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Tourism is everybody's business in SA - industry body

Apr 10 2016 13:56
Carin Smith

Dallas – The travel and tourism industry in South Africa will have to make a big effort to create a balance between security and commerce, Mmatsatsi Ramawela, CEO of the Tourism Business Council of SA (TBCSA) told Fin24 at the global summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) taking place in Dallas this week.

“Security is the topic on everybody’s lips and it is key for me that role players at WTTC are talking about it and also about finding solutions to the challenge,” she said.

“It became clear for me at WTTC that security in the travel and tourism industry needs an integrated approach between the private and public sector. It is all about finding the balance between the economic benefits of travel and tourism and security issues.”

She emphasised that it is easy for that balance to come under threat and that is why it is important for the industry to explain and demonstrate the economic benefits in a language that the government can relate to.

This would include the aspects of job creation and inclusive growth, both areas where the industry can make a big contribution.

“Ministers Rob Davies, Ebrahim Patel and Derek Hanekom can learn from the US approach of cooperation and balance between economic considerations and security clusters,” said Ramawela.

“The travel and tourism industry is not always understood and that is why we have to see that it is mainstreamed. It cannot just be business as usual as without equality there will not be peace.”

In her view, the travel and tourism industry in SA should provide the road map to the future.

“Yes, we should find solutions for the reaction of just wanting to close borders for security, but we must also find ways to grow the industry so everyone can benefit. It must be business with a conscience,” she said.

“Tourism is everybody’s business and the government must understand what a big money spinner tourism is.”

* Fin24 is the guest of WTTC at its global summit.

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