Chairperson, hon Minister of Tourism, Minister of Police, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Deputy Minister of Police, hon members, South Africa's New Growth Path, approved in October last year, also identified tourism as one of the six core pillars of growth.
The Ipap 2 indicates that tourism is one of the areas expected to contribute to the development of, among other things, rural areas and culture, and highlights the huge potential of increased local consumption due to domestic tourism which educates and brings about socialisation as well as the preservation of cultural heritage.
That document clearly indicates that tourism brings about foreign investment, consumer spending and foreign earnings. It is fairly easy for entrepreneurs to enter tourism. It is a sector founded on sustainable resources and provides for a large, mass labour force.
It is also important to recognise that tourism plays a role in strategically creating and strengthening international relations in order to build beneficial socioeconomic and political networks. Therefore, investment in tourism has to be leveraged to contribute to national growth and sustainable development.
Tourism, even though not yet classified as an economic sector in the national system of accounts, has become a great contributor to national accounts and thus requires investment in line with tourism performance indicators, the gross domestic product and revenue targets.
According to the Ipap 2, niche tourism development and tourism export development and promotion are, among other things, the key investment areas to ensure tourism performance and economic growth. The tourism industry cannot exist without partnerships and collaboration. Visitors are looking for a great experience that can be achieved only if the various tourism partners work together. Sound partnerships form the basis of any successful tourism industry. These partnerships include the private sector and local communities.
In most successful tourism destinations around the world the domestic market forms the backbone of the tourism industry. This should become a strategic choice that is informed by the extent of this market's potential and the budgeted return on investment. In South Africa, many South Africans have not had an opportunity to undertake holiday travel within their own country because of the apartheid history.
Although general tourism awareness will assist in developing the domestic tourism market in general, domestic tourism development requires attention to broader marketing, product development, distribution, information and possible social tourism programmes. While tourism has been recognised as an important sector, this recognition does not filter down to planning, budgets and actions across all government departments and levels. As the industry is complex and influenced by multiple sectors, many of the areas that are to be addressed to improve its performance are not directly within the national Department of Tourism's control.
It is therefore crucial that the profile of the industry is raised at national government level and here within Parliament to ensure that the relevant national government departments understand its importance and impact, and co-operate and assist where necessary, with relevant budget allocations that take the development requirements of the industry into account.
General co-ordination needs to be improved between all departments that have an impact on tourism, to ensure that they consider the interests of tourism when developing and implementing their own strategies and actions.
This brings me to a matter of great concern. When the DA took over the management of Cape Town and the Western Cape province, the MEC for finance, economic development and tourism vowed from the word go that he would address the strained relationship between Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited, as far as each body's marketing of Cape Town, in particular, but also of the Western Cape province, is concerned. I would not be remiss in saying that the relationship appears to have become more, rather than less, strained.
One does not need to go back far in history to observe a picture of continuous turmoil in the tourism industry.