Cape Town - The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) say it is concern about Minister of Sports and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula's decision to revoke the privilege of specific sports federations to host and bid for major international tournaments.
On Monday, Mbalula announced a decision to ban Athletics South Africa (ASA), Cricket South Africa (CSA), Netball South Africa (NSA) and South African Rugby Union (SARU) from hosting and bidding for major sporting events with immediate effect, as a consequence of these federations not meeting their own set transformation targets.
TBCSA questions whether the potential impact this decision could have on South Africa’s economy as a whole has been fully considered – particularly when it comes to inbound tourist arrival growth within the travel and tourism industry.
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SA is just beginning to show signs of recovery following a difficult two-year period after changes to the country's visa rules and requirements impacted the sector heavily.
Slow recovery after difficult two-year period
Following the Minister’s announcement, Ramawela says it also comes at a time when there is talk of a possible credit downgrade for the country and rating agencies are looking for positive actions from Government that speak to how economic growth will be achieved.
Commenting previously on the outcome of its recent Tourism Business Index report, Ramawela said tourism businesses are facing pressures in the operating environment. “This is the second lowest Q1 TBI score recorded since 2011, but when we compare our results with other recognised economic indices in the country, it is quite apparent that travel and tourism remains far more resilient.”
Whilst the Council notes that the Minister’s decision will be reviewed in a year’s time, it says all the parties involved urgently needed to address this issue amicably.
“It is not for us to dictate to the Minister how the issue of transformation in sports should be addressed or what punitive measures to apply where targets are not met by the various sports federations, ” says TBCSA CEO, Mmatšatši Ramawela.
“However, given that sports events are a key driver of inbound tourism, we believe that the Minister as part of Government should reconsider his decision taking into account the possible negative consequences for sectors such as travel and tourism.”
The Council says that whilst it appreciates the Minister’s firm stance, the issue of ensuring inclusive growth and transformation, be it in sports, travel and tourism or any other facet of the economy is something that requires focus and ongoing attention.
No quick fixes for economic imbalances
“Addressing the economic imbalances of the past is not an easy task - there are no quick fixes, Ramawela said. “Even in the travel and tourism sector, we have our own set of unique challenges when it comes to transformation. Thus, in all efforts to address this critical principle of our society, we still encourage that a balanced approach be adopted”.
TBCSA confirmed it will be approaching government about its concerns as well as provide analysis of the necessary data that might indicate possible negative implications from the minister's decision.
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