SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma said today his government is set to achieve a 30% black ownership of the white-dominated tourism industry as part of the country’s radical economic transformation programme.
Faith Zaba in Durban
Officially opening the Tourism Indaba attended by more than 7 000 delegates in Durban, Zuma said the radical transformation programme sought to correct the mistakes of apartheid.
“Black entrepreneurs will be targeted to be the leaders in growing these new markets in Asia and the Middle East, through various programmes to be run by SA Tourism, including participating in international trade shows and expos, as part of our country’s radical economic transformation programme,” he said.
“The radical economic transformation programme seeks to correct the painful history of our country where the black majority was excluded from meaningful participation, ownership and control of the economy. For the tourism industry, we are looking to achieve at least a 30% black ownership of the tourism industry currently.”
“We have already begun to invest in transformation. At this year’s Indaba, we have 90 black-owned tourism businesses from all nine provinces in South Africa, offering authentically South African tourism products, services and experiences.”
Zuma added that: “We will be developing local tourism offerings further in areas such as township tourism, rural tourism, agri-tourism and homestays, which will offer tourists a diverse South African experience.”
He said the total contribution of tourism to the South African economy in 2015 was about R375 billion (US$28,5 billion).
Zuma said while the tourism sector employs 1,5 million people, their aim is to increase the total number of jobs to 2,2 million by 2026.
“Our aim is to make South Africa one of the top 20 tourism destinations in the world. In this regard, South will be aggressively promoting our new 5 in 5 tourism growth strategy. Simply put, we want to attract five million more international arrivals and domestic tourists within the next five years,” he said.
South Africa experienced a 13% increase in international visitors last year, while the international tourist arrivals grew by 4% on average worldwide with more than a billion people now travelling around the world.
Africa saw the number of international tourist arrivals rising by 8% to reach 58 million. However, these arrivals to Africa represent only 5% of the one billion global tourists.
Zuma said on the African Union level, Africa was investing in infrastructure development projects that would help to promote economic development, including tourism development.
“One of the key goals is to work towards a seamless travel experience across the continent. I have the priviledge of chairing the African Union’s Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Initiative as part of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad). One of our key projects is to develop road and rail connectivity within the continent to make it easier to travel around Africa.”
Zuma said they were planning to build a railway for the fastest train connecting all the Africa cities, which is aimed at promoting regional tourism.