Do more to promote tourism: DA

2012-05-03 22:07
Video

SA tourism growth exceeds global trends

2012-04-13 09:37

South Africa's tourism growth figures for 2011 have surpassed global trends. Despite tough global economic conditions, tourists are still flocking to South Africa. The figures were released by Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk in Parliament.WATCH

Cape Town - More needs to be done to promote tourism in South Africa, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Thursday.

Speaking in the National Assembly during debate on the tourism budget vote, DA spokesperson Stuart Farrow said tourism was a major contributor to South Africa’s GDP.

It brought foreign currency into the country and this in turn created jobs.

Job creation and dealing with the high unemployment rate had become one of the country's biggest problems, and currently was the biggest threat to democracy.

With one in four of the active population out of work it was surprising that tourism had not been given the priority it deserved in President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address, or in the national development plan currently being presented by National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel.

Importance


"Maybe [Tourism] Minister [Marthinus van Schalkwyk] should spend time convincing his Cabinet of the importance of tourism and how, if given more funding, he could increase the inflow of foreign visitors, and encourage our citizens to spend more time at home enjoying our beautiful resorts," Farrow said.

"For if he does so, every 16 tourists could create a job - and if we can reach that magic projection of 11 million tourists, this could realise approximately 687 000 jobs - and if tourists could be enticed to stay a bit longer and spend more money, then we might be closer to the international average of 11 to 12 tourists per job."

Visitors to South Africa came here for a number of reasons and for too long South Africa had relied on arrivals at airports and border posts to determine statistics.

This unfortunately did not reveal why the visitor arrived in South Africa, Farrow said.

Marketing South Africa as a tourist destination required a focused and determined effort across all spheres of government for tourism’s aggressive marketing to pay off.

Safety

A simple tick-the-box type arrival card at each point of arrival could easily determine the reason for the visit, be it holiday, family, business, or other.

"Setting key objectives and priorities is all very well but if home affairs, for instance, can’t produce the visas timeously or affordably then all the department’s efforts are wasted," Farrow said.

"Equally, if the SA Police Service can’t keep our tourists safe, then they just won’t come here."

In the same vein if tourists were expected to travel by bus or car, roads should be safe, and free of potholes.

Tourists on the road should also not be unnecessarily harassed by overzealous traffic cops who did not understand the licensing conditions of tourist operators and hire car permits, Farrow said.
Read more on:    da  |  marthinus van schalkwyk  |  tourism

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