The Department of Tourism has recently released a Green Paper, aiming to examine and develop tourism policy. While we appreciate the effort to engage the public, we invite more targeted discussions with associations representing various businesses in the tourism sector.
Please see below a 10-point summary compiled by SATSA of joint comments from several associations, which considered critical opportunities for synergy and collaboration.
- Facilitating Bilateral Consultation
Issue: Open dialogue between the government and trade associations can bolster the sector.
Comment: We acknowledge the Department’s public consultation initiative but recommend enriching it with direct conversations with key stakeholders in the travel and tourism industry. Such discussions would provide depth and context, ensuring that the framework addresses the industry’s specific needs.
- Clarifying the Regulatory Framework
Issue: The Green Paper contains generalities regarding regulation.
Comment: While the document advocates regulatory oversight, it would benefit from clearer articulation of these proposals. We request an opportunity to consult with the government to explore how industry-led self-regulation could meet these needs, fostering a more conducive business environment.
- Short-Term Rentals: A Partnership Opportunity
Issue: The Green Paper highlights short-term rentals.
Comment: As these platforms are now a substantial part of the tourism sector, we support a balanced approach that protects consumers while encouraging entrepreneurship. However, we request a discussion on reasonable regulation aligned with international best practices.
- Utilising Current Data
Issue: The need for updated and current data.
Comment: We acknowledge the effort to base policy on data. We propose using the most recent data available to better capture the industry’s dynamics, especially in the post-pandemic context.
- Recognising the Role of the Private Sector
Issue: The active role of the private sector in tourism.
Comment: We request the recognition of the private sector as a co-driver in the tourism industry alongside the government, to better reflect real-world dynamics and foster a more effective partnership.
- Tourism Levy: A Discussion to Be Had
Issue: The Green Paper suggests a framework for tourism levies.
Comment: This is a potentially controversial issue and needs critical discussion on how public and private levies could coexist to best support the tourism sector.
- Cross-Government Collaboration
Issue: The need for a comprehensive governmental strategy for tourism.
Comment: We strongly recommend an all-of-government approach to uplift tourism as a national priority, a sentiment echoed in the Green Paper. Such a strategy would be a significant advancement for the industry.
- Market-Led Approach to Domestic Tourism Pricing
Issue: The Green Paper mentions dual pricing to stimulate domestic tourism.
Comment: This could interfere with market-led pricing mechanisms. We appeal to the government to explore various strategies that can support domestic tourism without the potential negative impact.
- Thematic Synergies and Alignment
Issue: The Green Paper outlines overarching concerns in the sector.
Comment: We are aligned with the goal of maximising the sector’s potential and look forward to contributing ideas on ethical standards and planning coherence.
- Comprehensive Risk Management
Issue: The need for detailed risk identification.
Comment: We acknowledge the Green Paper’s mention of risks and believe a more granular approach to risk management would fortify the industry against unforeseen challenges.
In summary, we view the Green Paper as a stepping stone towards achieving a more cohesive and robust tourism sector. Therefore, we request the government to harness our associations’ collective expertise and resources. By working together, we can create a resilient and flourishing tourism industry that benefits all South Africans.