Continuing to develop South Africa as a top tourist destination remains high on the agenda for the Department of Tourism.
This was emphasised by both the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, and Deputy Minister of Tourism, Fish Mahlalela, in their recent Budget Vote presentations.
“The Destination Development Programme will continue with the implementation of the destination planning and investment co-ordination area of work with a greater emphasis on socio-economically depressed regions in South Africa,” explained Kubayi-Ngubane.
“The Destination Enhancement Sub-Programme will similarly focus on implementing the Tourism Infrastructure and Maintenance Programme in state-owned facilities – including national parks.”
As part of this, the department is planning to implement a venture creation programme for the youth in food services businesses, including the utilisation of virtual platforms to activate virtual kitchens.
“This initiative will spawn new value chains of restaurants that do not offer sit-down services and can be run from not so traditional geographic locations serving only online clients,” said the Minister.
Mahlalela said this year would include concepts for the development of community-based tourism projects in Numbi Gate region in Mpumalanga, and Mtititi Game Farm and the Mapate Recreational Social Tourism Facility in Limpopo, amongst others.
“Through the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, we are also introducing an approach to prepare establishments for grading that will enable them to receive feedback on areas that require attention prior to full grading application,” said Mahlalela.
“This will increase the uptake for emerging small enterprises. We will equally pursue a well-developed system of handling and managing complaints from travellers and consumers, with an aim of ensuring speedy resolution of such complaints.”
Both the Minister and Deputy Minister reiterated that, for the tourism sector to emerge strongly from COVID-19, it would require a lot of collaboration.
“It might be a winter of despair, but our recovery tale also speaks of a summer of hope. It is in our hands to transform tourism and ensure that our emergence from COVID-19 becomes a turning point for the sector and our country,” said Mahlalela.