Tourism's potential to create employment and alleviate poverty in South Africa is recognised boldly in our National Development Plan.
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation's declaration of 2017 as the "International Year of Sustainable Tourism" extends this recognition to every region around the world.
The Department of Tourism, in partnership with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and other institutions, is hosting this conference in the context of the broad national and international aspiration for tourism: that sustainable tourism can change our country and our world for the better and improve the lives of people forever.
This is why the theme of this year's conference is "Tourism Planning is Everybody's Business".
The performance of the tourism sector in the past year, in which we recorded a 13% growth in international tourist arrivals over the previous year, is enormously encouraging.
We must acknowledge that there is room for further growth, based on the vast potential of our natural and cultural assets, our unique attractions, and our well-developed facilities and infrastructure.
This potential can only be fulfilled if all stakeholders in tourism pursue a collective vision, and work together to achieve that vision.
I appreciate the constructive and cooperative relationships that have already been formed between the National Department of Tourism and our provincial and municipal colleagues. I believe that we can do more by working even closer together in multi-level partnerships that include the public and private sector, civil society and citizens.
We need to place Local Government at the centre of our efforts to grow tourism in a manner that includes more black people, especially our youth, women and people living in rural areas.
The conference is a result of collective deliberations and sector-wide consultations aimed at putting South African tourism on a firm growth trajectory. The theme reinforces the responsibilities of all spheres of government, municipalities and communities in achieving these goals.
I extend a warm welcome to all delegates attending this conference. I trust that you will have constructive engagements as we pursue our priorities of creating jobs, reducing inequality and poverty, transforming our sector and enhancing social cohesion.
The multi-sectoral nature of tourism requires a collective approach to planning - and to the execution of our plans - for integrating tourism into local infrastructure and economic development, securing funding and the management of key sites and attractions.
Let's make the best of this opportunity to consolidate our plans for sustainable growth in tourism that brings meaningful transformation throughout our sector and broadens the economic benefits for the majority of our people.
Derek HanekomMinister of Tourism
Theme: "Tourism Planning is Everybody's Business" Date: 03 - 04 April 2017 Venue: Emperors Palace, Kempton Park, Gauteng Conference Programme: Click here for the conference programme Conference Registration: Click here to RSVP Emperors Palace Directions and Accommodation: Click here for directions and accommodation Enquiries: For more information, please contact Mr Thami Mandlazi on (012) 444 6352 or Ms Boitumelo Mathabathe on (012) 444 6300. Alternatively you can e-mail them on firstname.lastname@example.org