The portfolio committee on tourism has expressed its full support for the tourism department’s efforts to reopen the tourism industry.
The department briefed the committee last week on its revised budget.
In a statement, the committee chairperson, Supra Mahumapelo, “thanked the department for its commitment and effort to save the industry, while balancing the pressure both from industry stakeholders and the Covid-19 pandemic”.
The tourism minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, informed the committee that the easing of lockdown regulations had to be done under strict conditions and contribute towards government’s intention to defeat Covid-19.
“The Minister added that their focus will be on supporting domestic tourism as the first point of recovery. She cautioned that the recovery of the entire tourism industry would largely depend on how travel ready authorities were in terms of managing and controlling coronavirus locally and
Tourism director-general, Victor Tharage, confirmed that the department lost close to R1 billion in its readjusted budget but declared that the department would still be able to meet all its amended targets in line with its adjusted budget.
In its briefing, the department pointed out that early indications are that recovery of the sector may take between 12 and 24 months.
“The impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector has necessitated a review of the Departmental Plans with due consideration of the emerging risks in the organisational performance management environment due to the pandemic.”
The department indicated that the recovery of the tourism sector will “experience a number of phases, from hyper-local community attractions, through broader domestic tourism, regional land and air markets, and lastly resumption of world-wide international travel”.
It confirmed that domestic tourism will be tackled first.
The department also informed the committee that, once the risk adjusted approach allows it, national treasury will be approached to consider resourcing tourism’s recovery efforts from a marketing and development point of view.