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Budget-Vote-Speech by DM
Deputy Minister Tokozile Xasa

As we move TOWARDS 20years of Democracy from 3million in 1994 to 13.5 million arrivals to date!

The Minister has highlighted that we are presenting our Budget Vote with a backdrop of a favourable tourism growth of 10.2% in 2012.  Such development are a clear indication that this Administration made the right decision by identifying tourism as one of the top six priority areas in the New Growth Path, strictly focussing on the promotion of economic development and job creation in South Africa.

South Africa as a global player and Leader in Africa is strategically positioned to play a meaningful role, thanks to the Leadership of President JG Zuma who took time to demonstrate the important role that tourism plays by announcing the 2012 statistics himself - whose implications among others demonstrates the importance of the role government plays to enable the private sector to have the necessary environment to invest into the economy.  To date we contribute 9 percent to the GDP, created more than half a million jobs accorrding to 2010/2011 statistics, to compliment the not so often predictable traditional sectors of mining, automotives, and manufacturing.

We continue to yield very positive results, which can be attributed to the wonderful partnership that we have with the private sector.  Our National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) which is at implementation stage is a product of extensive consultation of which we call upon all partners and role players to play their part to realize our target of contributing R499bn into the GDP and create 225 000 additional jobs by 2020.

The National Development Plan (NDP) also recognizes Tourism as one of the main drivers of the country's economy and employment.  The plan envisages the promotion of South Africa as the major tourism destination with ability to contribute to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.  As the National Department of Tourism, working together with the private sector, we have to revise our figures and timelines to meet the set target of 11million jobs by 2030.

Working together with the private sector, it is our main objective to ensure that we continue to develop a sustainable tourism industry.   Our priorities as the Department remain the same and our strategic plan for 2013/14 is in line with our vision to ensure continuity and attainment of our objectives as set out in the NTSS. 

Our firm focus on those priorities is to ensure the improvement of the quality and competitiveness of our destination through the provision of appropriate skills for the sector.  We believe that one of the most important competitive factors in the tourism sector is the availability of skilled and capacitated workforce with passion for service excellence. 

The National Tourism Careers Expo (NTCE) that we host annually - and the Service Excellence Campaign are two of the interventions that the NDT in partnership with the Industry and CATHSSETA are driving. In 2012 alone, the NTCE 's overall learner participation (pre-registered learners) was 7306 and there were also 503 day passes, 247 educators. Additional to these were students at higher educational institutions and unemployed tourism graduates. Preparations for 2013 are underway with the department contributing R3m. It will be hosted in the Eastern Cape in partnership with the Eastern Cape Province.

Chairperson! Forward thinking is paramount in order to sustain our competitive edge. Tourism resources alone are not enough for a successful tourism industry.  While it serves as a crucial factor for development in the tourism industry, it also hinges inextricably on the quality of the training and education given to the people who are responsible for the delivery of these services.  As tourism is a people-intensive industry, education and training should be put in the forefront of tourism development.

Investment in the youth will result in a much more sustainable and flexible workforce.  We will therefore continue working with the private sector exposing our youth to numerous opportunities within the sector.  We further urge more industry players to open their doors for opportunities for our young people to get experience and exposure essential for future employment. We also urge the industry to provide accredited training within their institutions.

We also look forward to initiatives by established industry players to coach, mentor, train and partner with our SMMEs in order to transfer skills and assist them to get into the market.

The incentive programme transferred from theDTI to NDT must cater for support for such initiatives that would in the long run tackle or transformation agenda that will see our SMMEs grow, as well as, participation in the mainstream economy.  This year the NDT is setting up its institutional mechanism that will shape what NDT seeks to achieve out of this programme.

Further the announcement by the Minister at the Indaba on the consolidation of Tourism Awards is a step in the right direction.  We look forward to support for winners in order to sustain them, see them grow and link them to funding institutions.

It is inexplicable that when one of our ETEYA winners applied to the IDC and could not be assisted because the criteria is not favourable for them.

The National Department of Tourism, UMALUSI and CATHSSETA entered into a partnership to conduct analysis and evaluation of the existing curriculum for Tourism, Hospitality and Consumer Studies subjects from NQF levels 2, 3 and 4 of the National Certificate Vocational (NCV offered at FET Colleges) and National Senior Certificate (NSC offered at high schools). 

The main purpose of the exercise was to establish the value and quality standing of the intended curriculum for these subjects in the overall education and training terrain as well as a determination whether the existing curriculum is in line with industry skills needs. 

Multi stakeholder working groups of experts worked on the workshops based research process and came up with their first final Tourism and Hospitality NC(V) report which was launched on 18 – 19 March 2013.  Articulation of the NC(V) and NSC curriculum content needs to be attended to hence the second phase of the final report will focus on the NSC report by end of 2013/14.

Chairperson, alignment of our tourism strategies and activities as government is long overdue. It gives me great pleasure to inform this house that my Department launched a tourism capacity programme at the Local Government Tourism Conference we hosted in February this year.  This will ensure that tourism policies filter to all government levels seamlessly.  We expect to see tourism as one of the key economic growth pillars for local municipalities.

We also went a step further in our efforts to strengthen public sector capacity in the tourism sector and in our quest to facilitate improved service delivery.   We worked closely with the National Treasury and Provincial Departments to develop an improved budget structure for tourism to ensure more appropriate budget allocations across all levels of government.

In this financial year, we will continue to expand the number and range of knowledge and information tools available on the Tourism Knowledge Portal with specific focus on local government tourism capacity building.   We have piloted the Local Government Capacity Programme and will continue to roll the programme out over the next year, which we are confident, will have a significant and positive impact on the overall experience of both domestic and foreign tourists.

As tourism continues to grow, we need to ensure there is careful standardisation of the service in the industry.  The image, perceptions and impressions of our industry are solely dependent on how the tourist guide reflects the spaces and places of our country.

What we also need to bear in mind is that being a key component of the services sector, the thrust of achieving tourism growth on a sustainable basis can offer the South African economy numerous benefits.  But does South Africa have what it takes to push its tourism sector to the forefront? Attractions are certainly one of the attributes of the tourism industry for a nation with a potpourri of influences and heritage.  The tourism base needs to be expanded and diversified so as to create a distinct and unique image of the country's heritage and cultural resources.   It is therefore critical that we continue with our efforts of establishing an appealing South African Identity.

I am pleased to announce the following tourism infrastructure projects under planning in terms of the EPWP:
1.    Mahlati tourism project in Limpopo
2.    Tisane Cultural Village in Limpopo
3.    The Oaks Information Centre in Mpumalanga
4.    Mukumbani Waterfall project in Limpopo
5.    Upgrading of Manyane Lodge in North West
6.    Middleburg Information Centre in Mpumalanga
7.    Final completion of Platfontein Lodge in Northern Cape
8.    Six day hiking trail from Port St Johns to Coffee Bay in Eastern Cape
9.    Mthonsi Lodge in Eastern Cape
10.    Muzi Pan Canoeing project in KwaZulu-Natal
11.    Lilani Hotsprings upgrade in KwaZulu-Natal
12.    Empereni Hospitality Training Centre in Free State
13.    Kai Garib Caravan Park in Northern Cape

We have recognized tourism's capacity to transform rural economies.  For this financial year, we are implementing the rural tourism strategy as a panacea for increasing economic viability of marginalised areas, stimulating social regeneration and improving the living conditions of communities. One project that goes to the heart of rural nodes is the Maloti Drakensberg Route.  This project demonstrates the importance of regional integration as we partner with our neighbour - Lesotho.  Tourism knows no borders and this is part of the government’s Outcome of creating a better Africa in a better world.

Several initiatives have taken place - participation in Tanzania Conference on Sustainable Tourism, and we have succeeded to influence CAF on a tourism agenda for Africa.

We are also encouraged by the G20s recent recognition of Tourism as a vehicle for job creation, economic growth and development, and its commitment to work towards developing travel facilitation initiatives in support of job creation, quality work and poverty reduction.

Chairperson, allow me to remind this house of the 27th September - as the day annually set aside by the UNWTO to celebrate sustainable tourism across the world. South Africa as a member of the UNWTO observes the day as such and had developed a programme of events leading up to the actual celebrations day to engage on the theme as communicated by the UNWTO. 

Preparations for the 2013 Tourism Month activations have started once again with the focus being on promotion of Domestic Tourism to address the challenges of seasonality and geographic spread. In this month domestic travellers are encouraged to discover the hidden treasures of their country in those less visited provinces and most importantly do this in an environmentally responsible manner.

This year’s theme for the event is, “Water and Tourism, Protecting our common future”. The North West Province has accepted to host this year’s World Tourism Day celebrations taking place on the 27th September 2013. our venue for 2013

The UNWTO has predicted that tourism towards 2030 shows that there is still a great potential for further expansion in coming decades. For this to happen, the Department will continue to streamline initiatives aimed at reducing barriers to tourism growth and improving stakeholder relations within the tourism sector. 

Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in the global economy.  We have positioned this sector as a potent growth that can and is able to create multiplier effects.  The South African environment requires a tourism industry that is willinng to help develop strong linkages in the economy and help in the spin-off of other industries horizontally and vertically.

I would like to conclude by saying, the essence of "working together we can do more" must permeate all government workings to ensure that government, together with all sectors of society in their various forms, work together for a better South Africa!

I thank you.

Tokozile Xasa, MP
Deputy Minister of Tourism