I will today submit three complaints, on behalf of the tourism industry, to the Tourism Complaints Officer, Mirriam Setwaba. It is the job of the Tourism Complaints Officer to deal with “complaints received in respect of tourism services, facilities or products” in terms of the Tourism Act.
This comes after South Africa appointed its first ever Tourism Complaints Officer who is approaching her first hundred days in the newly created position. She must diligently address the progress in grappling with the issues facing our tourism industry.
As such I will be submitting complaints on the following issues and factors that are negatively impacting the local tourism industry:
The Department of Home Affairs’ draconian regulations for foreign tourists which have already led to a drop in numbers from key markets such as China and India. South Africa should be simplifying entry for international visitors by introducing E-visa’s and biometrics on arrival and not killing interest through harsh regulations.
The massive unaffordability of a large number of local tourist attractions. Why have the National Department of Tourism (NDT) and South African tourism not engaged with the industry around introducing local budget packages?
The failure by the NDT to implement R50 million worth of projects associated with the Social Responsibility Implementation (SRI) program. The SRI is an Expanded Public Works Program with the objective of poverty alleviation and job creation through tourism.
The Tourism Complaints Officer needs to start taking the voices of concern from the industry seriously. This will require a closer working relationship between SA Tourism and industry stakeholders such as travel agents, airlines and hotel groups.
If government fails to heed the concerns of the industry, we run the great risk of losing international visitor interest in our country. If tourism numbers dwindle and the sector suffers, this will directly impact on our economy and kill thousands of jobs. I will therefore be closing monitoring the responses from the Tourism Complaints Officer.
Shadow Minister of Tourism
Source : Democratic Alliance