By SA News
Partnerships between the state and private sector are key if government is to train more people and create more jobs, the Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk said on Thursday, while delivering his Budget Vote speech in Parliament.
Van Schalkwyk said his department had last year trained 545 young people to become chefs, through its Young Chefs Training Programme, while its collaboration with the Tourism Enterprise Programme (TEP) had helped small businesses in the tourism sector to last year support 4 991 jobs and generate a combined turnover of R454 million, he said.
He said over the past 10 years the TEP had helped to create 66 900 jobs and support businesses with a combined turnover of R5.3 billion.
“I think the lesson we can learn from this programme [TEP] is that there are some things the government can do and some things the private sector can and should do, and very often partnerships with the private sector are more successful than when we [the government] try to do things on our own,” he said.
Of the 545 young chefs that had earlier this year graduated from the Young Chefs Training Programme, which was launched last year, 120 had already been placed at hotels and bed and breakfast establishments, while 300 of these chefs were participating in further training.
Another 500 young people have been enrolled in the second year of the programme, which forms part of the government’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).
Van Schalkwyk said South Africa, with its welcoming culture and “varied and textured” tourism destination, had established itself as a premier international tourism destination.
In the last five years the country had outpaced its rivals in leisure tourism arrivals, with foreign direct spending by international tourists having grown faster than the number of
arrivals – growing at 11% a year.
Last year, 8.8 million international tourists visited the country – an over three percent increase compared to 2010 when the country experienced a record year in international arrivals.
Most of the growth last year was driven by a 14.6% growth in arrivals from Asia and an almost seven percent increase in arrivals from other African countries, he said.
In contrast, tourism arrivals from Europe declined by 3.5% largely due to the ongoing impact of the 2008 global economic crisis.
The department had set up an international tourism branch to ensure that South Africa grew its international arrivals and the branch would work with other departments – such as Home Affairs and Transport.
The department would invest R280 million to help South Africa grow its share on the African continent – with five new SA tourism offices to open over the next three years, following the setting up of a new office in Angola recently.
South Africa was also becoming an important destination for international conferences and the country had already secured the hosting of 200 international conferences over the next five years.
The 200 conferences are expected to attract 300 000 delegates who are expected to together spend over R1.6 billion in the country, he said.
The minister said the National Convention Bureau – a unit inside the department which was set up last year, would help the department attract more such conferences to the country.
The department was also running a domestic tourism campaign following the development of its Domestic Tourism Growth Strategy which would help boost social cohesion among South Africans and grow the local tourism sector.
Added to this the department had last year developed rural and culture heritage strategies to attract more tourists to outlying regions of the country.
The department is also working on possible tourism scenarios for 2030, to ensure that the sector receives sufficient support.
Van Schalkwyk said the Tourism Empowerment Council of SA would this year be appointed to monitor the implementation of the tourism BEE charter.
He said the Tourism Grading Council had introduced newer stricter grading criteria and that 1 565 new establishments had so far been graded under the new criteria.