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National Tourism Sector Strategy - Department of Tourism

National Tourism Sector Strategy - Department of Tourism

messagedeputy MINISTER

messagedeputy MINISTER OFTOURISMThokozile Xasa, MPDeputy Minister of Tourism,South AfricaDuring 2010, the shape of the global economy and theSouth African political landscape altered dramatically.Itwas during this period that the newly established NationalDepartment of Tourism saw its first year of operation. In abold move to promote accelerated growth of the tourismsector, the National Department of Tourism (NDT) initiated aconsultative process to develop a focused National TourismSector Strategy, following the sector’s structural positioningwithin the public domain and in Cabinet. The strategy wasdeveloped, taking into account previous interventions,achievements and challenges and sets out the choices thathave been made based on the understanding of the sectorand national priorities.The document put before you is distinct from many others inthat it does grapple with issues of wealth, jobs, ownership,community beneficiation, transformation, rural tourismdevelopment, stimulating domestic tourism, accelerated jobcreation and creating a better society where all have an equalchance of success. The NTSS does not only assume thatan increase in tourist’s arrivals will ensure that the benefitsof tourism will eventually be spread across our communities.The document goes further to outline practical mechanismsto address the issue of beneficiation.In the immediate and long term, there is a need to deal with thereality that the sector remains largely untransformed in respectof a range of broad-based black economic empowermentfactors, including ownership and management.Our success and that of the sector will be determined byhow the strategy will assist in responding to the need fortransformation in the tourism sector. The tourism sectorhas much to gain from transforming itself and the benefitsof this transformation are also able to be spread across thecountry. The drive towards increasing economic participation,especially by the historically marginalized, as evident in thedocument is highly courageous. More encouraging is thefact that the document sets bold new benchmarks for thesector through the unprecedented focus on the facilitationof support for rural tourism development, small medium andmacro-enterprises (SMME’s) access to markets and funding.There is in particular, also a need to engage communitiesin the tourism sector. Community engagement is crucial tothe success of a tourism destination. If local communitiesunderstand the benefits of tourism, and believe they have arole to play in it, the destination will flourish. All governmentefforts and that of sectors should be directed at changingthe lives of communities, which is provided for in the strategydocument.iv

The work that has been undertaken, as evident in the NTSSdocument, puts into practice the notion of responsibletourism. In practice, we need to encourage tourism thatensures the accrual of real benefits to local communitiesand enabling them to enjoy a better quality of life throughincreased socio-economic benefits. In essence, whilst weare keen to achieve tourism growth, we will continue caringand ensure that the economic and social benefits of tourismspreads through to the grass-roots level – after all tourism isfor us all-the entire society.The future of tourism in South Africa depends on our collectiveability to ensure that its growth is managed in such a way thatit addresses national objectives. Job creation, rural tourismdevelopment and community beneficiation are an absolutenecessity if South Africa is to sustain current growth levelsand remain an international competitor. More emphasisshould also be placed on the impact of HIV and AIDS onthe workforce, which is substantial and places a cost onthe industry. This will be address in the sector’s approach todecent work imperative.The tourism sector is one of the largest sources of employmentn the country and has a very high usage rate of unskilledlabour. The NTSS provides direction in tackling the challengeof providing decent work in tourism much more seriously.Work is currently underway within the NDT, in partnershipwith other departments and agencies to look critically intothis area.Lastly, tourism should be seen as establishing contactbetween tourist and host, between different cultures, peopleand places. By breaking down the divisions between people,local communities need to be meaningfully involved to realizeits benefits. Tourism growth cannot be sustained alongsideabject poverty and other social challenges.While we are not immune to the effects of the global economiccrisis, I am happy that the strategy placed before us doespay attention to issues of vulnerable workers, women, youthand people with disabilities. Our hopes are high that indeedthis document will bolster our efforts in driving and growingtourism in a way that leads to socioeconomic development.I am most delighted with the attention and priority given tothe need for effective partnerships with stakeholders, aswell as other spheres and sector departments. Thisencapsulates government’s vision of, “Working togetherwe can do more”.Thokozile Xasa, MPDeputy Minister of Tourism, South Africav

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