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Challenges ahead but goal $60bn revenue and 225,000 jobs by 2020
South Africa’s deputy Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa outlined a tourism strategy for the country at this week’s Responsible Tourism conference in London. The strategy not only foresees dramatic tourism growth but also incorporates responsible tourism at its heart.
Said Ms Xasa "The National Tourism Sector Strategy a blueprint for the tourism sector in South Africa, was an outcome of broad industry consultation. The NTSS sets a new vision and growth trajectory for the future. This vision is to make South Africa one of the top 20 destinations by 2020."
"It commits the tourism sector to creating a total of two hundred and twenty five thousand additional jobs (225 000) in 2020. NTSS further seeks to increase tourism’s contribution to the economy from R189,4 billion (2009) to R318,16 billion in 2015 and R499 billion by 2020."
"The NTSS however recognises that these ambitious growth targets should be achieved in a responsible and sustainable manner, mindful of the fact that South Africa’s natural environment is one of its greatest tourism resources."
Tourism is an integral component of South Africa’s New Growth Path (2010), which strives to significantly reduce unemployment and stimulate inclusive economic development. South Africa’s Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP2), has identified the tourism sector as an important contributor to the development of rural areas and culture industries amongst others.
The new Tourism Draft Bill aims to provide for the development and promotion of sustainable tourism for the social, economic and environmental benefit of South African citizens and for the enjoyment of all its residents and foreign visitors.
The minister foresaw a number of challenges, including:
A more active travel consumer is needed. A majority of tourists want to learn about social, cultural and environmental issues while travelling, but few make this issue part of their decision making process. The ministry will ensure they speak to tourists desire for authenticity and unique cultural experiences.
Climate Change will affect South Africa as a long-haul destination. Concerns over global warming and the contribution of long-haul flights are escalating - SA strategy and messaging will address these concerns.
Interest in and support for sustainable tourism is building in South Africa’s traditional core markets, but consumers find it difficult to find appropriate offers. SA will work with partners to find creative and inspiring ways to meet this need.
Sustainable Tourism Certification is useful, but the proliferation of labels, is a challenge, whilst small businesses find the cost of certification prohibitive.
South Africa needs to enhance its understanding of growing source markets. Little is known about the preferences of priority markets in Asia and Africa. Market research is needed to help us to build its understanding of the views, attitudes and behaviours of these markets in relation to sustainable tourism.
Voluntourism is growing, it has obvious advantages in that less privileged communities have new funds flowing in to improve local living conditions. It is however often difficult for tourists to decide between one program and another. A more marketing centred approach will help address this and support tourists in their decision making..
The Deputy Minister and the Director of Responsible Tourism elaborated in an exclusive interview with TravelMole Vision on Sustainable Tourism - see it HERE
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