When Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom comes to Town

img_4027This week’s highlight was a visit from South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom to the community of the Overstrand. The Minister addressed a small audience who responded to an invitation from the Whale Coast Business and Community Forum to attend a breakfast meeting at The Class Room, Hermanus.

Minister Hanekom recognised tourism as a sector with much growth potential but warned that tourism growth has its ups and downs.  Although it is a resilient sector the role players need to gear up and be ready to respond to the many challenges it faces.  Other points made include the following:

  • In reference to the way the water crises was managed the Minister cautioned that we need to be careful with the messages communicated.
  • Create conditions for business to grow. Business needs to be actively involved in being the change they wish to see.
  • Add value to tourism and the people of your community.
  • Create opportunities for staff to grow with the business.
  • Take pride in our communities, making it safe, clean and welcoming for tourists. Such efforts will help to make us a winning country and a winning community.
  • AirBNB offers additional accommodation and is not all bad. SA Tourism has a goal of receiving 21m tourists to South Africa by 2030 and we need to be ready to meet this goal.  Growth and capacity issues need to be managed within a regulated framework but over regulation has its own complications.  Visitors want to feel the soul of a place.  Home Stays and AirBNB address this need.  Established business need to partner with entrepreneurs to make the sector more inclusive.  Create an enabling environment through mentorship and collaboration and have the benefits of tourism extend to more people.
  • The industry needs to be more responsible and there should be efforts made to create value in waste. Recycling should be encouraged.
  • Visa constraints & unabridged birth certificates has negatively impacted on tourism. Working to mend these constraints comes down to people, administration and interpretation.  These matters are finally receiving the priority it demands.
  • Hanekom was complementary about the work done by Wesgro with their Air Access programme and pleased that ACSA is keeping our airports world-class.  SAA has to make a turnaround.
  • Grow business but don’t close off opportunities. We need business to operate while opening opportunities.
  • Collaboration across government departments is required to reduce red tape.
  • We need to be nuanced in our thinking to grow opportunities and ensure inclusivity.