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Tourism industry can have black industrialists too - minister

May 25 2017 06:02
Carin Smith

Cape Town - There is no reason why the tourism industry cannot strive to create black industrialists in its midst, according to Minister of Tourism Tokozile Xasa.

"We can strive to have black industrialists also in the tourism industry - as long as they form part of the value chain feeding into tourism. For instance, they could be manufacturing products for the tourism industry at a reasonable price," Xasa said at post-tourism budget informal networking event hosted by the Tourism Business Council of SA (TBCSA) at the Table Bay hotel on Tuesday evening.  

"It is time for the tourism industry to be a real economic sector. SMMEs in the industry must grow so they can pay tax. There cannot just be a blanket approach to SMMEs. We need to have a process of how to grow them to be independent businesses. We want the tourism industry to partner with them. We want to work more with the industry to achieve inclusive growth."

In this regard she does not want the approach to the Tourism Development Fund to be done "in the same old way where money was locked in".

"In the current economic situation in which SA finds itself it is important not to be seen as 'chilling', but to be ready to strategise and work on a recovery," said Xasa.

She thanked the TBCSA for its leadership and emphasised that it is important for her to liaise with the tourism industry on the way forward.

READ: Travel and tourism to contribute R412.2bn to SA's GDP in 2017

Working together

"It is clear that if we work together, we can achieve more. The tourism sector can diversify and appeal to other business partners to do the same," said Xasa.

"The president recognises and appreciates the work done by the tourism industry. It is a sector that can make the SA economy turn around and deal with job creation, poverty and inequality."

In Xasa's view, the tourism industry is still resilient and there are opportunities to grow. In this regard government must create the right environment.

"There is much more we can do in building radical economic transformation. We want to work with (the private sector) to grow the industry. There lies potential in creating new products and new markets as a priority. An example would be the Brics countries where we can, for instance, tap into provinces of our friends from China," said Xasa.

"So, through the relations SA is building in Africa and the world, there can also be opportunities for the tourism industry to expand. We can walk together in a practical way in exploring new markets."

She also wants to ensure that South Africans travel in their own country.

"We as government want to work with the tourism industry and with our communities. We can always find a way to put a case to government in a practical way to find money. We can look into how we can revive our rural communities and townships to attract more tourists," she said.

"It is for me not just about hospitality and tourism. We are open to big ideas. My door is always open as well as that of the deputy minister."

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