#SONA2017: Zuma pegs tourism as key job driver for year ahead

2017-02-10 06:53 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - South African President Jacob Zuma delivered his 10th State of the Nation Address (SONA), with chaotic scenes of opposition parties being physically removed by security guards underlining the many issues the country has to overcome in order to turn around its economy - See News24’s full coverage of the dramatic events here.

In 2016 SA faced a number of threats of rating downgrades, with Zuma’s SONA aiming to convince the nation that the economy will improve in 2017.

The South African economic outlook for 2017 is improving, said President Jacob Zuma, with an expected 1.3% growth rate in the coming year. 

SEE: Tourism business index impacted as South Africans not travelling enough locally

Throughout the global and local turmoil in 2016, tourism has continue to be an economic driving force - with Zuma briefly acknowledging the role the industry has as a potential job creator for South Africa in his 9-point-plan address for the year ahead.

“We have identified tourism as a key job driver. From Jan to Nov 2016 the country saw an increase in arrivals with 9 million visitors, an increase to just over 1million arrivals from 2015. This represents a 13% growth in tourism arrivals,” Zuma stated.  

Other key factors for economic growth and radical overhaul according to Zuma included growing SA ocean’s economy, a commitment to renewable energy, broadband rollout as well as upping the agricultural and mineral resources value chain - READ Fin24's full coverage here

SEE: Cape Town’s 29.8% summer visitor spike: 4 upswing factors set to see it continue

Added to this, SANRAL is set for 4.5bn project to upgrade notorious Moloto road - as well and intendedrail link between Gauteng and Mpumalanga.  The department of -ublic works will invest R100m this year to improve harbours across SA as part of Operation Phakisa to grow the ocean economy.

Zuma also welcomed the decline in poaching since Oct 2015, the first time in decades, but as with the how tourism would be used to spur job creation, his speech was sparse on specific facts or details.  

All eyes and ears will now be focused on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's 2017/2018 budget speech

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