Do more to promote tourism: DA

2012-05-03 22:07

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.


"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.


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.

  • Pixie86 - 2012-05-03 22:37

    talk to martinus van skalkwyk. He's responsible.

  • Smile - 2012-05-03 22:43

    VIVA DA!!! Your reasoning is sound! But it will probaly fall on deaf ears :(

  • graham.plessis - 2012-05-03 23:03 See the link on SA crime. Tourists tend not to be victims... Have any of you been to Rio, or Moscow? SA has crime problems that need to be addressed, but please read the article...

      Marion - 2012-05-04 07:47

      @graham - Agree. We occasionally hear about tourists being victims of crime. Considering how many come to South Africa it is a drop in the ocean. Anyone in SA, whether tourist or citizen, should simply be aware of their surroundings at all times and not wander around alone if they can help it.

      Lerato - 2012-05-04 08:56

      @Graham I know its too early in the morning but you deserve a BELLS. Thanks for such rational analysis and I wish people on this forum to be interested in facts than hear-say and sensations!

  • Marion - 2012-05-04 07:41

    Marthinus van Schalkwyk, do your job.

  • mholthuysen - 2012-05-04 07:59

    I am sorry DA - but firstly you should challenge the Minister on his statistics. South Africa does not have 8 Million plus tourists as not a single person who swims across the Limpopo River should be considered a tourist. Our statistics are around 1.2 Million - and that is the shocking fact - which is down and in comparison to any other "tourist" destination a laugh. Not enough is made to promote tourism in South Africa - and the Minister as has South African Tourism has failed miserably. Do I recall Mrs. Singh the head of marketing still basking in the "glory" of World Cup Soccer in London at World Travel Market just in November? Do I see bizarre statistics and "oh we are doing so well" all the time - which are based on the assumption that every soul that crosses our border is a tourist? That is already a failure - as one can only succeed if one sees reality.

      Lerato - 2012-05-04 08:46

      @Mike you don't have to lie to prove your point, 2 216 994 overseas tourists graced SA last year, go to the UK home office website and see the number of British tourists who came to SA. Yes we need to keep on growing our numbers I agree but for now SA is one of the best tourists attraction in the world!

      mholthuysen - 2012-05-04 10:25

      Aham - no reason to lie about facts dear Lerato. The UK market traditionally the biggest for SA has shrunk by 7.2%. Europe has gone down in total by 3.5%, The Americas have gone down by 27.2 %, Australasia down by 4.2% - great numbers to celebrate. Of the 8 Million "tourists" 6.1 Million are from the African mainland. Oh yes the 1.5 Million citizens of Lesotho that cross our border each year are certainly the resort tourists that sleep all at Sun City. And the 84.000 Chinese arriving here - how many are tourists; or sell their products at the nearest China Mall? And how many of the 1.5 Million Zimbabweans that crossed our border in 2011 are now staying in Hillbrow and selling the Star at a street corner near you. Tourists are people who come here for vacation - and not every soul that crosses our border is a tourist. Hence we do not have more than 1.2 Million tourists coming to SA; as in the statistic EVERY foreigner is included, and that is the same for the 420 483 UK Citizens. That is the fact and not fiction our Minister of Tourism wants us to believe.

      Lerato - 2012-05-04 10:40

      @Mike you tend to forget the effects of the global recession on all sectors, trade has also declined by much more percentage than the drop in Tourism. I say hats off to the tourism sector then a 7.2% drop (UK –quoting you) is nothing considering that UK is officially in recession! UK is currently characterised with a CPI of 3.5% which is very high given their standards. Unemployment is at 8.3% with 3.88 million household classfied as workless, GDP is -0.2%. Considering your statistic of a mere 7.2% drop in UK tourists to SA, its nothing considering that they are going through a rough patch

      mholthuysen - 2012-05-04 11:16

      Lerato - How do you explain increases in tourism in Thailand, Kenya, Rwanda, Australia - all long haul destinations, from the markets that are going down in SA? Simple those countries spend money, time and concentrated effort in marketing their destinations - and it is paying off. If we have such a boom also please explain why 42 hotels have shut their doors in the last 16 months, and why tour operators and guest houses are battling?

  • ckarstel - 2012-05-04 08:02

    i am from the UK loved here now for 2years and I will never doubt the absolute beauty of this country. However I have been burgled at home costing me a great deal of expense ans sentiment, my car window smashed and three yr olds jacket grabbed, my bag pick pocketed in a mall and recently mugged on the N2 highway in broad daylight by three men who stole my purse and mobile phone by threats! So Bitter sweet is my description for SA us tourists want absolute friendly treatment at Home Affairs when applying for visa or just enquiring. We want safe streets and to know if a criminal is caught he will be punished, we want to know if we call 10111 the call gets answered it took me 1hr! So before making millions from tourists make sure the people here are fed and clothed and that crime is addressed not ignored!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am not from SA so I cant bury my head in the sand its a stunning place but people should be more pro active and less re active. I tell the truth to my family and friends as I do not want them to spend hard earned worked for cash and then get robbed and holiday ruined! Crime is global but here in SA its phenominol, wake up everyone its worth fighting for :-)

  • Nick - 2012-05-04 08:47

    It is difficult to promote tourism here-on the one hand we promote it, on the other we see the criminal behaviour on CNN possibly 2-3 times a week in SA, rapes,killings,head of police being implicated in the worst type of crimes,killing of rhinos and so it goes on and on and on!!!-who in their right mind would decide to come here?? add the circus acts of our beloved govt officials and nobody takes this place seriously!! who wants to spend when they get badly treated???

  • erneyb - 2012-05-04 12:03

    I've been living abroad for 11-years, visiting S.A. every December. What I've noticed over this 11-years is that, buying say a newspaper, bread and milk I would have paid it with a R 10 note. Some years later I paid for the same items with a R 20 note and last December I had to pay with a R 50 note for the same items. The cost of accommodation, car rental, petrol, and eating out in restaurants is basically on par with Europe, whilst 11-years ago S.A. was dirt cheap if you "pay" in Euro's. S.A. (Cape Town and surrounding areas) is out-pricing itself for the average tourist and the chances for those who come to S.A. to stay longer is not realy an option because it has become so expensive. To attract more tourists to S.A. we will have to look at our cost structures. Tourists vote with their feet!

  • pages:
  • 1