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Budget vote speech by the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Honourable Tokozile Xasa, in the National Council of Provinces, 17 Ma

Tourism – Advancing people power through local government

People, not products only, are our most important assets in this industry. Tourism is therefore people driven and we as a Department aim to create an environment for sustainable employment and economic growth. Economic development is not possible without people development. Through giving expression to the Local Government Manifesto, we aim to fulfil our core mandate.

Tourism contributes to 2.9 % of the GDP and at the end of 2014, it created 680 817 direct jobs which translates to 4.5% of total employment. This sector has also been identified as one of the core pillars for inclusive growth in South Africa.

Our link to the people is through local government which is the sphere of government closest to the delivery of our mandate. It is through this vehicle that we can advance people power through tourism.  Local government provides the core utilities and infrastructure on which the tourism industry is built such as roads, water, public transport and emergency services.  And further operates attractions such as museums, art galleries, convention centres, tours and other amenities.   Therefore local governments play a pivotal role in the economic and social development of their communities. 

Transformation of this sector is imperative in promoting inclusivity. Our department promotes sustainability and good governance, which includes initiatives to transform the sector, promote the practice of responsible tourism and the unlocking of tourism economic development at local government level. 

The majority of workers in the tourism sector are women yet many of these women are still relegated to menial or junior roles within our tourism establishments.  The establishment of the Women in Tourism Forum in 2014 is aimed at addressing the economic inequalities and challenges faced by women within the sector.  Provincial chapters are encouraged to be constituted.

We recently launched the Executive Development Programme (EDP) for Black women tourism managers. The programme is aimed at building strong business skills and leadership capabilities amongst black women in the tourism sector to lead key parts of tourism businesses and form a pool of future top leadership, entrepreneurs and industrialists in the sector.  The pilot for the programme will run for a period of 12 months starting with an intake of 20 Black women in July 2016.

The Local Government Capacity Building Programme aims to provide an integrated approach on capacity building for the public sector, private sector and community representatives (Traditional Leaders, Councillors, NGO) within the selected municipalities.

The programme creates a platform for stakeholder engagement and information sharing on key areas that assist in stimulating Tourism growth. The programme was implemented in seven (7) identified rural municipalities namely: Bushbuckridge, Kwa- Sani (Maloti Drakensberg Route), Vhembe, DR RS Momphati, Ngaka Modiri Molema, Nkomazi, and ZF Mgcawu. The number of participants on the 2015/16 financial year was 416 delegates in total.

Some of the highlights include the establishment of Local Tourism Organisations in 3 municipalities, 2 interim in North West and 1 permanent in Bushbuckridge. A Business Breakfast was hosted by the LTO and they are now planning to host Local Municipality business and tourism Awards. The project has now its footprint in 8 Local Government Induction Programme provinces already.

The programme now operates in partnership with the University of South Africa which follows up with a monitoring and Evaluation tool that allows us to identify the impact as well as future needs. Universities in other provinces are also involved in continuous empowerment of local municipalities as a follow up.  In 2016/17 the programme will be implemented in 8 Municipalities.

The Department of Tourism has established an Enterprise Development Project Management Unit (PMU) following the conclusion of the TEP contract on 31 March 2016. The Enterprise Development Programme will focus on the following areas, namely: Enterprise Development Online Information Portal, Business Advisory Services, Tourism Incubator Hubs Establishment and stakeholder engagement. There will also be continued support of 100 rural tourism enterprises with coaching and mentorship. In outer years, the number will increase and will not be limited to rural localities.

Our various Skills Development Programmes include but not limited to:

The Service Excellence programme prioritises key aspects of the National Tourism Service Excellence Strategy. This year we will continue our training and upskilling at the iconic Robben Island in the Western Cape and the Manyane Game Reserve in the North West. The department will further extend the programme to the Golden Gate Highlands National Park in the Free State.

Tourist Guides

Our Tourist guides play a key role as frontline professionals, information givers, interpreters, destination representatives and ambassadors in turning a tour into an experience. The Department has crafted new regulations aimed at cracking down on illegal tourist guides. Capacity building programmes aim to improve the levels of service rendered by existing tourist guides throughout South Africa.

The focus for the next 3 years will be on improving the service of tourist guides at all 8 World Heritage Sites – our biggest tourism draw-cards. An App is also being developed to enable tourists to find accredited tourist guides.


The National Youth Chefs Training Programme ensures world-class service standards, promote South African indigenous cuisine and, at the same time, produce chefs who are able to compete with the best in the world.

Tourism Ambassador / Buddies Programme

The tourism buddies programme is an experiential hospitality training programme targeting the unemployed youth to enable them to acquire skills and gain work experience to enhance employability in the hospitality and tourism sector. In the 2014/2015 financial year, 3800 learners were enrolled in the programme and 2214 learners have graduated. 

Sommeliers (Wine Servicing)

In the 2014/2015 financial year, 270 learners were enrolled in the programme for two provinces, Gauteng and Western Cape. The project ended in October 2015. There were 245 learners that graduated.

The Food Safety Assurers Programme

Food Safety is a scientific discipline aimed at handling, preparing, and storing food in ways that prevent food borne illnesses. As a pilot project in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), Mpumalanga and Limpopo, hundred (100) TVET hospitality and tourism unemployed graduates were trained and hosted as Food Safety Assurers and all 100 graduated.

National Tourism Careers Expo (NTCE)

We intend to continue our work on the National Tourism Careers Expo (NTCE) for introducing those learners who are interested in pursuing a career in tourism. The NTCE will be held in Bloemfontein, the Free State province, on 29 September 2016-01 October 2016. It is expected that the event will service plus minus 8000 participants, 86 students and unemployed graduates, 461 educators, 201 delegates from the tourism industry, 42 exhibitors and 21 media houses.

As an upcoming niche market as well as to unlock economic potential, we will implement the Oceans Economy initiative to enhance the tourism possibilities of our beaches and oceans. These include ocean safaris, boat-based activities and blue flag beaches. In the process, the coastal District and local municipalities will be engaged.

Tourism has become so much more than statistics. It is a unifying energy and catalyst for social cohesion. We need only look at the nation building benefits of hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

This sector has developed many niche markets which is indicative of social inclusion and cohesion.    Advancing people power is therefore a catalyst in Moving South Africa Forward.

I thank you