To usher in Tourism Month and the upcoming Summer Campaign, Tourism Minister, Patricia de Lille has welcomed Cabinet’s concurrence of ‘The Green Paper on the Development and Promotion of Tourism in South Africa’ to be published for public comment.
“The Green Paper comes at a particularly exciting time for tourism globally and in South Africa. Tourism is a growth sector and generator of jobs, and tourist destinations need to position themselves to take advantage of this sector’s recovery growth trajectory,” De Lille said.
The tourism sector has continued to grow for the past decade, earning the reputation of being one of the most significant and fastest-growing sectors before COVID-19.
In 2019, it contributed 3.7% to the local GDP and created 780 096 direct South African jobs. Despite numerous advances, the tourism sector lags relative to its potential.
To respond to this challenge and to accelerate inclusive tourism growth, the Department of Tourism embarked on a process of reviewing the 1996 Tourism White Paper.
The policy review process has yielded the Green Paper on the Development and Promotion of Tourism in South Africa. The Green Paper seeks to sustainably grow a more inclusive tourism sector that creates mass employment, reacts to innovations and adapts to future crises.
“The Green Paper seeks to facilitate growth and transformation of the tourism sector by creating an enabling regulatory environment for the present and future, especially with regards to technological developments.
“The Green Paper further seeks to increase the tourism sector’s contribution to the broader economy and drive employment and entrepreneurship, whilst enabling the sector to adapt to future crises.
“I invite the public to study The Green Paper on the Development and Promotion of Tourism in South Africa and provide us with substantive comments,” the Minister said.
The vision of the Green Paper is to sustainably and competitively grow the South African economy through an inclusive, inspiring, visitor-oriented tourism sector that consistently builds partnerships to strengthen the impact of the sector nationally, regionally and globally.
Its aim is also to address barriers to tourism growth and to respond to the social cohesion imperatives of the country.
Key elements include but are not limited to:
• Implementation of a research-based tourism safety response programme in partnership with relevant agencies.
• Develop and regularly review tourism crisis management framework to enable a response to crises.
• Implementation of Tourism BBBEE Codes & strengthening mechanism for access to finance.
• Facilitation of ease of access to the destination, especially as it relates to immigration and transport.
• Recommitting the sector to the responsible tourism agenda.
• Regulation of short-term rental accommodation to ensure policy certainty.
To enable the sector to reach its potential, The Green Paper focuses on four policy thematic areas with a specific focus under each.
The four thematic areas are:
– Evolving former policy areas: Tourism governance, safety and security management and transformation.
– Emerging policy issues: Embracing technology, crisis management, accessing the destination, quality visitor services, skills supply and employment and tourist services.
– Policy issues for targeted growth: Prioritising rural and peri-urban tourism, enhancing domestic tourism for destination resilience and destination marketing and branding.
– Sustainable growth model: Responsible tourism, knowledge management research and insights, tourism diplomacy, and tourism trade and investment.
The significance of tourism within the South African economy is widely recognised. The New Growth Path, the National Development Plan (NDP) and several State of the Nation Addresses identify the tourism sector among the core contributors to the country’s medium to long-term national economic goals.
The 1996 Tourism White Paper predates many of these government frameworks, particularly the NDP, thus necessitating alignment.
The country’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) identifies tourism recovery as one of the priority interventions to drive the reconstruction and recovery of the economy.
The Tourism Sector’s Recovery Plan also identifies the need to review the policy framework to support the sector’s growth.