The Portfolio Committee on Tourism; and the Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Small Business Development, Tourism, Employment and Labour today, in a joint meeting, received a briefing from the Department of Tourism on its strategic and annual performance plans.
The committees welcome the reappointment of Mr Victor Tharage as the Director-General for the Department of Tourism for the next five years, which bodes well for the continuity of programmes and initiatives of the department.
Tourism is the most affected sector of all sectors during the lockdown as a result of Covid-19, and the committees appeal to the department that whilst the revised strategic and annual performance plans indicate that the target of 21 million jobs will still reached by 2030, we need to focus now on the factors affecting job losses due to businesses in the tourism sector being closed.
The committees note that in level 3 of the lockdown commencing on 1 June 2020, that certain areas of business tourism will be able to operate whilst domestic travel will reopen in December. The much-anticipated international tourism will commence in February 2021. In the meantime, the Department of Tourism must continue to work closely with the Department of Home Affairs to ensure that the world-class e-visa regimes continue to be developed in more countries and implemented.
The Minister informed the committees that the department will submit the Tourism Amendment Bill after the finalisation of the White Paper on Tourism, which will be at the end of this financial year.
“In the meantime, whilst the department is drafting the Tourism Recovery Plan, we are confident that the liaison that is happening with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs will ensure that local economic development finds its rightful place in villages, townships and small towns, which is where poverty, inequality and unemployment are more prevalent,” said the Chair of the Portfolio Committee, Mr Supra Mahumapelo.
The committees will await a report from the Department of Tourism on the capital projects of the fifth administration, some of which have been lying abandoned. A feasibility study on the financial viability of these projects will be undertaken and submitted to the committees.