By Tourism News Africa
Despite the fact that the tourism industry is a significant economic engine, the government has not given it the prominence it deserves. The rapid economic growth seen in neighbouring nations as a result of Private-Public Partnerships and integrated visa policies has highlighted the need for collaboration and improvements to drive the sector in South Africa. A cabinet reshuffle announced by the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, on Monday, March 6, may result in critical but fundamental changes in the tourism industry.
The nomination of Patricia de Lille as the new Minister of Tourism marked the end of former Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s term. The nomination of a new minister was welcomed by the sector, which wished the previous minister well as anticipation and renewed optimism flourished in the past week.
Oupa Pilane, the co-chair of SATSA, said, “On behalf of SATSA, the voice of the inbound sector, we extend our congratulations to Minister Patricia de Lille, our new Minister of Tourism. We look forward to working closely with her and the Department of Tourism to advance tourism in the country through meaningful structured engagement so that more South Africans directly experience the benefit that tourism can bring to the economy. We are also grateful that there is continuity within the Department of Tourism with Mr Amos Fish Mahlalela remaining as Deputy Minister. We thank him for his continued service in this role.”
Entry into the tourism sector
Rosemary Anderson, FEDHASA National Chairperson, commented, “FEDHASA warmly welcomes the appointment of Minister Patricia de Lille as our new Minister of Tourism. We look forward to working with her and unlocking the enormous potential that tourism holds for South Africa.”
Minister De Lille, a former minister of public works and infrastructure, wished her former team and department goodbye. She acknowledged in an open letter that she had been involved in many successful endeavours while working for the government, and now that she has her sights set on the tourism sector, it appears she will be accepting the new position with gusto. She will be working to ensure that tourism meets the objectives that will lead to empowerment and growth.
Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille, said, “I commit to work even harder to ensure that our country deals with inequality, unemployment and poverty.
She continued, “Tourism is a major sector for our country, and we have much more to offer the world. We can do a lot more to reach our full potential and create many more jobs for our people.”
Objectives that South African tourism strives to achieve
21 million arrivals by 2030 and objectives laid out according to the criteria stated by industry experts and tourist organisations like TBCSA:
- Improved airport infrastructure and technology
- Private-Public Partnerships that will enhance tourism marketing
- Investment incentives
- Increased tourism funds for tourism marketing
- Vehicle licensing backlogs
The visa policies that have been outlined are:
- Fully automated e-Visa systems
- Waive visas for source markets
- Introduction of critical skills visas and temporary work visas
Anderson said, “We trust that Minister de Lille’s appointment will be a catalyst for change, moving tourism forward by overcoming the current stumbling blocks and facilitating new opportunities for growth, such as the provision of digital nomad visas and the long-awaited eVisa system.”