Tourism is so much more than generating revenue. It is the movement of people with the express purpose of gratification. Not only is it a significant economic pillar but it's also a social unifier. Sport Tourism and cultural and heritage tourism are but a few examples. The 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Olympics and even the demise of the British monarch lends expression to this phenomenon.
With people at its coalface and service at its core, tourism is about people and experiences. Before the dawn of democracy, tourism was for the elite. Today, everybody does tourism - whichever part of the value chain you find yourself at. While this function is managed by government, all citizens play their part in keeping our spaces safe, clean and friendly.
Tourism is a concurrent function for all three spheres of Government. At a national level, the Department of Tourism came into existence in 2009. Its vision is to lead sustainable tourism development for inclusive economic growth in South Africa. This is done through its mission of good corporate and cooperative governance; strategic partnerships and collaboration; innovation and knowledge management; and effective stakeholder communication.
A strategic pillar of South Africa’s economy, tourism has the potential to address the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality through the creation of decent jobs. Apart from generating revenue, it provides the economic opportunities for women and youth, supports the development of SMMEs and has the potential to foster social cohesion. Tourism has multiple linkages with other sectors of the economy and generates significant multiplier effects
The Department of Tourism is mandated under the Tourism Act 3 of 2014 to: “promote the practise of responsible tourism for the benefit of the country and for the enjoyment of all its residents and foreign visitors; provide for the effective domestic and international marketing of South Africa as a tourist destination; promote quality tourism products and services; promote growth in and development of the tourism sector; and enhance cooperation and coordination between all spheres of government in developing and managing tourism.”
The National Development Plan (NDP) is the 2030 vision for the country. It recognises tourism as one of the main drivers of employment and economic growth. Tourism is also positioned as one of the six core pillars of growth in the country’s New Growth Path (NGP) framework. The National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) provides a blueprint for the tourism sector in the pursuit of growth targets contained in the NGP.
The “I do Tourism” is an initiative that seeks to remind South Africans of the importance of the tourism industry and the role they can play as advocates for South Africa and for tourism. The purpose of the campaign is to show the economic and social value of tourism in South Africa. Tourism has a ripple effect and each direct permanent tourism job opportunity that is created can have multiple spin-offs for transport, agriculture and other sectors. Linked to this, the campaign draws attention to the fact that the impact of tourism is not industry-specific. Almost every sector within the South African economy is positively affected when people travel, from agriculture (which is required to increase output in order to feed visitors) to transport (as visitors need a means of getting around the country). This being the case, tourism is integral to the growth and development of the country. It is therefore the duty of every South African to do what they can to support tourism. By doing so, they are contributing to the country’s economy.
The Department’s objectives include ensuring that benefits of tourism are equitably shared amongst the people of South Africa, and planning for the empowerment of youth, women, and people with disabilities through entrepreneurial participation and opportunities. The Department's focus is on increasing competitiveness within the tourism sector in South Africa.
Tourism adds value to the lives of all South Africans in a range of ways. As South Africans we all have something to gain from the growth and development of our tourism industry that is why our involvement in rallying behind tourism is vitally important. The continued success of tourism benefits us all. Hilaire Belloc said: “We wander for distraction but we travel for fulfilment”
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