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The report of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism oversight to Western Cape and Limpopo Province

08 March 2018

In his State of the Nation Address, the President of the Republic, his excellency Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa said, I quote "Tourism is another area which provides our country with incredible opportunities to quite literally shine. Tourism currently sustains 700 000 direct jobs and is performing better than most other growth sectors. There is no reason why it cannot double in size. We have the most beautiful country in the world and the most hospitable people."

It is therefore imperative that we must all look at tourism as the Sunrise Sector with a huge potential to create job opportunities and address the country's socio-economic challenges.

In the Western Cape, the committee was alarmed by their airlift strategy which has seen all spheres of government working together with private sector to have more flights landing in Cape Town.

The province has increased the capacity of International Convention Centre which makes it to lead in tourism business and international arrivals.

We also observed that the opportunities to involve the communities in cultural and heritage tourism is not well developed. There is a need to develop local routes, township tourism and art and culture products. This area is not yet given much attention.

The challenges that we observed was the devastative fires that almost destroyed the industry completely in Knysna. However, we would like to congratulate the people of Knysna especially the tourism stakeholders by their resilience. We also want to thank the Government and private sector for their prompt intervention.

Tourism is booming in major urban centres e.g. Cape Town whilst there is a challenge in hinterland areas of the province. More attention should be given to these hinterland and townships.

Transformation remains a challenge. The previously disadvantaged communities in places like Oudsthoorn and townships are still marginalized. During the interaction with stakeholders, it was clear that tourism industry is still owned and dominated by the previously advantaged. The committee urges the Provincial and the Local Authorities to create an abling environment for inclusive tourism.

We would like to condemn the violence meted against Mzoli's place which is the Iconic Shisa Nyama spot in Gugulethu.

In Limpopo, the committee was pleased with the performance of domestic tourism and it has been leading in this regard since 2014, driven by Visits from Friends and Relatives (VFR) together with religious tourism. We recommend that the South African Tourism assist the province to convert this into leisure tourism for it to generate income and create jobs.

We were also impressed by the coordination amongst the different spheres of government and stakeholders. The province has immense opportunities to further develop tourism due to its rich cultural diversity, the wildlife economy and religious tourism.

Another impressive observation was the way in which Nahakwe Lodge was implemented and managed by a private operator appointed by the Department to run and transfer skills. However, the challenge was with Khalanga Lodge which is poorly implemented. We recommend that the same strategy used for Nahakwe be implemented on this one.

However, we also noted serious challenges in the state of the roads especially R521 from Polokwane to Mapungubwe World Heritage Site, with terrible potholes which could spoil the tourist experience. We recommend that the Department of Roads, Transport and Public Works work closely with Tourism Authorities to improve the state of the roads.

The other devastating observation and experience is the airlift strategy in this Province. It is poor where in only one airline operate in the province which is also unreliable. On that particular day, on our way to OR Thambo International, the flight was late by four hours. We earnestly call upon the National Department of Transport to assist the Province.

The branding is not up to scratch. They need to improve on the branding and take advantage of its proximity to neighbouring countries such as Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The province serves as a gateway to North Africa into South Africa.

In conclusion, Honourable Chair, we urge the Department to ensure that all working for tourism infrastructure projects are effectively implemented and be operational before handed over to communities

We must also indicate that we are pleased that the National Tourism Sector Strategy was finally published by the Department in December 2017. This will assist the Provinces to align their own with that of National. We further urge the Department of Tourism and South African Tourism to take all provinces on board to improve their respective tourism growth.

I do Tourism, let's all do Tourism

Honorable Chairperson, I thank you.

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