The following letter was sent to Tourism Update by the Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister of Tourism, Manny De Freitas.
At the Tourism Portfolio Committee Meeting held virtually yesterday, the National Department of Tourism (NDT) presented its revised strategy and amended Annual Performance Plan.
The presentation (slide 22) confirmed that one of the risks for the NDT was inadequate impact evaluation of COVID-19 on the tourism sector, and inadequate understanding of the supply-side of tourism (see Annexure A). Slide 5 of the presentation (Annexure B) graphically presented the NDT’s Local First Recovery Plan.
Although the presentation prioritises domestic tourism, slide 22 confirms that such a decision is not based on research and statistically driven data pertaining to the impact of COVID-19 on tourism and understanding the supply-side of tourism.
It is highly irresponsible for any government to make important decisions not supported by data and statistics.
This explains the previous disappointing one-dimensional plan that does not take the realities on the ground into account and indicates that the re-start of tourism is to take place only in December 2020, by which time the tourism sector would be decimated.
The presentation confirmed that the department lacks data and statistics to meet the unrealistic goal to ensure that South Africa grows to 21 million tourists by 2030.
For this to be achieved tourism would need to grow 6% year on year!
Again, this target is simply wishful thinking with no concrete supporting information ensuring that this goal will realistically be met.
As things stand presently, South Africa has no real tourism recovery plan, as admitted by Tourism Minister Nkhensani Kubayi-Ngubane at the meeting.
The DA will continue to interact with the NDT to ensure that a proper and realistic tourism plan is put in place so that the closure of businesses and job losses is minimised.
Tourism Update reached out to the Ministry of Tourism. The Ministry's response can be found here.