Hon Speaker, hon Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, hon Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Members of Parliament and colleagues, tourism in South Africa has until now been regulated by the Tourism Act of 1993.
Although effective, this Act fell short of some enabling provisions, as it was passed just before the advent of the democratic dispensation in 1994. In addition, it will be remembered that the tourism industry fell under the erstwhile Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, and thus did not receive the adequate attention it deserved.
In 2009 a stand-alone national Department of Tourism was established, and since then there has been an impressive policy and strategic alignment in the sector. The latest statistics indicate that the size of the tourism industry in South Africa is 8,3 million.
This industry has a total contribution of R251,8 billion to the gross domestic product and currently employs 1,2 million people in both direct and indirect jobs. In 2012, South Africa recorded a 10,2% increase in international arrivals, which was more than twice the international growth of 4%.
Interestingly, the industry has made strides and gains in the sector in our 20 years of democracy. On 4 December 2012, the Minister of Tourism introduced to Parliament a landmark in tourism legislation, namely the draft Tourism Bill.
This draft Bill provided the foundation for the new legislative framework for management and development of tourism in South Africa. The Bill seeks to provide for the development and promotion of sustainable tourism for the benefit of the Republic, its recipients and its visitors; continued existence of the South African Tourism Board; the establishment of the tourism gambling grading council; to regulate the tourism guide profession; to repeal certain laws; and to provide for matters connected therewith.
The Bill was classified as a section 76 Bill. After receiving the Bill, the Portfolio Committee on Tourism conducted public hearings and processed the Bill accordingly.
The Bill was then tabled in the National Assembly on 23 April 2013, and referred to the NCOP for its concurrence. The NCOP Select Committee on Trade and International Relations had a series of engagements and deliberations on the Bill with stakeholders in the nine provinces.
On 14 November 2013, the NCOP voted in favour of the Bill, with amendments. Seven provinces voted in favour of the Bill, and only two provinces could not vote due to technical issues with their voting mandates, but agreed to the Bill in principle.
When the Bill was referred back, the portfolio committee noted that there were no material changes and differences effected by the NCOP. The portfolio committee then unanimously adopted the Tourism Bill on 28 January 2014. I thank you.
There was no debate.