Tourism budget vote speech delivered by Tokozile Xasa, Deputy Minister of Tourism, National Assembly, Cape Town
12 May 2010
The success of the tourism sector in our country will be measured by the extent to which it has changed the living conditions of our people, in particular the rural poor and the designated groups as well as the extent to which they also participate in the development and enjoyment of tourism.
This led to the renewed approach to how we develop tourism in South Africa which resulted in the department putting emphasis on development of rural tourism; intensifying the implementation of the second phase of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), rolling out the tourism component of the National Youth Development Programme, development of entrepreneur and other critical skills as well as accelerating the transformation of the sector.
Implementation of Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and creation of decent work
Decent work creation and poverty alleviation are two key priorities for our country and government during this electoral mandate period. We will make our contribution in these areas and believe that this will contribute to improvement of the people’s livelihoods and restoration of dignity. Through the implementation of the tourism sector component of the EPWP, a total of 46 399 fulltime job equivalent will be created, over the electoral mandate period. These jobs will be created through rollout of projects aimed at development of tourism, including but not limited to public tourism infrastructure development and improvement, product development etc. By design, the designated majority of beneficiaries will be women, youth and people with disabilities, who will also receive accredited training aimed at capacitating them for future opportunities.
At this point Honourable chairperson, I want to draw the attention of the house to the fact that in our recruitment of new staff, we ultimately want reach a target of five percent of all staff being people with disability. The official target across government is two percent.
One of the major priorities for the current term of government is development of our rural areas. The department sees this as an opportunity to diversify the country’s product base. It is our sincere belief that rural areas, in particular those in South Africa, offer a unique experience that cannot be found anywhere else in world. It is also our view that tourism development can serve as a catalyst for infrastructure development in rural areas. It is also a fact that the majority of poor South African live in these areas and most of them are women who often are bread winners in their respective households. The lives in these households must change for the better and whilst we are not under any elution that tourism a panacea in this regard, we believe that we have a contribution to make. In line with the available resources, the department is prioritising development of five rural based products during the financial year. This will take into account the culture and heritage of these areas. Part of the strategy is to package and promote existing rural based products across the country. We are also biased towards rural areas in terms of the rollout of the Tourism Enterprise Partnership. In this financial year, of the ten enterprises that will be supported to start-up through the TEP, eight will be rural based.
Skills development in the tourism sector
Education is a critical success factor for any nation to develop and for this reason it has been identified as a major priority of government for this mandate period. It is only through education that there will be suitability of our developmental efforts. As a service based sector, South Africa’s tourism sector’s success depends on availability of skilled and capacitated workforce with a true conviction to service excellence. The department has identified specific critical and scarce skills across the sector’s value chain and will implement specific interventions to close this gap. In this financial year, the department intends to facilitate the training of 150 chefs to alleviate a shortage in this area, particular with regards to black chefs. Special attention will also be paid to the overall implementation of the sector’s Human resources development strategy. Working together with the Department of Education, we will ensure that the curriculum at schools aligns to the needs of our sector. This will be supported by establishing a partnership with industry to create opportunities for experiential learning educators. We will continue to host the national tourism career fair to showcase the opportunities and various career paths available to the youth of our country. In last financial year, we attracted over 12000 participants, largely grade 12 learners.
The department is currently conducting the tourism service excellence training for 2010 and beyond in all nine provinces, commenced on 29 April 2010 and is expected to be completed on 2 June 2010. This training is aimed at improving customer service at all service “touch points” in the sector with a view to transform this country into a globally competitive service economy and the world’s destination of choice in line with our vision to be globally celebrated as a leader in tourism excellence. Some of these include staff at public and private sector “touch points” such as ports of entry, restaurants, hotels, transport, South African Police and Revenue Services. The aim is to train up to 250,000 frontline staff.
I must emphasis Honourable chairperson that service excellence is not just a performance area for us, but is part of our values and one that is critical for the sustainability of our sector. Over the medium-term period, the department in partnership with the Department of Higher Education and industry will establish a centre of excellence for tourism training. This will be the first of its kind in South Africa. We envisage that this will grow into a regional centre of excellence over the next ten years.
The department will be engaging industry in a study, to establish a profile of the actual jobs created by the tourism industry, as well as who are the people benefitting from such jobs and the impact of these interventions on unemployment in the country.
Small, macro and medium enterprises (SMME) comprise the majority of enterprises in the tourism sector. Many of these require direct support from government to grow and expand. It is for this reason that we will continue our cooperation with the Business Trust in the implementation of the tourism enterprise partnership. Over the mandate period, 50 enterprises will be supported to grow by at least five percent in both revenue and jobs.
The department will engage the cooperation of the business trust, in clarifying the contribution of business towards achieving these targets sector transformation. With the Tourism BEE Charter and codes of good practice fully effective, we are geared towards the accelerating the transformation of the sector. We aim to achieve 70 percent of the 2017 charter targets by 2015. We will continue to use government’s procurement lever to purse industry transformation objectives. We are happy to report that the majority of national departments have effectively supported this transformation drive.
Provincial and local government support
We will work together with provinces and municipalities to ensure that there is sufficient recognition of tourism in both the provincial growth and development strategies as well as in the Integrated Development Plans. We also intend to provide direct support in planning for specific projects at local level. In this regard, the department has already developed a toolkit to guide tourism planning at local government. Again I must emphasise the rural municipalities will take priority in line with resource availability.
Public education, awareness and outreach
It is important that every South African understand the value of tourism for the country. It is for this reason that the department will support the creation of a tourism culture amongst all South Africans. We will ensure that media platforms are diversified in an effort to reach previously marginalised communities. In this regard, information will be disseminated through amongst other platforms the local community media (traditional and otherwise) and Thusong centres. Our position is that the department must be accessible and also go to the people. We believe that there can’t be development of the people without the meaningful involvement. Honourable chairperson, Amakhosi as the custodians of our culture and heritage particularly in the rural villages are an indispensible stakeholder in the development of cultural heritage tourism in particular and rural tourism in general.
Regional integration and cooperation
We will continue to work with countries in Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA) to position Southern Africa as a regional destination. We will continue to support tourism recovery efforts in Zimbabwe. In this regard I am pleased to announce that, at the minister’s bilateral recently there were very encouraging signs of willingness to cooperate between Zimbabwe’s tourism industry and South Africa’s tourism industry.
The Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa will be setting up the ‘Africa village’ an exposition of Africa’s traditions, culture and heritage for the experience of the fans during the World Cup 2010 at the Melrose Arch in Johannesburg.
Social tourism development
The department is currently developing a concept for social tourism with the aim of unlocking the travel opportunities for low income South African. We recognise that there are many South Africans who could be travelling and adding to the sector growth if the right packages were availed. In this regard, the department aims to pilot one social tourism project in the current financial year.
I believe that this contribution will go a long way in improving the lives of our people. I also want to call upon all South Africans to effectively participate in the development of tourism. The department has an open day policy and we believe that South Africans have something to offer for our sector. Rise-up and seize the opportunity. Like the youth say, “u zo i thola ka njani u hleli e khoneni”.
Issued by: Department of Tourism
12 May 2010
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