On 30 August 2023, the Ministry of Tourism published its Green Paper on the Development and Promotion of Tourism in South Africa for public comments. The tourism sector continues to play a significant role in the South African economy in terms of employment creation and its substantial contribution to GDP. The vision of the green paper is to develop a sustainable and competitive South African economy through an inclusive, inspiring, and visitor-oriented tourism sector.
The policy objectives
- Create an enabling regulatory environment for the present and future that considers technological developments.
- Increase tourism’s contribution to the broader economy through geographic, year-round spread of visitor volumes and revenue.
- Drive increased employment and entrepreneurship as an integral part of growth efforts, with a particular focus on vulnerable groups.
- Promote a more inclusive sector through increased skills development and financial support.
- Provide for the sector’s enhanced resilience and ability to respond to crises.
- Improve the capacity for research and knowledge management to inform decision-making.
- Attract tourism investment and develop supportive tourism infrastructure.
- Ensure sustainable tourism development: economic, social, cultural, and environmental.
Key policy proposals
The green paper intends to reform and modernise the 1996 tourism white paper and focuses on the following four policy thematic areas.
Evolving former policy:
- Tourism governance and cooperation: To ensure harmonisation in the delivery of the tourism mandate by all spheres of government (national, provincial, and local).
- Safety and security management: Formulate a Tourism Safety Strategy, implement a tourism safety monitoring programme, and further explore the idea of establishing a tourism police unit.
- Transformation: The tourism industry is to align its policies with the amended Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Tourism Sector Codes. The critical levers of B-BBEE Tourism Sector Codes include ownership and management, skills development, and enterprise and supplier development, as well as socio-economic development.
Sharing platforms in the tourism sector, such as short-term rentals, are currently not regulated. Thus, the green paper hinges on embracing technology and proposing a differentiated system for the regulation of short-term rental accommodation to be established, as well as the implementation of thresholds on short-term rentals like in London and Santa Monica. In this context, Airbnb, Booking.com, and other sharing platforms are set to be regulated and required to share registration data with the government.
Policy issues for targeted growth:
Policy areas that are vital in stimulating tourism growth will be initiated, including the development of the tourism niche framework and packages to improve rural and peri-urban tourism offers.
Policy issues for sustainable growth:
The green paper proposes the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals in planning for tourism.
Interested companies who wish to submit written inputs on the Green Paper on the Development and Promotion of Tourism in South Africa are encouraged to do so within 60 days from
30 August 2023.
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