Gauteng from 3-4 April 2017, reports as follows:


  1. Introduction


In numerous interactions with the Committee, the National Department of Tourism (NDT) has raised various issues with regard to challenges experienced at provincial and local government levels. The concerns are mainly with intergovernmental relations, alignment and linkages in the tourism sector. The major challenge is also experienced with regard to the nature of the tourism mandate as espoused in Schedule 4 and 5 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, which identify tourism as a concurrent function.  Tourism has been identified as a priority economic sector due to its substantial contribution to job creation, surpassing the manufacturing and other industries as well as its contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country. 

Constitutionally, the three spheres of government have a responsibility to perform tourism function and this requires concerted efforts on coordination and collaboration. The Committee has identified through its oversight work that the capacity at local government level to deliver on the tourism mandate presents a challenge to growth and development of the tourism sector. This is further complicated by human capital and financial constraints. Therefore, a focussed Committee oversight in terms of how tourism is planned, developed and marketed in the country becomes necessary, especially within the local government level.   

The Minister of Tourism, Ms Tokozile Xasa hosted a Local Government Tourism Conference from 03-04 April 2017, at Emperors Palace, Gauteng. The conference was hosted by the National Department of Tourism (NDT) in partnership with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and The South African Local Government Association. An invitation was extended to the Committee by the Minister and the Committee attended as this provided a platform for dialogue between public and private sector tourism stakeholders to promote tourism development at local government level. The conference also afforded the Committee an opportunity to conduct oversight on integrated tourism planning at local government level with a view to evaluate how the National Department of Tourism promotes inclusive and sustainable tourism planning and development. 

The Committee conducted oversight through various first-hand information provided by various tourism stakeholders on the status of tourism at local level. This was important for the Committee as tourism is a key economic sector that can create employment and contribute to poverty alleviation as advocated in the National Development Plan.  

  1. Committee delegation

            The delegation consisted of the following Members of Parliament and support staff:


Figure 1: Delegation

Political Party


African National Congress

Hon. B.T Ngcobo, MP (Chairperson)

Hon. L.S Makhubela-Mashele, MP

Hon. P.E Adams, MP   

Democratic Alliance

Hon. J. Vos, MP   


Support staff:

Ms. N. Qumbisa (Assistant to Chairperson)

Mr. J.M Boltina (Committee Secretary)

Dr. P.S Khuzwayo (Content Advisor ) 

Ms. J.C Ntuli (Committee Researcher)

Ms. K. Tshoma (Committee Assistant)



  1. Objectives of the conference


The National Department of Tourism, through the conference, sought to promote integrated planning with a view to ensure inclusive and sustainable tourism development. The conference provided a platform for dialogue between public and private sector to engage on topical issues affecting the tourism sector at a local government level.  Themed “Tourism Planning is Everybody’s Business” the conference was in line with the integrated planning emphasis espoused by various tourism policy frameworks, including the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. The objectives of the conference to:

  • Reflect on the progress made since the 2015 Local Government Tourism Conference;
  • Reflect on the state of tourism at local government level including integrated planning;
  • Deliberate on various policies, legislation and strategies at local government and their impact on tourism planning;
  • Share working models and leveraging on other opportunities at local government;
  • Reflect on destination development and sustainable tourism development in the context of local government; and
  • Engage on practical planning workshops aimed at promoting integrated tourism planning at local government.


  1. Reflections on the 2015 Conference


The Director-General for the Department of Tourism took the delegates through some of the resolutions taken in the 2015 conference and the strides that have been made since then. These include:


  • Working for tourism: focal area established to explore job opportunities relating to the enhancement of safety and cleanliness of a tourism destination.
  • Position South Africa as competitive destination through investment: work underway to enhance infrastructure at key tourism and invest in further destination development.   
  • Accelerating transformation: amended BBBEE sector codes; introduced tourism incubator programme; incentivising SMMEs for market exposure; pursuing match making, Charter Council Plan of Action.
  • Significance of provincial tourism structures to grow tourism: NDT continues to work closely with Provinces through IGR forums and joint projects. Most provinces have established tourism structures. Some Municipalities have established District and Municipal Tourism Forums, including community tourism organisations.
  • There is a need for revival of Local Tourism Organisations and to encourage their participation during the IDPs: In some municipalities tourism organisations do not attend LED and LTO forums to provide their inputs into the IDP.
  • Municipalities to consider developing by-laws friendly to tourism: Feedback from provinces indicates that some municipalities do not prioritise this area due to capacity constraints & in some cases it is not seen as the responsibility of tourism units.



  1. 2016 Local Government Tourism Conference proceedings

Over seven hundred tourism sector stakeholders and officials from all spheres of government and private sector headed the call to improve tourism planning at local government level as they attended the Local Government Tourism Conference (LGTC) that took place from 03 to 04 April 2017 at Emperors Palace in Ekurhuleni. 

Themed “Tourism planning is everybody’s business,” the conference deliberated on the state of the sector and how integrated planning can improve tourism delivery at a local government level. 

Speakers at the conference emphasised the strategic importance of the outcomes of the event in building a sustainable and inclusive tourism sector. Tourism can only succeed when it is prioritised and included in the strategies of all three spheres of government.  This conference was intended to offer practical skills on making a business case for tourism in the Integrated Development Plan, developing a basic tourism plan, developing a bankable tourism project funding proposals and co-operative governance to enhance tourism integration.


  1. Welcoming Address

The Executive Mayor welcomed all delegates to the City of Ekurhuleni, Africa’s first Aerotropolis. He thanked the Minister, in particular, for yet again hosting the Conference in Ekurhuleni. As the City, Ekurhuleni the Mayor indicated they were humbled by the confidence that the National Department of Tourism and the sector has bestowed on city. He alluded that the conference was a great platform for the country, where stakeholders in the tourism industry engage, interact and discuss industry’s related issues and challenges. The value of tourism’s contribution to the economy is massive, hence it is viewed as an effective tool for economic growth. This is partly because it has low barriers to entry and its ability to create jobs. 


The City continues to make a significant contribution to the overall economy of Gauteng and the country, being a home to South Africa’s primary airport hub, the OR Tambo International Airport. About 19 million passengers land at the OR International Airport annually, which makes the region a strategic entry point for tourists and investors.  


At the last Conference, the City made a commitment to focus on developing a plan for tourism, which will guide them on how to leverage on the potential of the sector. Subsequent to that, the Ekurhuleni Tourism Strategy was developed and approved in 2016. Also, the Inaugural Ekurhuleni Tourism Conference was hosted during tourism month (13-14 September 2016) last year. The Conference attracted a number of national experts, tourism practitioners and stakeholders, who shared their expertise with the City on critical issues that needs attention if the City is to grow the sector.  Resolutions of that session are currently being implemented.


Plans are advanced to set up a State of the Art Ekurhuleni Visitor Information Centre at the OR Tambo International Airport, which will also serve as a welcome platform to tourists, as well as provide much needed information on Ekurhuleni and its attractions, as well as improve tourism safety. This facility will be operational by the beginning of the next financial year.


The City has some of the most sought after accommodation establishments, most of which are also located around the OR Tambo Airport Node. This therefore means that most of the tourists landing in South Africa, do so through the City, and their first impression (experience) of the country is through destination Ekurhuleni. In order for the City to effectively leverage on the OR Tambo International Airport and related infrastructure, a major focus should/will be on improving the quality of services offered in some of these establishments.


It is important to remember that tourists are looking for memorable experiences when deciding where to go and stay (value for money). It is therefore for this reason that the City will be embarking on a targeted service excellence programme, which will be in partnership with all major hotels located in Ekurhuleni, in order to inculcate a culture of service excellence within the tourism value chain. The City believed that there is no point in attracting tourists to the destination, and thereafter not provide them with an excellent service and memorable experiences, so as to attract repeat visits. It is in this regard that the City has instructed the Tourism Team to look at this issue immediately, hence the drive to initiate a service excellence programme.  A baseline study was to be conducted in the next few months, which seeks to assess service levels in the establishments. The City has noted the service excellence programme undertaken by the National Department of Tourism, and will be aligned to it. 


Without strong and skilled service personnel, the tourism sector in the country, and in particular Ekurhuleni will not flourish to its maximum potential. There will be a need for a collective approach in strengthening this sector if the City has to be positioned in South Africa as a preferred tourism destination. To that end, the City will continue to engage Captains of Industry and stakeholders extensively in order to agree on the type of tourism economy needed to build in the destination Ekurhuleni.  The City has a rich history, linked to political struggle icons, such as, amongst others, the late Oliver Reginald Tambo, Chris Hani, Sam Ntuli and Bertha Gxowa, amongst others. An aggressive investment will be channelled towards the development of catalytic and labour intensive infrastructure, linked to these struggle icons of the revolution. 


The City will further develop an OR Tambo Narrative Centre Precinct, to include the establishment of the OR Tambo Library/Knowledge Centre. The narrative centre will provide access to an array of documents not previously available in South Africa and housed in other cities, such as the Soncini Archive in the Panizzi Library dealing with OR Tambo and the Liberation Struggle in Southern Africa.  A 9M Bronze Statue of OR Tambo will be constructed and installed at the OR Tambo International Airport in October 2017, as a fitting tribute and recognition of this great struggle icon.   


In light of the above, the City has just recently acquired the home of the late Chris Hani, and plans are afoot to develop it into a fully- fledged museum, where his memorabilia will be exhibited. On the 24th March 2017, the South African Heritage and Resources Agency declared the grave of the late Chris Hani a memorial site, together with the walk of remembrance and these developments will be turned into a tourist’s attractions. 


A major focus of the City in the next few months, will be rolling out a comprehensive programme that seeks to leverage on the pronouncement made to the effect that this is the year of OR Tambo. To this effect, the City would not only contribute, but play an active role in the planning of the OR Tambo Centenary Celebrations, in partnership with the National Department of Tourism and the OR Tambo Foundation. The City will be rolling out a number of O.R Tambo commemorative programmes and events to celebrate the centenary.  Events have become an effective tool in positioning destinations and in fact have become important tourism products themselves. Some destinations have become popular tourist destinations through the hosting of strategic events. To leverage, the City will establish, in the next financial year, the Ekurhuleni Development Agency, whose main responsibility will be to drive Aerotropolis Development Programme, Destination Marketing as well as bid for major conventions and events. The Aerotropolis Programme and its related infrastructural projects will be used as an anchor for tourism growth and development. 


The City intends to implement the following projects and programmes in order to create an economic value-chain around the Airport, some of which are also relevant for the promotion of the tourism and hospitality industries. These include: 


•      Aerospace Creative Hub; 

•      International Convention Centre; 

•      University of Ekurhuleni; and 

•      Aviation Simulation Centre; 


In this regard, the City will continue to identify mega or signature events, with a tourism impact for hosting or partnerships. The aim is to further position the City as a business tourism destination. The City acknowledges that the state of tourism industry and Ekurhuleni’s brand recognition is not where it should be. It is out of this realisation that the City is currently rolling out a focused aggressive marketing and promotional campaign aimed at positioning the Ekurhuleni as a preferred destination to Live, Play and Invest. As part of the Campaign, critical tourism markets and platforms will be targeted for activations. The recent example is the Meetings Africa, as a result of which was hosted a number of Chinese buyers and took them on a tour of Ekurhuleni. More investment is being channelled towards tourism infrastructure and urban renewal projects as part of the township revitalisation programme spearheaded by the Province. Included in these, is the development of the Germiston Lake Waterfront Development and the Khumalo Street Precinct. The Germiston Theatre has recently been completed and this would contribute towards precinct development, and destination positioning.


In conclusion, the Executive Mayor encouraged each one of the delegates to make time and visit some of attractions and products as a contribution to the local economy. He invited stakeholders to work with the City as it strives to stimulate the investment and tourism potential of the area.



  1. Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr. Des Van Rooyen, delivering his Message of support, said the local government sector is the sphere of government most closest to the people and one which most people are likely to encounter on a daily basis. While citizen expectations of local government often centre around the delivery of basic services, there are other areas that take an increasingly important role. One of these is Local Economic Development (LED), with tourism being one of the most accessible sectors to stimulate LED. 


5.2.1     Tourism-based LED in South Africa


Within South Africa, in addition to longstanding popular tourist destinations such as Kruger National Park; the Garden Route; Safe and Clean Beaches; Table Mountain and Robben Island to name but a few, a wide range of other localities are now seeking to drive development through tourism promotion, often as an explicit part of their LED Programmes. Planning of initiatives for LED represents one of the core functions of developmental local government in South Africa as confirmed in the White Paper on Local Government.  


Previously, LED in South Africa focused on the promotion of local government as viable centres for industry, agriculture or mining. Recently there has been a focus on the promotion of tourism as an alternative driver of LED. LED is about creating a platform and conducive environment to engage stakeholders in implementing strategies and programmes that stimulate local economies. Municipal structures have an important role to play in connecting national and regional resources to promote their local areas, and in bringing about strategic local partnerships to enhance and sustain economic growth. Municipalities should play a connector role in respect of LED, drawing upon resources locked in a range of different government support instruments into their localities. LED is based on the principle that wealth in local communities is created not by government but by private enterprise which depends on favourable local business conditions to create prosperity. Local government therefore has a key role in creating favourable environments for business success.  All efforts for tourism development should enable pro-poor tourism. This should enable local poor people to secure economic benefits from tourism in a fair and sustainable manner.



5.2.2     Importance of the Tourism Sector from a Local Government Perspective


The convening of the Local Government Tourism Conference under the theme, “Tourism Planning is Everybody’s Business,’’ was indeed significant to  the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and local government sector due to the benefits from the industry growth which resonate and impact directly on local communities. Much has been written and demonstrated about the ability and potential of this sector to be a powerful development path through job creation, boosting economies, providing foreign exchange, improving infrastructure, and promoting environmental conservation. Academic scholars, development organisations, multilateral organisations, non-government and community based organisations, as well as government institutions are all consistent in their analysis. It is for this reason that the sector has been prioritised in the New Growth Path and the Industrial Policy Action Plan.


Within the context of the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality, it is perhaps the National Tourism Sector Strategy (2010) that succinctly captures the essence of the tourism sector as a catalyst for local growth and development. It indicates that tourism is not only a multifaceted and multi-sectoral; is also labour-intensive with low barriers to entry for entrepreneurs, providing for a large-mass labour force, including critical sectors such as women and the youth. Additionally, as tourism is ‘consumed’ at the point of production, it provides opportunities for the development of small local businesses and informal economic activities in such areas as tour guides, arts and craft, and small taxi operators.



5.2.3       Accelerating the implementation of Back to Basics to benefit the Tourism Sector

For the purpose of the conference, it was important to focus attention on the distinct role of local government in the provision of basic infrastructure, separating it from the provision of other ‘catalytic’ infrastructure, which is broadly the competence of provincial and national government. The consensus has emerged from ongoing research and stakeholder engagements that:

  • Many challenges in development have their roots at the local level and unless local Government begins to play a more significant role resolving these, South Africa will continue to struggle in its challenge to combat poverty, unemployment and inequality.
  • Local government has the potential to make a sustainable impact on development and has begun to demonstrate it.  But far more needs to be done before the country’s municipalities are equal to the considerable task that is demanded of them.  

Over the past two years the local government sector, has looked at the question: what are the most basic, non-negotiable amenities we should be delivering to the communities; and, at the most elementary level, what is it going to take to ensure that local government fulfils this role? This is the core focus of the work in local government, and is called Back to Basics Programme. The objective of the approach is to ensure a well-functioning and efficient local government system in support of the national developmental agenda and has direct benefits for the tourism sector. As part of Government’s efforts to strengthen the system of local government in the second phase of the Back to Basics, President Jacob Zuma was going to convene the 3rd Presidential Local Government Summit on the 6th and 7th of April 2017, under the theme, “Managing Municipal Spaces for Radical Social and Economic Transformation”.



5.2.4     Basics of Tourism in Local Government 


From the perspective of tourism development, the question is, what are the non-transferable basics needed to be in place in South African municipalities, as preferred tourist destinations? At this level of thinking, the local government simply needs to be saying, a foreign tourist stepping out of an airplane or bus, visiting local attractions; or a local resident, leaving the comfort of his/her home to experience one of the marvellous tourism products, what service should they expect without compromise from our municipalities? In pondering this question, there are few suggestions that were proposed to the conference delegates:

  • Tourists expect that when they open a tap in a B&B, there will be drinkable water in that tap. 
  • When they switch on the lights on their visit, there will be electricity. 
  • They expect that roads with be clear and visible signage will get them to their destinations without any troubles. 
  • They expect upfront communication and information on planned service interruptions and duration. 
  • They expect that, as they experience municipal public spaces and amenities owned by municipalities they will be clean, well maintained, safe and visually pleasing.  
  • They expect working street lights as they explore historic townships by night.  
  • They expect clean ablution facilities, and reliable visitor information centres.

These are basics but the list is endless. It is easy to take these expectations for granted, more especially from a local resident’s point of view. But meeting them may mean the difference between a tourist coming back to that tourism product or not. It may also mean the difference between tourists recommending local tourist offerings to other potential tourists. But what is it going to take to get the basics right? Clearly, a whole-of-government and other players approach is necessary to support municipalities to fulfil their basic functions, including basic tourism infrastructure as well captured by the conference theme. 


5.2.5     IUDF and Urban Tourism


In 2016, the Cabinet adopted the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF), with a vision of creating “liveable, safe, resource-efficient cities and towns that are socially integrated, economically inclusive and globally competitive, where residents actively participate in urban life”.  


The IUDF acknowledges that like most African countries and other developing countries, South Africa is experiencing increased urbanisation. There are eight main cities in South Africa. Cities play an important role in tourism development. Cities provide efficient infrastructure and services through density and concentration in transportation, communications, power, human interactions, and water and sanitation services. They attract talents and skilled labour that allow specialisation in knowledge, skills, and management capabilities. To overcome the spatial fragmentation of South Africa’s built environment and to improve the utilization of cities as economic hubs, an integrated city development grant has been introduced to strengthen long-term city planning and encourage private investment in urban development. In addition, an employment tax incentive has been introduced as a cost sharing measure to incentivise firms to provide work opportunities for young people. The tourism sector is more likely to benefit from Cities’ infrastructure development initiatives. Recent reports stated that metropolitan areas were responsible for almost half of all national business trips. Planning for business tourism must therefore be a critical dimension of tourism planning in these large urban tourism destinations. However, it should be noted that the local government sector is mindful that tourism has emerged as a significant driver of local economies, especially in small towns and rural areas.



In conclusion, the Minister was delighted to partner with Tourism in this the Local Government Tourism Conference, and hoped that the tourism conference was going to offer the local government sector concrete programmes to focus on, in order to support and contribute to the growth of the tourism sector. On this basis, CoGTA also expected proactive calls for collaborative partnerships to make resolutions happen, because surely it cannot be a task of government alone. CoGTA’s viewpoint was that the time for policies and strategies has passed. Energies, efforts and resources should be channelled to impactful implementation to make municipalities sustainable tourism attractions, as the government implements the Back to Basics Approach. It was important to note that in South Africa, widespread acknowledgement exists that tourism is a strong driver for local economic development. In maximising the impacts of tourism expansion for local communities, a critical role must be played by municipalities through the design of credible tourism sector plans, marketing, the provision of support infrastructure, and the management of tourism growth. As the Easter holiday weekend was approaching with several long weekends, the Minister invited conference delegates to be tourism Ambassadors in local government spaces and contribute to tourism growth. 



  1. Ministry of Tourism


The Minister of Tourism Ms Tokozile Xasa, delivering her keynote address, said it was an absolute honour to address the gathering in her first engagement as Minister of Tourism. The occasion could not have been a more fitting debut as delegates were the implementers of radical social transformation, the clarion call by the President in his 2017 State of the Nation Address. Delegates are responsible for the visitor experience. They are at the coalface of tourism. They gave expression to the National Development Plan, the blueprint to addressing the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality through Tourism. The Minister applauded the commitment to the dynamic economic pillar which is tourism. In his State of the Nation Address for 2017, President Jacob Zuma emphasised the need for radical economic transformation. He said this means a fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership, management and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female, as defined by the governing party, which makes policy for the democratic government.  The President also acknowledged the importance of tourism in the South African economy.

During his address of the National House of Traditional Leaders in March 2017, the President again touched on the many opportunities that are available in the tourism sector. He said the government acknowledges the critical role of traditional leadership institutions in our constitutional democracy and in communities, particularly in rural areas.  This role is very important in relation to rural tourism development strategies. The government appreciates the potential of tourism hence its identification as one of the key economic sectors. The understanding of tourism benefits to the economy is also gaining traction with other fraternal departments. 


The success of this sector is evident in the growing numbers of international tourists who want to come to South Africa to enjoy the most amazing experiences at the incredible value for money that the country offers. Over 10 million in 2016 visited South Africa, with 18 percent growth in overseas tourist arrivals. Success in domestic tourism will spread the economic and social benefits of the entire tourism value chain across geographic regions of the country and throughout the year, creating more jobs and bringing meaningful benefits for local communities.  


The Government link to the people is through local government which is the sphere of government closest to the delivery of the tourism mandate. It is through this vehicle that the government can advance people power through tourism.  Local government provides the core utilities and infrastructure on which the tourism industry is built such as roads, water, public transport and emergency services.  Local government further operates attractions such as museums, art galleries, convention centres, tours and other amenities.   Therefore local governments plays a pivotal role in the economic and social development of their communities.  


Tourism is packed with opportunities and the growth in international and domestic tourism means more opportunities for local suppliers and providers of services to tourists, more opportunities for small businesses, for entrepreneurs and innovators, and for people from local communities to become actively involved in the wonderful world of tourism. The government is not after short-sighted growth that is haphazard and aimless but wants sustainable growth that creates more opportunities for black people, especially people in rural areas, and for women, the youth and people living with disabilities. The government wants growth in tourism to lead to economic and social transformation of the country. All delegates have one thing in common, they are all partners in tourism development, which makes it essential that they are all partners in planning for tourism growth and development.


The Sector was at a very special juncture in the development of tourism in South Africa, a time when collaboration, partnerships and planning together is absolutely essential if delegates are to succeed in extracting the full value and benefits of tourism for all people. Tourism is a half-exposed treasure chest. The lid is half-opened and not many people can get to the jewels. If all work together, can prise that lid open, so that the benefits of tourism, and the natural and cultural heritage of the country, can be shared by all the people in the country.


Studies conducted in the tourism sector show that transformation in the sector was happening at a slow pace. For example, in 2011, the Department commissioned an independent study to assess the state of transformation in the tourism sector. Amongst others, the study found that nearly 80 percent of Exempted Micro Enterprises (EMEs), Qualifying Small Enterprises (QSEs) and Large Enterprises (LEs) had failed to meet the targets for ownership, management control, employment equity, preferential procurement, enterprise development and skills development. The majority of workers in the tourism sector are women and women remain the backbone of the sector, but many are still confined to the kitchens, cleaning departments and front desks of many tourism establishments. 


The Department has embarked on a process of reviewing the National Tourism Sector Strategy. This is a mid-term review aimed at ensuring that the department responds to current tourism trends. The review has been discussed at various intergovernmental forums including at cluster levels. It has also been discussed with various private sector stakeholders and individual departments. The next step will be the publication and gazetting of the strategy for public comments. Government encouraged inputs and participation in this process. The Minister acknowledged the invaluable contributions to this process by the two former Ministers of Tourism that has enabled government to bring the process to this point. The National Department of Tourism is working with provincial and municipal counterparts to leverage South Africa’s globally competitive natural and cultural advantages. This work is supported by the five pillars of the National Tourism Sector Strategy: improving the visitor experience; facilitating ease of access; effective marketing; enhancing destination management practices and bringing broad-based benefits to more of the people.


For Domestic Tourism, Statistics South Africa reported recently that domestic trips declined between 2013 and 2015 with day trips decreasing from 54.4 million in 2013 to 48 million in 2014 and 44 million in 2015. More work needs to be done to address this decline. The NTSS is looking to grow these numbers through various South African Tourism programmes. Over the past year, South African Tourism has bolstered its efforts in working with all provinces. Some of the projects include the following: My1stShotleft with Micasa with all 9 provinces, Youth Tours in Tshwane - Gauteng Tourism, Tourism Month  Campaign with all 9 provinces, Gogos on Tour with all 9 provinces, Trade Fam Hosting in Free State, Trade Fam Hosting in Karoo in the Western Cape, Trade Fam Hosting in Eastern & Western Cape, Tollgate Promotions with all 9 provinces in December as well as now for pre-Easter, Park Station Activation with all 9 provinces,  Distributed discounted vouchers in all provinces to high traffic areas at Park Station in Johannesburg and Media Hosting in Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape.


To demonstrate this commitment, government recently allocated an additional amount of R494 million to promote tourism over the next three years. It is estimated that the Oceans Economy has the potential to contribute R 177 billion to the GDP by 2033 compared to the R24 billion in 2010 and create one million jobs compared to the 360 000 in 2010.  As part of Operation Phakisa, Tourism is responsible for Marine and Coastal Tourism and the government has already identified the relevant stakeholders that we will be focussing on. The Department will implement the Oceans Economy initiative looking at enhancing the tourism potential of the country’s beaches.  Furthermore, the Department has the Blue Flag Tourism project as a contribution to the Nine Point Plan and the Oceans Economy. The approved budget is R40 million over three years, 2016/17 – 2018/19, covering 50 beaches and employing 200 unemployed youth.  The youth will be trained in beach safety (first aid, life-saving, beach security), environmental management and environmental education of the natural plant life, animals, the dynamics of the ocean and the beach, as being guides to visitors, checking on the quality of the sea water and cleanliness of the beach so that it complies with the international Blue Flag standards. In the process, the coastal district and local municipalities will also be engaged.


The Department also supports the role of local government through the Local Government Development and Support Programme, which is aimed at assisting policy makers and tourism practitioners. The programme focuses on tourism development in the context of local government; tourism market and research statistics; tourism legislation; tourism asset and infrastructure management and integrated tourism planning. More than 300 local government tourism practitioners and policy makers have been trained through this programme. The Department is also rolling out the Local Government Induction Programme as a platform for which government officials, communities, traditional leaders and product owners to interact and collaborate.


The success of tourism industry largely depends on integrated planning, with particular focus at local government level, given that the bulk of tourism activities and facilities are at the municipal space. In strengthening tourism planning at local level, the Department developed the South African Tourism Planning Toolkit for Local Government in 2010. The toolkit was written as a living and evolving document that should respond to current tourism planning issues at local government. 


The Capacity Building Initiative creates a tourism development platform at local level fostering interaction with all key stakeholders across the three spheres of government, community, traditional leadership, and product owners. The information shared with stakeholders is based on the needs assessment done at each of the identified rural nodes and it incorporates the SMME support initiatives from various departments, relevant reports and researched information from selected Universities.


The Department has recently launched a new Enterprise Development Programme such as SMME incubators at strategic tourism nodes, tourism information portal to bridge the information gap between entrepreneurs and business opportunities, business development and market access support to 300 enterprises countrywide. This multipronged approach requires multiple public, private and civil stakeholders to take part in the provision of various support needs of businesses. The incubator enables enterprises to obtain business support services offered mainly from their location of their businesses. 


Technological developments have taken hold in the global economy in the last two decades. Tourism has not been immune to the effects of technological evolution. Recently, the evolution of technology has brought about the sharing economy phenomenon which includes platforms such as Uber, Airbnb and Lyft. This bodes well in terms of opportunities presented. The Department has launched an Interactive Online Information Portal accessible to multiple hand held devices.  The portal carries information on business opportunities, contacts and details of support instruments. Mobile Applications, for Tourist Guides and Visitor Information Centres, was also developed.


The Department is implementing the Service Excellence Integrated Support Programme to provide structured support to products to improve their respective service levels. This is critical to defining the visitor experience. National Tourism Information and Monitoring System project is aimed at developing a cohesive system for gathering information from tourism stakeholders and related industries that support tourism as a sector. 


Other initiatives will include: Business advisory and support services, training and development e.g. service excellence, market access; and the Information platform (Enterprise Development Portal).


Transformation of this sector is imperative in promoting inclusivity. Our department promotes sustainability and good governance, which includes initiatives to transform the sector, promote the practice of responsible tourism and the unlocking of tourism economic development at local government level.  Tourism was the first sector to gazette the amended B-BBEE Code showing the commitment of tourism stakeholders to the empowerment and transformation in the sector. The B-BBEE portal was developed to provide a matchmaking platform between black owned suppliers and large enterprises.


The majority of workers in the tourism sector are women yet many of these women are still relegated to menial or junior roles within our tourism establishments.  The establishment of the Women in Tourism Forum in 2014 is aimed at addressing the economic inequalities and challenges faced by women within the sector.  Provincial chapters are being constituted. Last year we launched the Executive Development Programme (EDP) for Black women tourism managers. The programme is aimed at building strong business skills and leadership capabilities amongst black women in the tourism sector to lead key parts of tourism businesses and form a pool of future top leadership, entrepreneurs and industrialists in the sector.  About 20 women were placed at UNISA-SBL from July 2016 to attend the programme for a year, fully sponsored by Department.  


The Department will also conduct tourism transformation Indaba to demystify B-BBEE and create a platform to share best practices and plans on how to transform the sector. The conference will be held in a previously disadvantaged area at the end of 2017 to begin to “walk the talk on transformation” and reaching out to broader beneficiaries.


In conclusion, the programme for the conference was purposely organised to be both inspirational and practical.  During the morning, delegates will hear from thought provoking speakers who will share best practice case studies from both a South African and International perspective.   Hoped that delegates will take the inspiration from these stories into your workshop sessions this afternoon.  There are four interactive workshops that have been organised that will give you practical skills on making a business case for tourism in the IDP, developing a basic tourism plan, developing a bankable tourism project funding proposal and co-operative governance to enhance tourism integration.  The workshops are intended to be the beginning of many creative tourism projects in your local communities.  Minister said it was her fervent hope that delegates will leave the conference filled with excitement about the possibilities that new tourism projects have for local economic development, would like to see the maximum use of municipal land and local tourism assets for the benefit of local communities.



  1. The State of Tourism at Local Government


Mr Hugh Bartis, Principal Lecturer: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) presented on the State of Tourism at Local Government said South Africa has 257 municipalities, 8 metropolitan municipalities, 44 districts metropolitan and 205 local municipalities.

Some of the questions posed to generate discussion were: what is the current state of tourism development? What is the significance of understanding the tourism benefits? What is the capacity of policy makers? Does government support tourism development at local government level? What interventions can be proposed?

The situational analysis indicates that demands of tourist are evolving; the extent of sustainable tourism planning and development; available funding for tourism varies considerably; human resource capacity in rural areas is questionable; implementation of IDP and sector plans; the bureaucratic nature of processes; deteriorating infrastructure in rural areas; and the manner in which tourism information is disseminated.   The proposed Suggestions are to:

  • Determine best practise.
  • Support from national structures.
  • Construct ideal tourism delivery mode.
  • Better capacitate decision makers.
  • Improve interaction between local directorates.
  • Focus on positive and engaging experiences; and
  • Finance knowledge base of communities.


  1. Planning Legislation at Local Government: Implications for Tourism Development


Mr Stephanus Minnie, Director: Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Services from Department of Rural Development and Land Reform presented on Planning Legislation at Local Government and implications for Tourism Development. 

On 18 June 2010, the Constitutional Court delivered judgement in an application by the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality for confirmation of an order made by the Supreme Court of Appeal, declaring Chapters 5 and 6 of the Development Facilitation Act (Act No. 16 of 202013 (SPLUMA) has commenced on the 1 of July 2015. 

The SPLUMA unifying existing concepts are as follows:

  • Spatial Development Framework – deals with where money is going to be spend over time.
  • Land Use Scheme – legal right, all to be revisited over the five years.
  • Development Application – a local municipality unique administration process to apply for change (SPLUMA By – Law).
  • Municipal Planning Tribunals – the body in each municipality that will decide on all changes.


  1. Destination Marketing


Mr Sisa Ntshona, Chief Executive Officer: South African Tourism presented on Destination Marketing. He said the goal is to have 5 million more tourists incrementally over 5 years. The thrusts to meet the goal will be on:

  • Being an inspired organisation – build an inspired and energised organisation that is motivated to meet the defined goal.
  • Utilising resources effectively – drive operational efficiencies in all activities, including human, marketing and other resources available to South African Tourism.
  • Developing effective partnerships – collaborate with partners, both local and international to maximise synergies, enhance traveller experience and close sales.
  • Reassessing and realigning the Brand – build a recognised, appealing, resilient and competitive tourism and (business events) brand for South Africa across the target markets and segments. 
  • Optimising marketing investments – to develop and implement an investment strategy that allows SA Tourism to focus on prioritised market segments.
    1. Tourism Planning at Local Government: An International Perspective


HE Mr CF De Cossio, Cuban Ambassador to South Africa gave an experience of Cuba on Tourism Planning at Local Government. He said tourism is at the centre of Cuba’s Development Strategy. Cuba is one of the safest countries in the world, with a great cultural and historical heritage. Cuba has 10 World Heritage Sites, 14 National Parks, 257 National Monuments.  

Tourism in Cuba is a crucial catalyst for local and regional development. The main markets are Canada, United States, Cuban expatiates, and Germany.

Air connections, Cuba is connected to 60 cities around the world through 54 airlines. Regional planning system plays a crucial role through:

  • Securing the required human resources.
  • Projecting growth in infrastructure.
  • Identifying the peculiar attractions of each territory.
  • Ensuring the environmental equilibrium.
  • Securing a balanced ecological approach to development; and
  • Priorities when attracting foreign investment.

Tourism is the most dynamic industry and foreign investment as a strategic decision entails:

  • The expansion of hotel rooms and hotel management.
  • Enhancing airport facilities.
  • Building entertainment facilities.
  • Improving promotion and advertising by maximising resources.
  • Enhancing the use of the new technologies in tourism.
  • Developing event and incentive tourism.
  • Enhancing nature tourism.
  • Creating the capacities to take advantage of the health tourism potential; and
  • Developing marinas and golf courses.

The promotion of Cuba as a peaceful, safe and healthy destination requires careful strategic planning, regional development and foreign investment.


  1. Feedback from Interactive Workshops


The Conference was divided into both plenary, facilitated panel discussions and interactive workshops. Speakers noted the important role that tourism can play in the economic and social development of the country. Delegates agreed that local government should be geared to deliver on the tourism mandate. The Conference delegates also noted that tourism currently does not enjoy priority status both, in terms of planning and resourcing at the local government sphere. It was also generally agreed that the National and Provincial spheres of government need to play a more supportive role to deepen the understanding of tourism and its benefits to local government. Feedback from the four interactive workshops is as follows:


  1. Workshop 1: Making a Business Case for Tourism in the DP


Mr Vincent Rabothaba, Acting Executive Manager for Integrated District and Regional Spatial Planning in the Department of Cooperative Governance gave a feedback on workshop 1. The issues were identified as follows:

  • Tourism should be taken seriously and be included in the IDP.
  • Tourism continues to be viewed as an unfunded mandate (yet it is a constitutional mandate).
  • Competing needs at local government (service delivery vs. tourism).
  • Tourism is recognised as a component of local economic development (LED).
  • Roles and responsibilities between district and local government is not clearly articulated.
  • Tourism officials seem not to be convinced and often fail to convince political principals. 

The Business Case should be expressed as follows:

  • Recognise tourism as a joint responsibility, one which requires a multi-pronged approach.
  • Demonstrate the value of tourism in the region because tourism is a numbers game.
  • Develop and promote tourism in pursuance of regional economic development goals.
  • Prioritise tourism in the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and must find expression in other policy plans such as the Spatial Development Framework.
  • Tourism must find articulation in other sector plans.
  • Engagements to create platforms to learn from one another – collaboration is key to provide the link between national, provincial and local government.
  • Ensure conducive environment for businesses to thrive through provision of basic infrastructure services, that is, water, electricity and maintenance of parks.
  • Tourism planning must also create a guide for future scenarios. The scenario building needs to say what needs to happen to make tourism work for the region.


  1. Workshop 2: Developing a Basic Tourism Plan


Dr Kiera Schoeman, Tourism Research Specialist who is an Assistant Manager at Urban-Econ Development Economists reported on the outcome of workshop 2 as follows:

  • The environment must be clearly understood.
  • Local tourism plans need to be guided by provincial and national strategies.
  • Destination value chain must be understood because tourists visit a destination not necessarily a guesthouse.
  • Need to move towards an integrative and collaborative approach and away from silos.
  • Private sector and other key players need to be engaged from the start.
  • Key players in the sector need to play a proactive role in the development and implementation of a destination tourism plan.

The way forward:

  • A basic tourism plan template for all municipalities should be developed and used as a guideline.
  • A suggested list of key players who need to be consulted during the planning process should be compiled; and
  • A standardised tourism inventory database which can be fed into the national Tourism Supply Database should be developed.


  1. Workshop 3: Developing a Bankable Tourism Project Funding Proposal


Mr Jabulani Debedu, Senior Consultant at Grant Thornton gave a feedback on workshop 3 on the process of connecting the tourism project funding proposal at local government level as follows:

  • Local Tourism Plan / Strategy includes product development plan, marketing plan or strategy.
  • Tourism Product Development Plan includes identifying product, product prioritisation, and prioritised product design.
  • Tourism Project Feasibility Study includes market assessment, and financial assessment.
  • Bankable Tourism Funding proposal
  • Investment attraction/ the investment attraction includes “push and pull strategies”. A push strategy relies on the normal pre-packaging of tourism investments by the host local authority and then pushing these projects onto the investment markets, that is, implementing a pro-active approach to the market, where the invest entity takes the projects to the market. While the pull strategy relies mainly on creating an attractive enough environment so that investors are attracted to that market and the investor then identify their own projects for investment, that is, implementing a re-active approach where the market comes to you.

Sources of funding and support includes:

  • Marketing and investment facilitation.
  • Loan funding.
  • Equity funding.
  • Grant funding.
  • Access to basic services, regulatory compliance issues.


  1. Workshop 4: Cooperative Governance for Tourism Integration at Local  Government


Mr Cyril Francis, Lecturer at Milpark Business School gave feedback to plenary on workshop 4. The question posed to conference delegates was: what are the biggest challenges facing local municipalities?

From a Municipal point of view, the following reasons were provided:

  • Tourism is not perceived as a “priority” at local government level.
  • There seems to be no political will to drive the process.
  • Key stakeholders have different agendas (jealousy and positioning).
  • There are no tourism champions at municipal level.
  • Relationship between Municipalities and Local Tourism Organisations (LTOs) are strained.
  • Great lack of tourism experience and skills.
  • Lack of empowerment to exercise skills and expertise.
  • Tourism officials in some instances are not part of the decision making process.
  • Lack of adequate funding to roll out tourism plans.
  • Tourism is always sacrificed in a process of budget cuts.
  • Element of bribery and corruption.
  • Lack of maintenance and upkeep of key attractions and infrastructure.


From Provincial Level Point view:

  • Lack of commitment and dedication from Local Municipal officials.
  • Lack of passion and understanding of the industry.
  • Local of Municipalities inability to execute National and Provincial planning

Traditional Authorities:

  • It is also perceived that some traditional authorities are stumbling block in Local Economic Development (LED).
  • Huge lack of understanding of the application of spatial development.
  • Lack of trust between private and local municipalities.

The way forward – recommendations:

  • Tourism MECs and Municipal Managers must be held accountable for a lack of tourism planning, transformation and execution in their areas.
  • Fill tourism positions at Local Municipality level with passionate, committed and skilled individuals.
  • Develop an information platform for success municipalities to share with less successful Local Municipalities.
  • Encourage educational authorities (from primary school) to plant the tourism seed from a tender age.
  • Develop strategic alliance between Local Municipalities to share expertise, develop routes and collaborate on themes of common interest.


  1. Consolidated Committee observations

After listening to a number of issues and submissions made by various stakeholders who attended the conference, the Committee made the following observations:


  1. Necessity  to prioritise tourism at a local level


The Committee noted the running thread throughout the conference that tourism is not perceived as a “priority” at local government level.  Local councils still sacrifice tourism at in favour of other competing service delivery imperatives. Despite tourism being a constitutional mandate, some municipal councils still do not budget for tourism as they regard it as an unfunded mandate. This is concern to the Committee as local government is a missing link in the implementation of tourism development and marketing.


  1. Creating a conducive environment for tourism


The Committee acknowledges the stipulation of the White Paper on the Promotion and Development of Tourism in South Africa (1996) that tourism is government led, private sector driven, and community-based. The asserting that tourism is government led also includes the pivotal role of the local government level. The Committee observed that some municipalities do not create a conduce environment for tourism to thrive. This was evident in a lack of political will by the elected official responsible for tourism; unavailability of Local Tourism Organisations; strained relations between municipalities and the private sector; poor maintenance of tourist attractions; lack of personnel; poor signage; and generally poor infrastructure and service delivery that support tourism.



  1. Challenges with spatial planning


Municipalities struggle with aligning tourism within the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF). This affects the integration of the current and planned future projects for tourism development within the municipalities’ Integrated Development Plans (IDPs). The concern observed by the Committee is that tourism officials neglect the importance of their involvement and participation in the IUDF and IDP processes. The tourism officers confine themselves within the tourism space and miss invaluable opportunities of networking and infusing tourism in other municipal plans that facilitate tourism growth


  1. The need to establish a Tourism Development Fund


The importance of tourism in the economy is enormous yet there is no funding mechanism to develop and promote this sector. Delegates echoed this view by suggesting equity funding and/or grant funding for tourism development at a municipal level. This fund, like the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG), should be ring-fenced for tourism development and issued on the basis of bankable tourism business plans. 


  1. Need for best practice models


The Committee observed that some municipalities have established best systems and models for funding and developing tourism. Some of these models could be replicated in other municipalities through networking. This calls for municipal officials to improve their interaction and networking mechanisms.


  1. Capacity for tourism officials and councillors


The Committee observed that some tourism officials and councillors do not have capacity to fulfill the tourism mandate. Some do not have a full appreciation of a modern tourist. The municipal tourism officials need to understand the ever evolving tourism industry and the emerging but already entrenched sustainable demands. These should then be incorporated to municipal tourism plans to capture the new market share


  1. Committee recommendations


The observations made by the Committee warrant urgent and focused attention by the National Department of Tourism and other spheres of government. In that regard, the Committee recommends that the Minister of Tourism through the MinMec engagements:


  1. Discusses prioritisation of tourism at a provincial and local level and encourages all the MECs responsible for tourism to establish Provincial Tourism Forums where they interact regularly with the mayors on tourism issues.


  1. Emphasises the importance of integrating tourism into municipal plans, especially the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) and Integrated Development Plans (IDPs).


  1. Advocates for the establishment of the Tourism Development Fund and submits a proposal to Cabinet for consideration by the National Treasury.


  1. Suggests to the South Africa Local Government Association (SALGA) to create a platform for tourism officials to network for the purposes of learning best practices that could be implemented at local level. This could be both an online interactive platform and personal contact sessions.


  1. Emphasises the importance of understanding the emerging tourism trends and for municipalities to strive for compliance with sustainable tourism principles.


  1. Urges municipalities to create a conducive environment in their jurisdictions to support the development and promotion of inclusive tourism.



  1. Conclusion

The 2017 chapter of the Local Government Tourism Conference provided the Committee with invaluable insights on the current status of tourism at a local government level. Some of the issues raised by the delegates are recurrent challenges facing municipalities. The Committee was concerned that some municipalities are still not taking their tourism mandate seriously thus not budgeting for it. These are the issues that have been raised repeatedly at the previous conferences and the Committee has also addressed this issue with the National Department of Tourism. The recurring challenges at a local government level can be attributed to a change of political leadership. The gains made in entrenching tourism as one of the important local economic development sectors in council leadership gets eroded with the new leadership in office with low political will to prioritise the sector. It is therefore incumbent on the National Department of Tourism to have local government support programmes that constantly remind local authorities of their tourism mandate.

As alluded in sentiments raised by a number of delegates, the Local Government Tourism Conference is necessary to strengthen integrated tourism planning at local level and amongst various spheres of government. The tourism sector should be incorporated in national, provincial and municipal growth and development strategies for diversified economic development. This will ensure inclusive economic growth through Local Economic Development and Tourism Sector Strategies and address the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequalities at a local level.


Report to be considered



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