London – The creation of shared value is not only important for South Africa’s tourism industry, but is part of the country’s inclusive development plan, according to Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom.
During a panel discussion at World Travel Market (WTM) London, he told the audience that expanding the pool of economic and social value in the tourism industry will enable the creation of a “bigger pie” of revenue and profits.
During the panel discussion Harold Goodwin, WTM’s advisor on responsible tourism, said the demand for experience travel is growing. It is not just about having a holiday anymore. For him it is about how the business of tourism is done and if it also involves local communities.
“Inclusive growth in tourism and responsible tourism are not just glib concepts. It is about shared value in action – not just about theory,” emphasised Hanekom.
“We see a huge and very important potential in tourism to make a difference. It is not just about creating jobs and growing the economy, but about the difference responsible tourism can make in the lives of the tourists and communities connected with each other.”
That is why it is important for Hanekom that the revenue made in the tourism industry is also shared by local communities. After all, they are in the end the most important protectors of the environment in which the tourism activities take place.
“So, let us rethink a bit what we do and what we promote in SA’s tourism industry to be in line with responsible tourism and shared value that can bring tangible benefits ... for local communities,” said Hanekom.
It is important for him that the prejudice towards homestays in local communities be addressed too, he said.
Jane Ashton, director of sustainable development at TUI Group, said during the panel discussion that the potential of the development of sustainable tourism is considerable. Not only is tourism one of the leading employment sectors in the world, but it provides opportunities to alleviate poverty and drive inclusive growth.
“Tourists recognise and value authentic local excursions and projects that support local crafters. One has to, however, tailor products that crafters develop to be more in line with tourism demands,” explained Ashton. The same goes for culinary offerings from local communities.
She said according to expert Professor Michael Porter, creating shared value enhances the competitiveness of a business while advancing the economic and social conditions of the communities in which it operates.* Sign up to Fin24's top news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO FIN24 NEWSLETTER