Southern Africa Tourism Service Association chief executive David Frost and his Tourism Business Council of SA counterpart Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa addressed the National Press Club yesterday. Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)
THE tourism industry was ready to provide more jobs, Tourism Business Index chief executive Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said yesterday.

In doing so, he said, the sector would be heeding a call by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who told the Jobs Summit a few weeks ago that there was a need for more jobs.

Tshivhengwa was addressing a media briefing convened by the National Press Club about the potential of the tourism sector to make a meaningful contribution to economic growth and job creation.

The organisation identified current blockages and advised what the prerequisites would be for the industry to realise its potential.

Tshivhengwa said the indirect contribution from tourism to the economy was R400billion, and Ramaphosa was correct to identify tourism as one of the sectors that could meaningfully contribute to economic growth and job creation.

For that to happen, the government had to get rid of regulations that prohibited tourism growth.

“It is worrying that the tourism industry only saw a 1.7% growth from January to July,” Tshivhengwa said.

It was also worrying that the government paid lip service to tourism.

He said regulations, such as the requirement for children to have unabridged birth certificates, vehicle permits for tourists and the way visa applications were conducted, had to go.

He said online applications were the way to go.

“Tourism is quite important to this economy and it is poised to grow; if the government is looking to grow the economy, it must look into tourism,” he said.

“The president spoke on the stimulus package and touched on tourism and the things that need to happen within the space to grow the numbers.

“It is an industry that is limitless and it can increase investments and the image becomes positive, we must look at tourism as a contribution to the economy.”

Chief executive of the Southern African Tourism Services Association David Frost challenged Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba to give the correct statistics and compare how many children were trafficked before and after the unabridged birth certificates. Frost said that in a survey conducted among tourists the complaints about the unabridged birth certificates requirement were alarming.

“This has come to everybody knowing somebody who has been turned away; this is an economic genocide,” Frost said.

Both said there was a need for a free-standing inter-ministerial committee on tourism, and the introduction of online visa applications.