The Bill aims to provide for the development and promotion of sustainable tourism for the benefit of the Republic, its residents and its visitors; to provide for the continued existence of the South African Tourism Board; to provide for the establishment of the Tourism Grading Council; to regulate the tourist guide profession; to repeal certain laws; and to provide for matters connected therewith.
The Portfolio Committee on Tourism conducted public hearings on the Section 76 Bill and then processed it accordingly. The Bill was then debated in the National Assembly on 23 April 2013 and referred it to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for concurrence.
The NCOP Select Committee on Trade and International Relations had a series of engagements and deliberations on the Bill with stakeholders in the provinces. On November 14 last year, the NCOP voted in favour of the Bill with amendments. Seven provinces voted in favour of the Bill and the remaining two provinces could not vote due to technical issues in their final mandates but agreed to the Bill in principle.
The NCOP then referred the Bill back to the National Assembly. The Portfolio Committee on Tourism re-considered the Bill on January 28 this year. In reconsidering the Bill, the Portfolio Committee used at the following criteria, whether:
(i) the amendments made by NCOP changed the objectives as adopted by NA;(ii) there were additions or omissions to the Bill as adopted by NA and if so whether those were material;(iii) any amendments any change in implementation was envisaged by the NA;(iv) there were differences between the different parties or provinces or local governments;(v) the Department of Tourism believed there could be impediments as a result of the amendments;(vi) Anyone believed the intentions of the NA could be altered as a result of change.
The following amendments were noted by the Portfolio Committee:
(i) In chapter 1, there was an inclusion of the full definition of a “tourist guide”.(ii) In clause 45, the designation of a “Tourism Protector’ was changed to “Complaints Officer”.(iii) In clause 50, there was an inclusion of “indigenous knowledge of an area” as a requirement for the registration of a person as a tourist guide.
The Portfolio Committee noted that there were no material changes and differences by the NCOP on the Bill. The Committee then unanimously adopted the Tourism Bill and it has been sent to the National Assembly for passing and signing by the President into law.
Chairperson of the Committee Mr Don Gumede said: “Tourism in South Africa has until now been regulated by the Tourism Act of 1993. Although effective, this Act fell short of some enabling provisions as it was passed just before the advent of democratic dispensation in 1994. It will be remembered that the tourism industry fell under the erstwhile Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and thus did not receive adequate attention it deserved.”
Tourism contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country and its labour intensiveness, the President established a standalone Tourism Department in 2009. “This ushered in an era of undivided focus into tourism, hence a need to promulgate the new tourism legislation that caters for the new dispensation,” said Mr Gumede. The National Development Plan (NDP) envisages that the tourism industry will contribute 225 000 new jobs and contribute R499 billion rand towards the GDP by 2020. A new legislation was therefore needed to ensure that the tourism industry is assisted in achieving the targets set for the sector in the NDP.
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