Van Schalkwyk highlights new initiatives in budget vote speech
We hope to extend the work of the National Department of Tourism to improve the competitiveness of South Africa’s tourism industry in the global arena. - Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Tourism
Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, announced the establishment of the International Tourism Management Branch during the National Department of Tourism’s (NDT) budget vote speech to Parliament on 3 May 2012.
He said the International Tourism Management Branch would work with key departments such as the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (including SA’s diplomatic missions), the Department of Home Affairs, and the Department of Transport (DoT).
‘In this way, we hope to extend the work of the NDT to improve the competitiveness of South Africa’s tourism industry in the global arena,’ he said.
The Domestic Tourism Management Branch has also been restructured, now specifically focusing on providing strategic, political and policy direction for national tourism management.
Van Schalkwyk highlighted the importance of domestic tourism as a critical element in reaching the job creation targets set by government and in developing a sustainable base on which future tourism growth can flourish.
He told Parliament that the Tourism Empowerment Council of South Africa (also known as the Tourism BEE Charter Council), will be appointed to monitor the implementation of the sector transformation agenda and the Tourism BEE Charter and Scorecard. This is to achieve the set targets for economic transformation of the tourism sector.
The NDT is also working with the DoT and other partners to review the 2006 airlift strategy with a view to enhancing airlift capacity. ‘We will continue to work with the international community through multilateral and other formations - to work towards progressive, fair and consensus-based schemes for a more responsible tourism approach from an air transport perspective,’ he said.
He added that loss of airlift capacity in some of South Africa’s core markets, rising oil prices, and the unilateral approach taken by the European Union in implementation of the carbon emissions trading scheme were cause for concern.
The minister also told Parliament that the NDT would continue its collaboration with the Tourism Enterprise Partnership (TEP).
‘The tourism sector is a fertile environment for entrepreneurs and SMMEs. TEP exceeded its performance indicators over the past year. It supported 4 991 jobs created by SMMEs in 2011, which delivered an increased turnover of R454 million. This has raised TEP’s overall contribution to job creation over the past 10 years to more than 66 900 jobs, with a total turnover of R5.3 billion,' he concluded.