Budget Vote Debate- Extended Public Committee
Vote 33: TOURISM
Inkosi RN Cebekhulu, MP
Honourable Minister, tourism must be encouraged and capacitated to contribute more than it is currently doing through providing labour intensive, value-adding, economic activity. In this sector we should particularly be encouraging the greater participation of cruise ship operators to be more involved in Tourism Indaba’s and launches as this will provide greater labour outreach for much needed jobs.
Cruise ships offer South Africans Ports and Tourism destinations an opportunity to not only earn a significant amount of foreign revenue but also provide significant employment potential.
The New Growth Path recognised tourism as one of the six economic pillars of South Africa. That being said, this department is still being underfunded. It will require a significantly greater budget allocation if it is to achieve its goals.
Honourable Chairperson, tourism has a long been regarded as a field for a chosen few. The majority of our citizens were not exposed to it, be it studying to be a tour guide or tour operators. This must change. It is a vibrant contributor to economic growth and must be presented as providing many job opportunities to our school leavers. It is a credible career path.
The potential for rural communities to derive economic benefit by providing touristic and performance based arts has opened the door for South Africans of all race groupings to benefit. These opportunities must be capitalised upon.
South Africa is the jewel of the continent. Tourism is the gateway through which beneficiation of this beauty flows to our people. We must encourage citizens to play a more active role, especially those living adjacent to parks (Game Parks/Reserves) to visit these parks. This will encourage them to learn and understand the importance of tourism and its contribution not only to the economy but also to the environment as it is often through revenues raised from tourism that environmental projects can be undertaken.
The majority of foreign tourists who visit our country choose to spend their time in Game Reserves seeing our Big Five animals, on our beautiful beaches or just through spending some quiet time in the tranquillity of our many and varied wilderness areas. These are sustainable and on-going sources of income and employment and as such must receive our greatest care and support. They are a lifeblood to the country.
With recent media reports stating that the ICC in Durban is showing a decline in number of countries attending our tourism indaba’s, must be a worrying factor to NDT and South African Tourism.
South Africa has it all, it’s ours to lose. We must provide our international and domestic tourism market with all that is required to continue to bolster and grow this lucrative bounty for the country and our future generations.
The Inkatha Freedom Party support the budget vote debate.
I thank you.
Honourable Inkosi RN Cebekhulu, MP
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IFP Media, Parliament