Portfolio Committee on Tourism
Caroline Wansbury
Transformation of the Tourism Sector
20 July 2020 1 p.m.
Dear Portfolio Committee on Tourism,

With regard to your call for comments on transformation in the tourism sector, it is acknowledged and accepted that transformation must happen at ownership and management level.

I refer however to the following paragraph:

"The Covid-19 pandemic has also emboldened the call by the committee for the country to grow domestic tourism as the international markets have proved to be volatile, fluid, and susceptible to global shocks such as diseases, regional conflicts and currency fluctuations. Domestic tourism, therefore, provides opportunities for transformation as we develop and market new and tailor-made domestic experiences and packages."

Yes, domestic tourism is essential and packages should be tailored towards South African residents to enjoy their own beautiful country as there are so many vast regions to see. So too should the smaller towns and villages obtain exposure as their uniqueness is often lost.

HOWEVER this is to be ADDED to the repertoire of the tourism committee and not focussed on exclusively.
Yes the pandemic has showed us all how volatile the global economy is but so too has it had a major negative effect on the tourism industry itself and the personal economic difficulty for South Africans to be able to afford to take holidays.

It is ESSENTIAL that the pandemic be used as a means to entice further global tourists and business people with an exposure of the vast qualities South Africa has to offer, both in the larger cities as well as the smaller villages.

In this regard, ECO- tourism is proving to be most effective globally. Consider the economy of our neighbour Botswana and the marked contribution eco- tourism has had.

Now more than ever we need to expose the beauty of our country to the whole world to maximise the ability to transform the tourism industry. Transformation requires finances and finances require tourists. The dollar, the yen and the pound are all strong currencies and buy a lot in SA and expose foreign tourists to the beauty of Africa, most especially if packages are tailored beyond the city and into the rural areas where the real heart of Africa lies.

It would be fool-hardy to assume the tourism sector of South Africa is sustainable by its domestic travel and any exclusion of global markets would further impact the sector in an extremely negative manner, choking transformation before it can even happen.

The tourism sector needs to explore absolutely every avenue open to it to rescue this part of our economy which has already suffered in the extreme.

Thank you.