When the president shows up, you know that tourism is a big focus for this nation. We sit in at the opening of African trade show INDABA.
South Africa Tourism trade show INDABA has opened with an address from president Jacob Zuma.
Zuma underlined the impact of tourism on the nation’s economy and employment, with a 13 per cent increase in international visitors.
Zuma also announced that Durban will continue to be the host city for INDABA for the next five years.
“We are happy with this growth as tourism has a substantial potential of changing people’s lives for the better, especially during these depressed economic times,” Zuma said.
The president acknowledged the opportunities tourism provides for entrepreneurship.
“Given the low barriers to entry it makes it possible, particularly for women and youth, to get into business,” Zuma said.
“It serves us well to look at tourism as a diversification opportunity for the economy because traditional sectors are experiencing challenges.”
Meanwhile, a new campaign will be launched to attract all South Africans to the tourism cause, called ‘we do tourism’.
“It challenges each South African to play his part and do tourism – do tourism is our key message to our people. With this campaign people will appreciate the immense value of tourism in their lives.”
Those numbers include a financial injection of 375 billion rand in 2015 and the support of 1.5 million jobs.
The tourism body has ambitious plans for the industry, with a target of 2.2 million jobs by 2026 in addition to five million more international arrivals and domestic tourists within the next five years.
“To achieve these goals we are strengthening existing markets while also developing and investing into new international source markets such as the Middle East and Asia,” he added.
“Black entrepreneurs will be targeted to grow these new markets.
“This seeks to correct painful history where the black majority were kept away from ownership and control of economy,” Zuma said.
“For tourism industry we want 30 per cent black ownership.
“We have already begun to invest in transformation. We have 90 black owned tourism businesses from all nine provinces,” the president said.
There are nine hosted buyers from Australia in attendance to meet with the pan-African suppliers at INDABA.