With just four days to go for industry’s input (by August 15) on the Department of Tourism’s Tourism Recovery Plan, an industry consultant has written to Tourism Update – on condition of anonymity – to give her no-holds-barred opinion.
“This is not a plan, nor a strategy nor a work plan or any other term you can think of. Call it what you want. However, it is unacceptable and too little too late,” she writes.
Her full letter follows:
I am writing to you about the ridiculous document entitled ‘Tourism Sector Recovery Plan’, currently being distributed to the industry for comment. I am astounded that the Department of Tourism would see it fit to put out a document that has absolutely no relevant substance and almost has the feel of the e-Toll saga – “oops, we forgot to do stakeholder consultation, we’ll do it quickly now”.
As there is so little meaningful content, I will begin with the overall document. The layout is virtually print-ready, which makes me think that the authors are not expecting any changes from the laughable industry input. It is written in true ‘consultant-speak’ – probably much of this is from a document entitled ‘B4SA COVID-19 Response: Preparing the tourism sector for rebound after COVID-19 in South Africa’, written by McKinsey & Co. I would be curious to know who contracted McKinsey and how much it cost.
Either way, there is so much ‘page filling’, that the ‘recovery plan’ actually only begins on page 45.
The plan makes use of three strategic themes, with ten activities in total.
On theme one, two of the activities have already been completed, so I am not sure of the point of asking for input on a plan where work has already been done. Either way, both activities should be reviewed as they could have been done in a far more efficient and effective manner. Dumping R50 000 (€2436) on a few people was a joke, and spending hours on a protocol that had already been developed by UNWTO/WHO and WTTC seems a total waste of time. Or maybe, as usual, the ‘big boys’ in Government and Industry know better.
With theme two, I thought that this was the job of the Department in the first place. If not, what is the point of having this bloated department – sure COVID-19 changes some of the focus, but so did FIFA World Cup, 9/11 etc.
I thought that investment into the industry was done by Brand South Africa internationally and various programmes were available locally such as the National Empowerment Fund.
So, to summarise – we are getting this ‘plan’ on which to make input based on two activities that have already been done, two planned to be planned, and six activities that the Department is supposed to be doing anyway. And this took four months, 10 webinars, 100 sources researched, four surveys and four public/private collaborative work streams (and more than a little copy and paste).
This report really highlights the total inadequacy of the Department and its affiliates. No matter what tourism looks like in the future, it’s about time that Government realises that their role is to support and not force their or their private-sector associates’ opinions on the people actually operating in the sector. Sometimes, it’s just not a case of ‘b…t baffles brains’.
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