The Portfolio Committee on Tourism and the Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Small Business Development, Tourism, Employment and Labour today received a briefing from the South African Tourism (SAT) on their five-year strategic and annual performance plans.
The report was well received as the committees were reassured by SAT that the target of 21 million tourist arrivals will be met by 2030. The committees welcomed the assurance to achieve that target after COVID-19 as that will be even more difficult given the fact that the entire world has been affected by the pandemic, and the competition for tourists among countries for tourists to their destinations will be tight.
The committees heard that the SAT would be looking for new markets that were not in their previous marketing plans. The SAT told the committees that one of the tools it will use is digital marketing with a shift of focus from classical to digital marketing of content.
The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism, Mr Supra Mahumapelo, advised the SAT and the Department of Tourism to develop a strong link with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation for the purposes of partnering with embassies and consulates around the world especially in Africa.
That, according to Mr Mahumapelo, needs to be developed and be incorporated into the strategic and annual performance plans of the SAT.
Furthermore, Mr Mahumpelo said: “Now is the time to strengthen, reposition and rejuvenate domestic tourism to succeed as the domestic tourism market reopens in December while we wait for the international markets to open in February 2021.”
It was agreed in the previous meeting of the committee that the department will release a report in September this year on the transformation of the sector. The committees are looking forward to the tabling of a report that, according to them, must take into account the development of a non-racial and non-sexist tourism sector for the realisation of the dream of a prosperous and harmonious South Africa.
The committees said, whilst the White Paper on Tourism is being reviewed, the SAT must also look at the grading policy of the establishments and how the unemployed, women, youth and people with disabilities living in villages, townships and small towns can be included in the policy in the context of the district development model.
The committees have noted the reassurance by Minister Mamaloko Kubayi-Ngubane that the programmes of the department and the SAT include the extensive work of reigniting and developing tourism heritage routes that are inclusive of museums in rural areas and small towns.
The SAT is also urged to endeavour to find mechanisms to increase the number of establishments that are members of Tourism Marketing Levy South Africa (TOMSA). The committees told the SAT that this is necessary to strengthen the voice of the collective that contribute to the TOMSA levy which contributes 10% towards the budget of the SAT.
The committees welcomed the announcement by Minister Kubayi-Ngubane that the establishments that are willing to operate in the travel business can apply directly through the Department’s website and the turnaround time to issue permits for business travel is 24 hours.