Cape Town - The National Tourism Transformation Summit 2017, hosted by the Department of Tourism (NDT), is underway in Gauteng.
This year's Summit, which commenced on Monday, 30 October and runs until Tuesday, 31 October is under the theme: “Tourism for All: Transform, Grow and Sustain”.
Support for black-owned SMMEs and making tourism more broad and affordable is high on SA's agenda.
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According to the NDT, "More than 350 delegates are expected to attend the two day summit" that will provide "information on how tourism SMMEs and black-owned entities can access funding mechanisms to succeed in the sector".
At the summit SA's Tourism Minister, Tokozile Xasa, is expected to share findings on the "State of Tourism Report shows that the tourism sector is still low on transformation."
Tourism Update reports Xasa addressed developments of the Transformation fund mentioned in her Budget speech earlier this year in May. R120 million fund is specifically being allocated over the next three years to support emerging black-owned businesses.
“This fund will also assist in the provision of support (other than financial) to black entrepreneurs in the tourism sector to encourage tourism-related commercial activity, create jobs and facilitate skills development. We also want to ensure that the tourism products developed are sustainable," says Xasa.
Added to this Xasa confirmed the addition of a Tourism B-BBEE Portal. Developed by the Tourism B-BBEE Charter Council, the portal is expected to be a "matchmaking platform that allows large enterprises to identify, compare, and then procure goods and services from 100% black-owned suppliers".
The portal will access to "reliable information on black-owned suppliers with the required expertise for the purpose of Preferential Procurement, Enterprise and Supplier development. This will reduce the amount of time and extra administration required by large enterprise to identify and verify black-owned suppliers for procurement purposes.
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SA's Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Des van Rooyen, spoke at the Summit saying that "The tourism sector plays an increasingly vital role in our economy, contributing approximately 9.5% to the GDP and supporting 1.4 million jobs."
He adds "It is vital that we ensure that black South Africans also benefit from this resilient and growing sector of our economy", however, "transformation in the tourism sector is painfully slow".
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According to van Rooyen, the "tourism sector transformation strategies and investment opportunities are aimed at radically improving black and women participation across the value chain with industry growth and sustainability."
Traditional leadership sector
Van Rooyen says that transformation of the sector means having "an impact on some of the poorest of our communities, those living in rural and traditional communities, who would find it difficult to enter the formal economy", and therefore, the traditional leadership sector "is inevitably part and parcel of this tourism transformation agenda".
"I am making rallying call to all of us here to work closely with our traditional leaders and the sector at large to realise tourism transformation within their sector and also increase the country’s tourism offering," he says.
Based on this, van Rooyen says that the Tourism Transformation Fund should also target the traditional leadership sector "so as to create an environment conducive for tourism growth and development and make use of a readily available resource that is rich in culture and heritage".
Platform to reflect on transformation
The NDT says the Summit offers the tourism sector "a platform to reflect and engage on the current state of transformation", with a view of finding solutions that will promote its advancement.
Some attendees took to Twitter to share their opinions and ideas during the Summit.
Johann van Schalkwyk says "We need baseline information and agreement on clear and achievable steps to take to accelerate transformation," while SAY_TTH makes a valid point by saying real tourism transformation will mean hosting a transformation summit in the townships, where "Delegates spend on accommodation R700 pp/pn".
Better Tourism Africa adds that equitable sharing of the gains of tourism is a crucial issue in sustainable tourism in Africa.
Here are more highlights from the Summit:
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