Honourable House Chairperson,
Minister of Tourism, Honourable Lindiwe Sisulu
Chairperson of the Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Economic Development,
Small Business Development, Tourism, Employment and Labour
Honourable Members of the National Council of Provinces
Members of the South African Tourism Board
Acting CEO of South African Tourism and
Senior Managers of the Department and South African Tourism
We present here today our aspirations for a more prosperous tourism sector that benefits all our citizens in an inclusive way.
As we undertook the process to develop the plans we are tabling here today, we were still in the throes of extremely punitive, damaging and unfair red listing of the Southern Africa Region by several countries preventing their citizens from traveling to our destination. The levels of uncertainty about the future of tourism were quite high.
Despite all this, we chose HOPE. We opted to focus our resources on readying our sector for the recovery that we are intent on creating. We decided to rally all our public and private partners towards what was possible.
To achieve this future we hope for, we argued that a diverse tourism offering that is unique and of quality is a key enabler for the growth we want. I present to you our plans for improving the diversity of the tourism offering in our destination, for ensuring quality assured products serviced by skilled personnel to improve the experience of our visitors as well as our plans for using business events and the domestic market to increase the economic performance of tourism as a sector.
Honourable members will be well aware of the importance of the domestic market the sustainable development of tourism. Its benefits for addressing seasonality patterns and geographic spread are well documented. As we set out to continue our efforts to grow this important market in 2022/23, we want to ensure that brand alignment in marketing South Africa is strengthened. We will continue to collaborate with Provinces to achieve this alignment through established structures like the MINMEC and the CEO’s forum.
Research indicates that domestic consumers are looking for affordable travel rates, and information on where to go and what to do. South African Tourism has responded accordingly, with targeted deal-driven domestic campaigns, which has yielded positive results. In relation to the domestic market, we are still confronted by barriers that required intervention of other portfolio departments. These barriers include a perceived lack of safety and security, lack of value for money, and a low brand appeal. As we proceed into the 2022/23 fiscal year, South African Tourism will intensify its efforts that focus on servicing and growing domestic, regional, and international leisure tourism in order to drive recovery of the tourism sector in the near to medium term.
The Department has been implementing the Domestic Tourism Scheme in the 2021/22 financial year in Northern Cape, Gauteng and Limpopo highlighting the role and responsibility of tour operators to help contribute in making travel accessible, enabling the participation of people with modest income and previously marginalized groups in the society. This initiative to inculcate a culture of travel will continue in 2022/23.
Another opportunity for growing visitors lies in the business events subsector. The South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB) will actively seek to develop leads for future business events to ensure that South Africa develops and maintains a bid pipeline for continued growth of the event sector. One of the key strategies to maintain South Africa’s position as the number one business events destination in Africa and the Middle East, and to be truly competitive on the international stage, is the enhanced focus on business development support, to maximise South Africa’s chances of winning the rights to host business events.
In addition to international events, we will continue implementing the National Association Project that drives the development of secondary meetings destination by encouraging localbased associations. This project which has the potential to address the concentration of business events in main cities and contribute to geographic spread, encourages federations, and societies to rotate their national meetings/conferences across South Africa – spreading the economic impact of local meetings and conferences to villages, towns and small dorpies (VTSD).
With these programmes indicated above that drive the demand side, need to be met with responsive supply of quality, diverse, unique and transformed offerings in the sector. The Maintenance Programme has been a flagship project in this regard. The programme has the objective to improve and ensure proper maintenance of National Parks Assets for destination enhancement, job creation and Small Medium and Micro Enterprises. The programme also responds to the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan as well as the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan on the protection and rejuvenation of supply. The system of National Parks in South Africa is a very significant asset for tourism growth. The Maintenance Programme contributes to ensuring that these crucial tourism assets do not decay to a point where we would lose significant revenue and jobs.
Total cumulative employment created by the programme was 857 with an expenditure of R82,081,695 by mid-March. This programme will be expanded to include several provincial parks as part of the Presidential Employment Stimulus.
Another benefit of this programme is that the contractors overseeing the work have progressed through at least one level in their grading, allowing them to bid for bigger contracts going forward. Given the nature of the parks, the programme is predominantly rural, benefitting communities and participants in proximity to the parks, many of whom have hitherto felt that they do not benefit from the parks.
Another key enabler is the crucial role of provinces and local government in creating conditions for tourism growth. In their legislated mandate, Provincial and Local Government can contribute significantly to the attractiveness of the destination, thereby boosting our ability to market the destination. We will continue to support the two spheres to play an increasingly improving role in this regard.
Visitor experience can make or break a destination. The good experience of tourist within our destination can grow our repeat visitor numbers and extend our reach to potential future tourists through word of mouth. In this regard we focus on ensuring adequate skills are availed for the sector and that quality assurance is provided for our offering.
We will continue implementing the youth skills development programme nationwide, ensuring geographic spread programme. The various training programmes being offered are based on industry demand for these skills. The programme is implemented in partnership with private sector, and with the objectives to contribute towards poverty alleviation through payment of stipends; placement of learners in Tourism & Hospitality establishments, thereby granting them exposure to job opportunities and income generation.
The programmes we have implemented include:
1. Food Safety Quality Assurer Programme targeting 300 unemployed and retrenched youth in KZN, Western Cape and Gauteng provinces in line with projects plans,
2. National Youth Chefs Training Programme targeting 300 unemployed and retrenched youth in Free State and Northern Cape provinces.
3. The Hospitality Youth Programme Food and Beverage, this programme will be implemented in all 9 province targeting 1000 youth this finsacial year.
4. The Wine Service Training Programme which was implemented in KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Northern Cape provinces targeting 252 unemployed and retrenched youth. The Department will continue to implement this programme this financial year, in two pronciances namely in KwaZulu Natal and Western Cape, targeting 252 unemployed and retrenched youth.
5. The 2021 National Tourism Careers Expo (NTCE) was attended by over 3000 learners and students participated. The NTCE positions tourism as a career of choice to learners and students.
A total number of 1178 of educators participated in the Educator Development Programme of the NTCE its objective is to ensure that tourism and hospitality educators are capacitated on latest tourism issues and exposed to the sector.
We also implemented Recognition of Prior Learning process for 30 Chefs for a qualification or designation. The project is aimed at recognizing the experience of Chefs who do not have formal qualifications. The Chefs undergo an RPL process and get awarded an NQF Level 5 Artisan Chef qualification or designation by SA Chefs Association.
In order to capacitate Tourists Guides, we have just completed phase I of the implementation of the Mandarin language training programme for 55 tourist guides. With the implementation of phase 2 of the Mandarin language training we will be targeting 38 tourist guides in this financial year.
Honourable chairperson, plans are already underway to develop an integrated central database to enable the management of tourist guides at both national and provincial levels. The database is critical for the discharging of legislated mandates of the two spheres of government with respect to growth and transformation of this subsector.
South African Tourism, will continue to implement the Quality Assurance function to grow the number of graded properties across South Africa, which will improve our overall perceptions as a quality destination that offers a wide variety of products and price points for tourists. Greater emphasis will be placed on assisting new entrants to be more sustainable and projects to support emerging sharing economy participants in their quality assurance journey are planned.
The Basic Qualification Verification (BQV) project launched and piloted in 2021 in the Eastern Cape will be rolled out in KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo provinces.
The intention is to continue to use the skills of unemployed graduates and to cover all other eight provinces through the programme ensuring that all accommodation products, including those in rural areas, have a formal quality assurance level in place thus highlighting the importance that South Africa places on service excellence and providing a quality experience to all tourists.
This will assist with transformation of the sector in ensuring that we have representation of black assessors in remote areas and ensuring quality assured products in these areas.
The Tourism Grading Support Programme (TGSP) encourages wider participation in the tourism grading system to stimulate an increase in conformity to quality standards in tourism and reduces the cost burden of grading on small tourism enterprises.
We acknowledge Gauteng and Northern Cape provincial tourism authorities for committing funds to TGCSA in order to increase the number of graded establishments by offering financial support (no cost to grading) for qualifying members within their respective regions.
We are strengthening our analytics capabilities in order to understand unique opportunities for provinces in global markets. The campaigns respond to researched insights in hubs to ensure that we package appropriate provincial offering in the global media campaigns
In conclusion honourable Chairperson gradually our country proceeds steadily further away from its painful era of the pandemic, charting new path of developmental growth. We wish to join the clarion call by the President that no one should be left behind. We therefore call upon all our social partners to lend all hands on deck as part of social compact as we confront all challenges facing this beautiful country of ours.