Tourism must grow to create jobs

2011-01-18 13:00

The domestic tourism market must grow to create more jobs in the sector, Tourism Business Council of SA chairperson Tommy Edmond said today.

“In my view, you have to teach people to go on holiday. That is the trend in all countries where there is a strong domestic tourist market,” he said at the launch of the first Tourism Business Index in Johannesburg.

“You have to teach them how to travel. It’s new; it takes them out of their comfort zones.”

Edmond said the ANC’s plan to create 225 000 jobs in the sector in the next 10 years was possible, if domestic tourism increased.

He said it was important that government urgently implemented its National Tourism Strategy, launched last year.

It sought to create up to 225 000 new and 400 000 indirect jobs in tourism.

It also sought to increase the sector’s direct contribution to the country’s gross domestic product from R64 billion in 2009 to R125 billion by 2015.

The plan aimed to boost the number of international visitors to the country.

According to the index, the largest constraint to the industry in the last quarter was poor demand from overseas visitors and the strong rand – both factors which could be mitigated by boosting domestic demand.

The index, the first of its kind for the sector, showed that employment in the accommodation sector largely remained the same in the last quarter of 2010, and in other tourism businesses.

It revealed that the industry anticipated that the poor demand from overseas visitors would have a negative effect on tourism businesses in the coming period.

According to the index, only 3% of the respondents in the accommodation sector felt security concerns affected their business negatively.

However, 17% of other tourism businesses felt security concerns hampered their business.

Twenty one percent of respondents in the accommodation sector felt there was insufficient domestic leisure demand, and 35% of respondents from other tourism businesses agreed.

The index was commissioned by the council, sponsored by FNB and conducted by Grant Thornton.

“This inaugural report is a milestone for the SA travel and tourism industry,” council chief executive Mmatsatsi Marobe said.

“The index will keep the business community at large well informed on the current and likely future performance of business operations in the sector.

“In the long term, it will also contribute to positioning the industry as an important component of the SA economy.”
It would be released on a quarterly basis in future.

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