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Budget Vote Speech to the National Council of Provinces by Deputy Minister of Tourism Hon. Elizabeth Thabethe, MP 12 June

Honourable Chairperson

Minister of Tourism, Mr Derek Hanekom

Chairpersons of the Select Committees, Hon. Makue and Hon. Rayi

Members of Parliament

Director General, CEO of South African Tourism and Senior Managers of the Department

Ladies and Gentlemen

I rise today to address this House in this centenary year of our former President, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Mama Albertina Sisulu and "Oom Bey" Naude, whose selfless efforts in struggle contributed to the democracy we enjoy today.  May their revolutionary spirit live on, particularly as we work tirelessly to transform our tourism sector for the benefit of all South Africans.

Building Sustainable Tourism Enterprises

Honourable Members

The South African destination experience relies on the diverse offerings of many enterprises, including SMMEs who comprise the largest number of businesses in the sector.

In the 2017/18 financial year, our Department supported 400 tourism SMMEs through a combination of business support instruments and exposure to market access platforms such as the Africa Travel Indaba. The programme is offered throughout the 9 provinces.

To date, the Department has established 4 incubators in Phalaborwa (LP), Mier (NC), Pilanesberg (NW) and Manyeleti (MP). Accommodation businesses in our Pilanesberg incubator have realised approximately a 15% increase in occupancy rates.  Our incubatee, Thalera Tours, has seen 30% revenue growth in the past two years and is providing employment to six individuals.  Of course, all of our business support programmes for SMMEs succeed because of our strategic partnerships with industry, such as Nedbank and ABSA.

Tourism Incentive Programme

Honourable Members 

Since its inception in 2015, our Market Access Support Programme has benefited 584 small tourism enterprises countrywide who participate in international and domestic trade platforms under the Hidden Gems banner.

Through our Tourism Grading Support Programme, in January 2017, 1 529 accommodation and meeting establishments nationwide benefitted from 80% to 90% discounts on their grading assessment fees. This year, we will double the number of graded establishments.

Community Enterprises

Over the MTEF, we will also support a minimum of fifteen (15) community enterprises.  This year, we will support those located in Soweto, Gauteng; Khula and Bergvile, KwaZulu-Natal; Phuthaditjhaba, Free State and Rampampa Village in North West. 

Tourism Sector Skills Development

Honourable Members

We are also implementing human resource developmental initiatives for the tourism sector.  Our National Youth Chefs Training Programme is now in its fifth phase and has benefited a total of 1867 young people.

In the past year alone, we have seen 76 young chefs being placed in international hotels in the United States of America and 20 in the Seychelles.

Youth Hospitality Programme

From our Youth Hospitality Programme, 6 813 unemployed youth have received accredited qualifications in Food and Beverage Services, Accommodation Services and a National Certificate in Fast Food. We will train an additional 2 375 learners this financial year.

Wine Service Training Programme

The 300 learners from the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape and Gauteng enrolled this year in the Wine Service Training Programme, will provide ready skills for the wine industry upon graduation.  We invite industry to join national efforts, such as the President's Youth Employment Service initiative, by absorbing these graduates.

Food Safety Assurers

Industry should also support our Food Safety Assurers Programme which trains unemployed graduates in food handling. In the last financial year, 489 learners completed this programme and in 2018/2019, we will enroll another 1 500 learners.

Honourable Chairperson, I would like to highlight some of the positive outcomes from our youth training programmes, specifically the Chefs and the Food Safety training programmes. The Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in Mdantsane, Eastern Cape is a case in point. The hospital has absorbed 30 graduates comprising of 20 Chefs and 10 Food Safety Officers.

Feedback received from Ms Linda Vara of CKM hospital is as follows and I quote:

  1. "The placement of the NDT trained graduates has improved and professionalised our kitchen." 
  2. "The youngsters have the right skills, qualifications and attitude. They are very strict and do not compromise on quality".
  3. "The food quality has improved and patients are served according to customised diet sheets in line with the doctors' orders".
  4. "Food waste has been eliminated and this has resulted in huge savings. The hospital has had no budget challenges and has been able to assist other hospitals with food stock loans".
  5. "The kitchen has become our pride and joy".

Overall, the department has facilitated the placement of 600 youth who have been trained in different disciplines in the hospitality industry internationally.  

Tourism Blue Flag Beaches

We have enrolled 300 unemployed youth as beach stewards in our 50 Blue Flag beaches across KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Eastern Cape.  We will enroll even more as we add another 25 beaches to this programme this year.

National Tourism Careers Expo

At last year's National Tourism Careers Expo (NTCE) in Bloemfontein, approximately 7300 learners learned about careers in tourism.  For the next 3 years, we will co-host the Expo with North West province and expose even more youth to career opportunities. 

Empowering and Developing Women in the Tourism Industry

The Executive Development Programme

A study we conducted in 2013/14, indicated a dire lack of black women representation at executive level, in boards or as company executives. Our Executive Development Programme is training women in management skills through a partnership with the UNISA School of Business Leadership.  In 2016/17, twenty (20) women were enrolled in the programme.  An additional 40 women are receiving training with UNISA and will graduate later this year. 

Women in Tourism

We are also engaging women on issues of economic empowerment, access to funding, the establishment of support structures and incentives for women, as well as creating a platform to celebrate women achievers. Last year in November, through our Women in Tourism programme, we hosted over 250 attendees, exhibitors and entrepreneurs at the annual Women in Tourism Conference in Port Elizabeth as well as at the recent Durban Indaba.  

Honourable Members

Promoting and Growing Domestic Tourism

We have completed the review of the domestic tourism strategy which provided some critical insights regarding growing a resilient domestic tourism market.  We are committed to building a culture of tourism in South Africa.

Last year, we undertook social tourism youth activations in celebration of OR Tambo's centenary by hosting 195 learners from Bizana, in the Eastern Cape and 190 from Ekurhuleni in Gauteng.  For this year's Mandela Centenary, together with our partners - South African Tourism and the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, we will host provincial youth leadership conferences and expose youth to various Madiba-related attractions. 

Honourable Members

Government and industry must make a concerted effort to continually grow domestic tourism by growing skills, creating jobs and providing quality offerings, particularly among youth and women in townships and rural areas. 

In conclusion, I thank all our partners in government and industry for their commitment to inclusive tourism growth.

Thanks also to our Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, for his leadership and to employees in our Department, led by our Director General, Victor Tharage, for their dedication.

Let's all Do Tourism!

 I Thank You.