In a post on South Africa Tourism’s website 18 August, its CEO spoke about the need to place a stake on the marginalised in order to support the wider tourism sector.
Indeed, South Africa has been one of the hardest hit countries by the Covid-19 pandemic and its tourism sector has been devastated. In a recent budget vote speech, minister of tourism, Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane told Parliament that an estimated R54.2bn (US$3.15bn) in output may have been lost between mid-March and the end of May this year.
The CEO of South Africa Tourism, Sisa Ntshona (pictured), said the sector is facing a potential 75% revenue reduction in 2020, with 438,000 jobs at risk.
Research done by South African Tourism has shown that, as tourism restarts after lockdown, travellers are going to prefer open spaces and avoid crowded areas. The sector also needs to adopt technologies to improve operational efficiencies and serve its post-Covid-19 travellers better.
The sector is a big supporter of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs).
“As we revitalise the sector and position South Africa as a preferred leisure, business and events tourism destination, we must be mindful of our responsibility to foster inclusivity and meaningful transformation,” Ntshona said.
The CEO of South Africa Tourism pointed out that the revised National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) 2016-2026 envisages sustainable development and growth of tourism enterprises.
“Given the inequality and unemployment problem in the country, enterprise development is an opportunity for companies to play a positive role in the society,” he said, pointing out that Covid-19 has exposed the vulnerability of smaller and marginalised enterprises. With no revenue for months now, many tourism SMMEs will not survive, which is why, Ntshona said, the Department of Tourism intended to implement an Enterprise Development Programme, which would be primarily targeted at women and young people to provide support to rural tourism enterprises over the medium-term period.
The programme comprises hub-based tourism incubation support and offsite national support for SMMEs and Ntshona said it meant “a drive to reallocate the business event and related tourism spend away from the golden triangle to incorporate the villages, towns and small dorpies”.
Ntshona urged big players to diversify their procurement spend by buying from local suppliers, first and foremost. “We must be deliberate in our support for small and emerging enterprises owned by the women, black people or persons with disabilities. Authentic partnerships with marginalised enterprises are an investment in the future of South Africa,” the CEO said.