The theme of the 2017 Local Government Tourism Conference is ‘Tourism planning is everybody's business’. The conference will take place next week, from April 3-4 at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg.

The conference will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to align their approaches towards tourism growth and for different spheres of government and stakeholders to share successes and challenges, while also identifying best practices. Deliberations on various policies, legislation and strategies at local government and their impact on tourism planning will also take place at the conference.

The conference programme will also include inputs on destination development at local government level and will feature interactive workshops.

Transformation at local government within the tourism industry will also be discussed as well as successes highlighted since the 2015 conference where transformation was a key focus.

The conference is expected to attract about 500 participants.

South Africa's National Department of Tourism indicated the relevance of the tourism conference. "If tourism is to succeed it should be prioritised in all three spheres of government," said Tokozile Xasa, Deputy Minister of Tourism. The conference will look at how provinces can integrate their planning and keep visitors in the province for a longer period, rather than just to visit iconic attractions. Xasa said the conference will also tackle the issue of declining domestic tourism.