CAPE TOWN – Last year, the President rallied us behind his "Thuma Mina (Send Me)" cry.
We listened and went out with a message of hope, inviting the world to visit us. We asked the travel trade, travel media and willing tourists to forget the negative brand image we had, the restrictive travel rules we created and then looked forward to welcoming them here.
Tourism performance had been on the decline and forward projections don’t appear to give us any more comfort that things will improve.
The growth we seek must be inclusive and tourism has proven to be a sector that is the catalyst for accessible, transformative and inclusive opportunities for many South Africans.
Inclusive economic growth requires continuity; what that entails for the hospitality sector includes following through with the clarity around barriers to entry, including the visa and unabridged birth certificate regulations.
We’ve noted that while this process could have been concluded years ago, there have been delays due to various changes of leadership in government departments, to the detriment of economic growth.
We’d like to see this commitment to easing access control become a reality, something that would translate to an immediate uptick in the tourism economy – when large enterprise hospitality organisations can sustain growth, the door opens for small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) to achieve a more sustainable, inclusive operating environment.”
Enver Duminy is the chief executive of Cape Town Tourism.