SA Cannot Afford to Ignore Domestic Tourism Decline [press release]

SA Cannot Afford to Ignore Domestic Tourism Decline [press release]

In a reply to my parliamentary question on the breakdown of domestic tourism figures in our country from 2012 – 2014, the Minister of Tourism, Derek Hannekom, revealed that the number of domestic trips have declined.

I will today write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism, Beatrice Ngcobo, requesting that she summon the Director-General of the National Department of Tourism (NDT) to appear before the Portfolio Committee to clarify the reasons for such a decline and what its plans are to stimulate domestic tourism numbers.

Domestic tourism numbers and revenue have fallen as depicted below:

Year: Domestic Tourism Figures Total Trips

2012 12.5 million 25.4 million

2013 12.0 million 25.2 million

2014 (Year to date: January-September) 9.0 million 19.8 million

Year: Revenue Generated

2012 R 21.8 billion

2013 R 24.3 billion

2014 (Year to date:

January-September) R 18.5 billion

The Department of Tourism’s Domestic Tourism Growth Strategy 2012 – 2020 states that the biggest inhibiting factor to domestic tourism is the perception that travel is not affordable.

The most recent Department strategic plan suggests that issues such as affordability and limited geographic spread must be addressed, but there does not seem to be any urgency to implement it. The NDT must account for this failure.

It is our firm belief that any strategy should espouse a closer working relationship between SA Tourism and industry stakeholders such as travel agents, airlines and hotel groups.

To address the objectives of increasing domestic tourism revenue and volumes, I will present the following proposals to the Portfolio Committee:

A focus on existing tourist attractions and products in order to effectively increase their use,

An audit of the current tourism products and services must be done to ascertain adequate supply for the various segments of the domestic market and also to facilitate the development of effective maintenance plans for existing tourism infrastructure under government’s administration.

The NDT must improve product development and marketing, investment in rural infrastructure, but more importantly, there needs to be a policy shift to get South Africans experiencing their own country by making travel affordable and accessible as this will grow local economy’s and create jobs.

James Vos

Shadow Minister of Tourism

Source : Democratic Alliance