6 May 2011

South Africa joins Global Leaders for Tourism

South Africa has become the first African nation to sign the Golden Book, pledging support to promote and recognise tourism on the local and global front.

President Jacob Zuma and Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk back the signing of the Golden Book to support tourism President Zuma support the signing of the Golden Book

We recognise the vital role that tourism must play in growing the economy and creating decent jobs. In this respect, the tourism sector as a whole is determined to optimise its contribution - Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Tourism, South Africa

President Jacob Zuma pledged South Africa’s support for the promotion of travel and tourism on the global agenda by being the first African nation to sign the Golden Book.

The campaign, which is jointly organized by the UN World Tourism Organisation and the World Travel and Tourism Council, aims to mobilize recognition and support for the tourism sector from world leaders. The event took place alongside the World Economic Forum Africa, at Tuynhuys in Cape Town.

It does this by demonstrating the sector’s role in economic growth, job creation and development.

In South Africa, where tourism’s contribution to the country’s GDP has increased from just less than 5 percent in 1994, to an estimated 7.7% in 2010, tourism has been identified as one of the six job drivers of the country’s New Growth Path framework.

Tourism has proven to be a leading avenue for addressing unemployment, especially given its labour intensive nature. Apart from the travel and tourism jobs, other industries such as financial services, manufacturing, healthcare and numerous others are stimulated by tourism thereby providing more employment. The healthy growth in entries and successful businesses showcased and rewarded in the ETEYA Awards prove that tourism has succeeded in providing a fertile environment for entrepreneurs and small, medium and micro enterprises.

As part of the new National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS), South Africa aims to create 225,000 new tourism jobs by 2020 and increase tourism’s direct and indirect contribution to the economy to R499 billion in 2020.