National Assembly: 4th May 2010
Tourism in South Africa has demonstrated
significant growth since 1994 and is fast becoming a key component
of the country's economy. The tourism industry has perhaps a greater
potential than any other single industry, both directly and
indirectly via its multiplier effects, to support economic growth
and job creation.
With the soccer World Cup around the corner the
Department of Tourism has the daunting task of ensuring that the
tourism industry plays its role in hosting a successful event.
Every step must be taken to ensure that the
department is on course to meet its many targets in preparation for
the influx of visitors expected for the 2010 World Cup. We must make
the most of this wonderful opportunity and ensure that the rest of
the world realises what a beautiful and unique country South Africa
is. This is a great opportunity for the tourism sector to grow in
leaps and bounds for many years to come to turn our country into a
world tourist hub.
We, in the IFP, believe that our tourism sector
can grow at a higher rate and in future contribute even more to our
economic growth and development and have a positive impact on a much
broader spectrum of people than is currently the case, if certain
fundamentals are dealt with more vigorously.
And here, I refer to the Hardy Annual of crime.
Whilst we may like to believe that crime does not deter more
tourists from visiting our country, the reality is that it does. We must not bury our heads in the sand like
ostriches and believe that nothing is going wrong around us. We must
act decisively to provide comfort to tourists.
While we do congratulate the relevant people and
organisations for the good work that has been done in reaching these
targets and milestones, we are still concerned that the benefits and
opportunities that stem from this growth are not more broad based
and shared by more South Africans, especially those from rural
The concerns and anxieties of the previously
neglected groups need to be understood and adequately addressed in
building a successful tourism industry in South Africa. There is a
perception that tourism refers only to people travelling around and
staying in hotels. The wider opportunities offered by tourism are
There is no doubt tourism could contribute to
community upliftment and help local communities to escape from
poverty. The Department should therefore initiate or provide support
to income generating projects such as those based on handcrafted
In South Africa there are few working models using
community projects based on handcrafts such the Imbali Handcraft in
KwaZulu-Natal which offers a form of income for otherwise unemployed
Zulu women. However these kinds of projects need to be replicated to
all parts of the country especially to the remote and marginalized communities.
This department could, and should, play a bigger
role in the development of the rural areas of our country through
investment in, and the promotion of, tourism and tourist related
activities in these areas. I believe that the unique and truly South
African experiences that these areas have to offer will have great
appeal to international tourists and be a boost to the development
of these communities.
The Department needs to increase job and
entrepreneurial opportunities especially to empower disadvantage
communities and groups. We should intensify tourism development by
identifying niche tourism products and through further developing
The National Business Initiative and South African
Tourism should play a key role in financing these kinds of projects
as well as improving tourism infrastructure.
As I mentioned earlier, this department has
achieved much but there is still much more that needs to be done,
and many obstacles and constraints to overcome, before it fulfils
its mandate to lead tourism in the interest of sustainable
development, and to contribute to the improvement of the quality of
life of all South Africans.
The IFP supports this budget vote.
I thank you.
Contact: Mrs Connie Zikalala MP, 083 282 8384.