Tourism : Budget Vote 35
By Connie Zikalala MP

 

National Assembly: Cape Town, 20th April 2011 

Honourable Chairperson:

 

The development of a vibrant tourism industry should be a top priority of government. 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 at least two of the main objectives of the New Growth Path, namely economic growth and job creation.

 

The IFP recognises the importance of the tourism industry to the South African economy. It is good to see that the Departments of Finance and Trade and Industry, as well as the Cabinet, appear to be increasingly more aware of the fiscal and other benefits of increased support for tourism.

 

The government must provide greater support for the tourism industry through the provision of adequate bulk infrastructure. This is of particular importance when considering the scope for heritage and rural tourism. We believe that the job creation potential of tourism would be of particular benefit to rural communities.

 

The government must ensure that tourists are provided with a safe and secure environment, free from crime, accidents, disease, dirt and dangerous climatic conditions, animals and sea creatures. Where this is not possible, adequate warning must be provided.

 

The government must also facilitate development, especially amongst previously disadvantaged communities and small, medium and micro enterprises through inter alia the:

 )    Establishment of clear parameters for development;

 )    Identification of suitable sites;

 )    Facilitation of development funding opportunities;

 )    Assistance with the promotion of development opportunities to investors; and

 )    Alignment of tourism development with national source-economic objectives.

 

Finally, there may be some benefit in delinking tourism from environmental affairs and either establishing a separate ministry, or linking tourism to a mainstream ministry such as Trade and Industry.

 

We believe that greater international marketing support is required in the South African tourism industry. The direct correlation between marketing expenditure and tourist arrivals (and thus growth, jobs, tax revenue) is empirically clear, but is not acted upon.

 

Tourism marketing, in terms of culture, history, the environment and events, is insufficiently representative of the country's diversity.  This is being addressed by statutory bodies, but less so by private sector.

 

Regional co-operation in the international marketing of tourism products is crucial, but currently inadequate. Support mechanisms must be improved upon.

 

Specifically targeted supply side measures are required, especially for the enhancement of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME's) in the industry.

 

Tax incentives, access to loan finance, deregulation and other incentives may play a significant role in stimulating new enterprises. 

At the very least, tourism enterprises should be given the same status as manufacturing enterprises.

 

Measures should be adopted to encourage more representative ownership of the tourism industry at the micro level. In particular, innovative partnerships with communities (both urban and rural) must be encouraged, and in certain instances, be required.

 

Since service levels in South Africa are generally uncompetitive, some form of intervention may be required in grading and training. The entire culture of service needs to be redirected to ensure greater international competitiveness. Training for the hospitality and tourism industries must be supported by government.

 

We support the budget vote.

 

I thank you.

 

Contact:
Mrs Connie Zikalala MP
083 282 8384