National Department of Tourism
The National Department of Tourism briefed the Committee on its National Heritage and Cultural Tourism Strategy, as well as its National Rural Tourism Strategy. The focus of the NDT at present was to ensure that the eight world heritage sites found in SA remained on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s list of world heritage sites.
Both the National Heritage and Cultural Tourism Strategy and the National Rural Tourism Strategy came with detailed action plans for implementation and were informed by the National Tourism Sector Strategy and the Domestic Tourism Growth Strategy. The strategies sought to respond to economic development and job creation, rural development and regional integration.
One of the strategic objectives of the National Heritage and Cultural Tourism Strategy was to conduct a comprehensive audit of heritage and cultural tourism products and to document and compile this information. Other objectives were to develop and promote the eight world heritage sites as anchor tourist attractions, identify projects for global significance and identify potential projects for further development. The National Department of Tourism recommended that resources and a detailed action plan with roles and responsibilities be allocated to support the implementation of the National Heritage and Cultural Tourism Strategy.
Regarding the National Rural Tourism Strategy, the National Department of Tourism provided the Committee with a breakdown of recommended rural nodes for tourism development in each province. These would be the priority areas for the next five to 10 years. Interaction with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and with other departments have taken place. Of the eight world heritage sites, six fell within these rural nodes.
In 2013 a needs assessment was done on the eight world heritage sites and awareness was raised through a DVD and a tourism indaba. The National Department of Tourism intend to improve tourism interpretive signage at the world heritage sites during 2014/15 period. It also aimed to improve tourism infrastructure at the world heritage sites as many of the sites lacked proper ablution facilities, resting places and facilities for the disabled.
The National Department of Tourism started a capacity building programme for tourism stakeholders in district and local municipalities in rural areas during the 2013/14 period. The beneficiaries of the capacity building initiative were municipal officials, local community representatives, small, medium and macro enterprises, local tourism authorities, cooperatives and traditional leaders.
The National Department of Tourism was also in the process of strengthening cooperation and partnerships at provincial and local government levels, prioritising tourism development in rural economies, supporting enterprise development in the tourism sector and skills development and training initiatives in the tourism sector.
Members considered small, medium and micro enterprises to be important job creators and wanted to know what types of small, medium and micro enterprises the National Department of Tourism supported. The Committee also questioned the efforts of the National Department of Tourism to market heritage sites. What was the Department doing to encourage locals to visit heritage sites?
Concern was raised that cultural oral traditions were being lost and the National Department of Tourism was asked what was being done to preserve these traditions. Two examples were cited by members of heritage sites that were in a bad state of affairs. The first was King Dingaan’s Kraal in Kwazulu-Natal and the second was Robben Island in the Western Cape. Members asked how often the National Department of Tourism met with the Department of Arts and Culture and the Department of Environmental Affairs about the bad state of affairs at heritage sites under their respective custodianship.
The Committee adopted Committee Minutes dated 12 September 2014 unamended.
National Department of Tourism
The National Department of Tourism (NDT) briefed the Committee on its National Heritage and Cultural Strategy as well as its National Rural Tourism Strategy. The delegation comprised of Ms Morongoe Ramphele, Deputy Director General: Domestic Tourism Management; Mr Thabo Manetsi, Director: Western and Northern Cape Heritage Development; Mr Soza Simango, Director: Gauteng, North West and Limpopo Niches Development; and Ms Petra van Niekerk, Parliamentary Liaison Officer: office of the Director General. Ms Shama Nathoo, Parliamentary Liaison Officer: Minister’s office, was also in attendance.