Leading tourism associations of South Africa – ASATA, FEDHASA, SATSA, SAVRALA, and SAACI – are standing together in full support of Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille and the constructive approach she has taken to engage the private sector since taking office.This comes as the global tourism community converges on London at World Travel Market this week with the country’s private and public sector working together to promote South Africa as a leading tourism destination. Far from “destroying tourism” as suggested in a recent media report, Minister de Lille has ushered in a new era of open communication and collaboration between the public and private sectors. Her leadership has established the structured engagement desperately needed to synergise common objectives of nurturing tourism growth and showcasing South Africa as a world-class destination.
Bridging the divide between the private and public sectorDavid Frost, the CEO of Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA), has expressed his full support for the appointed South African Tourism board chair, Tim Harris, and acting CEO, Nombulelo Guliwe. He says, “Minister de Lille has come into this portfolio with a desire to garner insights. She has engaged the private sector – the engines of tourism – and sought our opinions on the pressure points and fault lines needing urgent attention after years of deterioration.” This sentiment was echoed by the leadership of ASATA, FEDHASA, SAVRALA, and SAACI, who praised the Minister’s responsiveness and willingness to act on issues raised by industry partners for the betterment of the sector. Otto de Vries, CEO of Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA), says, “Minister de Lille has demonstrated genuine intent to lead and engage on matters impacting our industry. We have seen responsiveness to the concerns raised and action taken to intervene on critical issues.”
“We are grateful for her interventions on matters like the diesel rebate, Tourism Incentive Programme, and visa systems which would smooth the way for our sector to rebuild.”Rosemary Anderson, national chair of the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA), adds, “The Minister’s willingness to promptly address problems raised by industry has been a breath of fresh air. We are grateful for her interventions on matters like the diesel rebate, Tourism Incentive Programme, and visa systems which would smooth the way for our sector to rebuild.”
Sandile Ntseoane, GM of the Southern African Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (SAVRALA), agrees that Minister de Lille has been “present” and “willing to engage” the industry to help resolve obstacles hindering tourism growth. He says, “Amongst others, Minister de Lille has supported us in an important initiative relating to Tourism Safety, which threatens our industry. Working closely with us, the industry (through the TBCSA) and Minister de Lille have been instrumental in opening a National Tourism Operations Centre linked to Business Against Crime in JHB where we now have a 24/7 emergency / incident management desk.”Further, Minister de Lille’s actions to strengthen transparency, establish financial controls, and appoint leadership with private sector expertise to critical tourism entities are courageous first steps to stabilising and optimising their effectiveness, they said.
“The structured engagement between public and private sector has never been stronger.”Glenton de Kock, CEO of the Southern African Association For The Conference Industry (SAACI), adds, “The structured engagement between public and private sector has never been stronger. For tourism to succeed, this relationship must be upheld and strengthened in the way Minister de Lille has championed.” The associations collectively commend the Minister for her consultative approach and stand united in their ongoing support because, when public and private sectors work together, South African tourism wins.