The controversial tourism charter re-visited

By SYDNEY MORWENG

The contentious tourism transformation in South Africa will soon be under microscope in determining how far it has gone to develop and integrate the void which has been created within the tourism sector.

The Tourism Charter initiated in 1996 and labeled by some as ‘unconducive’ will gauge whether tourism is really benefitting the masses, thus the National Department of Tourism (NDT) together with the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) will embark on a survey to measure the state of transformation in the tourism sector in the country.

Since the introduction of new government administration in 1994, the control and benefits of tourism has and still in the hands of the minority, something which has irked the masses in the country.

Lester Ntsabo, Lengau Tours owner told SPORTS FOCUS that transformation within the sector is moving at snail-pace and its frustrating.

“Encouraging our youth’s to consider tourism as one of the best employers in the country is of vital importance but how does one explain to them that, the same sector does not want to change and it’s still exclusive?” he asked.  

Asked what does transformation meant to his business, Ntsabo said, it has to do with who you know and how well connected you are.

According to the department, the survey will be conducted from November and will end in December 2010. South Africa will soon have a ‘tool’ to measure how South Africa’s tourism industry has implemented Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE).

It’s unfortunate that some of the SMME’s are not versed with issues of BEE ratings owing to limited information and knowledge, something which has hampered their businesses.   

Transformation in the tourism sector is said to be moving at a slow pace and the transformation of the sector will contribute to the development of our economy and alleviate poverty.

The National Tourism Sector Strategy requires that the sector should achieve a 70% target by 2014.  This is far-fetched and would seem highly impossible because of bottle-neck issues which will be not easy to transform.

According to the department of National Tourism, the results of the survey will be released by February 2011 and will show how businesses in the tourism sector have responded to Black Economic Empowerment, and to what extent do they comply with the targets as set out in the Tourism Charter.

The survey will also uncover both the challenges that businesses experience as well as the type of support they require.

Unless Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk put his foot down and draw the line, this will continue unabated for the next 12 donkey years to come.   

B-BBEE aims to create successful businesses in South Africa which are representative of the broader demographics within South Africa, and which provide opportunities for those people who were historically disadvantaged.

It seeks to address issues such as ownership and control of businesses by these historically disadvantaged people. The Tourism Charter that was established in 1996 endorses this legislation and sets specific targets for how B-BBEE is implemented in the tourism industry.

Citizen Surveys, which has been contracted to conduct survey on behalf of the department, will have to convince the public what they have collated is reputable and inclusive.

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