South African tourism minister pushes to improve sector

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Tokozile Xasa

South Africa’s Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa engaged industry actors in Durban on Wednesday to share her vision for the sector.

Xasa explained the “I Do Tourism”(IDT) vision. This is the country’s initiative to encourage South Africans to take part and be advocates for the country and for tourism.

The initiative also encourages the South Africans to develop a culture of visiting to promote the sector. The vision was launched during the Africa Travel Indaba which is underway in Durban.

The minister called for stakeholders in the tourism sector to work together to promote the industry. Xasa said, “We appreciate the work that the industry is doing, and it has contributed positively to the GDP and creating employment opportunities. We are looking at diversifying the sector and creating an environment that is conducive for the growth of the sector and inclusive for the creation of an economy enabling new entrants.”

The South African government is currently crafting the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS). Xasa asked the tourism players with inputs to turn the economy around. She also thanked the tourism sector for embracing the initiatives the government puts forward to turn around the sector and make it inclusive and sustainable.

Tito Mboweni, former Reserve Bank of South Africa Governor and now chairperson of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) welcomed the Minister’s willingness to engage the sector.

He said they would like to meet the Tourism Minister in future for further engagement on how to improve the tourism in the country.

“Tourism is a robust and exciting industry that drives economic activity. We need to take full advantage of this and ensure that issues pertaining to safety and security, tax levies and government regulations that infringe on how the industry does its work are addressed,” said Mboweni.

The CEO of Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), Mmatsatsi Ramawela also praised the Tourism Minister for the continuous engagement with role players in the sector. She said they are willing to work with government to make the industry big and viable.

“I reaffirm our commitment to support you as you fulfill your mandate as the Tourism Minister. We rally behind the ‘I do Tourism’ campaign, and look forward to further engagements with you as we grow tourism,” said Ramawela.

South African Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona said South African needs to be reminded about the importance and the impact of tourism in the country. He said Tourism affects other sector in the country positively and could be negative if it performs badly.

“As South Africans we all have something to gain from the growth and development of our tourism industry that is why our involvement in rallying behind tourism is vitally important. The continued success of tourism benefits us all,” said Ntshona.

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