A new board has been announced for SA Tourism, as confirmed by Cabinet on Wednesday, May 23. The new Board’s term of appointment is from June 1, 2018 to May 31, 2021.

New members were welcomed and congratulated by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, who said: “The new Board represents a good mix of re-appointed members who will ensure sufficient continuity, and new members who will inject fresh insights. The Board has the wide range of knowledge and experience that is needed to sustain and enhance our current growth path, and to develop tourism inclusively into the future.”

Previous SA Tourism Board member, Colin Bell, says “it’s a good board”, and CEO of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa), David Frost, concurs: “The announcement of the new SA Tourism Board made for pleasing reading. I think the Minister has assembled a very strong team of eclectic and experienced skills from the board that he’s announced. From a Satsa point of view, we’re pleased to see some strong private-sector expertise, and this bodes well for the continued closer relationship between SAT and private sector.”

SA Tourism is the arm of the Department of Tourism responsible for marketing SA as a destination to international and domestic tourists, and is central to growing tourism, noted Hanekom. “Tourism is increasingly being recognised as an important driver of economic growth, because it has such a positive impact on so many other sectors. The Board’s oversight of South African Tourism is therefore critical for the future of tourism, and for the growth of our overall economy.”

The Board will be chaired by Monwabisi Fandeso, former chairperson of the Tourism Charter Council which developed the Amended Tourism B-BBEE Sector Code aimed at accelerating transformation. Deputy chair is Tanya Abrahamse, who has been reappointed to the Board in her new capacity. Other reappointed members include Thebeetsile Ikalafeng, Enver Duminy, Michelle Constant, and Abba Omar Jacoob.

New members on the Board are Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo, Pamela Yako, Kate Rivett-Carnac, Dawn Robertson, Ravi Nadasen, and Mohamed Baba.

Nomzamo Bhengu will represent the Department of Tourism.

“Overall, it is a good board, with the right mix of industry role players. The board comprises people with strong industry know-how and experience. Many of the people have, in their own right, occupied senior industry leadership positions within and/or in other ways connected to the travel and tourism sector. We also commend the Tourism Minister for the retention of some of the members from the outgoing board. We believe this is good for ensuring continuity in the work that has already been started by the current board, especially the work of implementing the Ministerial Review outcomes on SA Tourism,” says Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) CEO, Mmatšatši Ramawela.      

However, the TBCSA believes that government could have gone further to include more voices from outside of the sector, as well as voices representing the youth and the SMMEs. “Whilst we appreciate the tough balancing act involved in putting a board of this nature together, it is critical to ensure that representation in structures such as this expands beyond the variables of expertise and gender parity,” continues Ramawela. “Opening up the board to diverse voices can only enhance the effectiveness of the board and the organisation going forward.”

Hanekom says he is confident that the new Board will continue in the same vein as its predecessors, and take tourism to even greater heights, and Ramawela concludes: “As the TBCSA, we look forward to work with the new board to continue the innovation of SA Tourism as an organisation, and its work of marketing and converting tourists to visit our country. We hope the new board will pull all of us, as their stakeholders, closer to SA Tourism to grow, amongst others, the TOMSA levy collections, doubling our domestic and international tourist numbers while embracing the spirit of inclusive growth and development of the sector.”