Cape Town - Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has hosted a stakeholders’ engagement meeting with key players and industry leaders in the Western Cape tourism sector in Khayelitsha, where she provided an update on the implementation of the country’s Tourism Sector Recovery Plan.
This meeting took place just days after Sisulu was called to appear before the ANC’s Integrity Commission following her opinion piece criticising the country’s judiciary and Constitution, where she would have to explain her remarks and hear the commission’s analysis.
The tourism plan, approved and launched in April last year, was implemented under three pillars. In her report, Sisulu said the Protect and Rejuvenate supply pillar saw development and maintenance of state-owned and community-based tourism assets – such as the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) – which continuously monitored the implementation of Covid-19 protocols in the tourism sector and the hospitality industry.
TBCSA CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said although domestic travel was on a positive trajectory, international arrivals would go a long way in boosting the industry, and they would continue to work with the government to ensure a world-class visitor experience in the industry.
The Re-ignite Demand pillar saw various domestic, deal-driven marketing campaigns implemented through South African Tourism, and Phase 1 of the regional brand campaign had been implemented.
Sisulu said the Strengthening Enabling Capacity pillar of the plan, which aimed to increase the resilience of SMMEs during the pandemic and beyond, ensured that support for eight incubators continued and 18 Green Tourism Incentive fund applications were approved to promote sustainable tourism through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
The minister’s report showed there were severe challenges for the tourism sector that were regressing efforts towards effective marketing of the country as a top tourist destination with strict health and safety protocols.
These factors included inability to attain population immunity, stop and start cycles instigated by lockdown regulations and alert level adjustments, tourist safety and security concerns and Red Listing of the country by major source markets.
“The onset of the third wave of Covid-19 infections saw an extension of South Africa’s level 4 lockdown restrictions and the subsequent severe social unrest which began in the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces exacerbated the situation as significant damage to various retail establishments was experienced,” said Sisulu.