Transformation of the tourism sector needs to add value and expand on the current tourism offering or it will not be sustainable, according to the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.

“We need a deliberate approach that will lead to meaningful sector transformation,” she said, highlighting that she would soon announce details of the Tourism Equity Fund (TEF) – announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation (Sona) address last month.

“We are still finalising the details and hope to make the announcement in May this year, hopefully before Indaba,” highlighted the Minister. 

Kubayi-Ngubane emphasised to Tourism Update that the recipients would be held accountable for tangible results and incur penalties if these results were not delivered on.

“The selection process will include non-negotiable, strict criteria and it will be fully transparent,” she said, noting that the Ministry would also take the lessons learnt from the Tourism Transformation Fund and build on these.

“When we launch the TEF, we will also ensure that by next year, implementation will have already started,” Kubayi-Ngubane pointed out.

Part of the process would include working with financial institutions, including banks, to create awareness of how the tourism industry operates.

“We will also offer support to recipients by helping them with market access, funding, and business skills,” said Kubayi-Ngubane.

CEO of South African Tourism, Sisa Ntshona, added that for transformation in the sector to succeed, it meant the new entrants would need to be innovative and bring new offerings to the tourism table.

“We don’t want to rehash existing offerings. We want South Africa Incorporated to move, for example, from 20 to 200 activities, attractions and offerings,” he said, noting that if the current tourism value chain expanded, it would automatically attract new tourism markets.

Ntshona further highlighted that these new entrants needed to be from all over the country and not just focused on the traditional Cape Town and safari products. “Our country is rich in diverse cultures and history and we need to showcase that.”