Tourism Stakeholder consultation meeting

NDT

Tourism Stakeholder consultation meeting attended – feedback report

The IPTGSA was invited by Gauteng Tourism and the National Department of Tourism to attend the meeting titled:

Tourism Sector Professionalisation Draft Document Stakeholder Consultation Meeting, April 2022

 

The invitation was accepted and attended by:

  • Board Chair: Lesiba Fontane
  • Exco Chair: Johan van Biljon
  • Exco Vice Chair: Sam Wenger
  • IPTGSA Member: Peter Moni

 

After the opening and welcome by Mr Mbuicona of Gauteng Tourism Authority (GTA); the approximately 55 heads in attendance were briefly introducing themselves and the organisation they represent. Here is a list of the stake holders I managed to capture. However, there are some I may have missed, particularly those that mumbled or spoke very softly and could hardly be understood:

Gauteng Tourism Authority, CATHSSETA, a Lodge Owner, Vaal Tourism Association, Restaurant Owner Association, Cradle Tourism Association, Ilios Travel, National Department of Tourism, Village Tourism Association, Alexandra Local Tourism Association, IPTGSA, Airport Hotels and without a doubt some more.

Unfortunately, there were no representatives from organisations like SATSA, FGASA, transportation providers, major tour operators, car hire, World Federation of TGA, National Federation of Tourism Service Providers Association, etc. It is not known why some major stakeholders such as some of the above were not present.

The proceedings then focused on the entire tourism sector professionalisation by presenting the “draft concept document”. The IPTGSA will try to obtain the document and make it available to those that ask for it only.

It was noted that the chefs and the professional hunters have successfully achieved South African Qualification Authority “SAQA” accreditation.

The presentation of the draft concept document aims to bring all industry stakeholders up to speed on the need to professionalise the industry for the overall benefit of the visiting tourist. Our observation of what was presented in this kind of a workshop, is a positive push forward for our industry. It is welcomed by some, but ought to be embraced by all. It also stands out that there are parts in the presentation that seems to have come from the Institute application to SAQA, all be it with slight modifications and incorporated updates. It unmistakeably confirms that the professionalisation drive the Institute started almost 10 years ago, is gaining recognition and momentum. The understanding about what professionalisation means has also shifted somewhat away from misunderstanding.

A presentation by CATHSSETA (Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality, Sport Sector - Education Training Authority) gave some facts and insights into the work they do. It is looking at each convocation and formalises education and training modules and time frames, e.g., chef, cook, receptionist, booking agents, etc.

The “Tourism Transformation Fund” gave a presentation. It harped away at the statistical facts that transformation in tourism, for instance in accommodation establishments ownership was still showing poor facts that indicate that only little progress was made. To propel transformation forward, or so the government hopes to accelerate transformation in ownership of tourism businesses, it was announced that they have available an annual fund amount of R120 million. That information was supplemented with a host of information on the documentation an applicant must get, compile and then submit. What seems to me is consistently running through the whole application process is red tape (the writer’s opinion). The presentation left the attendees lstunned; it provoked very little discussion.

The “Green Tourism Programme’ presentation was the last one on the agenda. It was similar to the previous one, but focusing on the Green Tourism Programme. This programme aims at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by supporting projects like power supply via wind or solar energy usage, or perhaps solar water heating. This programme has an annual fund of R142.5 million available for successful applicants. The red tape perception repeats for this programme all the same. What was not clearly touched on was whether this amount and the one for transformation are non-repayable contributions with no strings attached for successful applicants; or alternatively a loan with interest payments and all its terms and conditions. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in itself is certainly a good initiative to roll out.

The discussion spaces after each presentation gave stakeholders an opportunity to ask questions or address points of concern.

All in attendance were then treated to a delicious buffet-style luncheon with a good spread of salads, hot dishes and dessert.

The IPTGSA representatives had the opportunity to have the MC (from GTA) sit with us at the same table and a host of our tourist guide issues were discussed and some even clarified.

We learned from him that the Gauteng Tourism Authority has now been or is to be separated from the Economic Department. This will undoubtedly impact positively on the way Gauteng’s tourism will recover in the months and years to come.

Assurance of the Institute’s support for tourism-related endeavours has been offered.

 

Johneesburg,

25 April 2022

Written by Sam Wenger in cooperation with the other Institute attendees.