The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Tourism has called for the public to make submissions on ways to expedite transformation in the tourism sector in South Africa.
The Committee pointed out that the pace of transformation in the tourism sector was too slow and it had subsequently adopted an oversight approach that sought to promote tourism development in the country’s villages, townships and ‘dorpies’ (small towns).
“To achieve this, the Committee has adopted a working philosophy based on the 3Rs, namely, Rebranding, Repositioning and Renewal of the tourism sector in the South African economy,” said a Committee spokesperson.
Director General of the Department of Tourism, Victor Tharage, told Tourism Update that the department welcomed the process by parliament and agreed that the pace of transformation in the sector was indeed too slow.
“The State of Transformation Report released in 2018 to assess the state of transformation in SA’s tourism sector, found that nearly 80% of qualifying small and large enterprises failed to meet the targets for ownership, management control, employment equity, enterprise and skills development,” said Tharage.
“It picked up a number of barriers to transformation, such as a lack of innovative infrastructure support for business operations and lack of partnership and collaboration between enterprises and key stakeholders to promote procurement opportunities for SMMEs and entrepreneurs.”
Tharage explained that for the sector to transform more quickly, collaborative efforts from both private and public interventions were needed. He said successful transformation of the sector in the next few years required intensive monitoring efforts, awareness programmes and the promotion of black empowerment in the existing private sector.
He added that for “focused monitoring”, stakeholders in the industry needed to conduct regular studies to monitor the state of transformation in the tourism sector and introduce a B-BBEE reporting tool and development of concession guidelines.
The department has developed a Tourism B-BBEE portal, an online system that creates easier access for black suppliers into the market, to address the low procurement spend by large enterprises from black-owned suppliers.
“We should also commend the large enterprises for investing in skills development for black employees. This investment will see more blacks in the sector moving on to senior echelons in the sector,” said Tharage.
He added that, although transformation was slow, there had been achievements that could be attributed to strong partnerships between the public and private sectors. “The department signed an agreement with the University of South Africa to enrol women managers to a one-year, NQF level 8 Executive Development Programme.”
Tharage pointed out that, to date, 60 women had been enrolled in the programme since its inception in 2016, with some in senior positions in their organisations. “This financial year will see 20 women enrol for the programme. It is gratifying to realise all these milestones aimed at improving the lives of our people,” he said.