By SYDNEY MORWENG
Sandton, South Africa
Outlining the agency’s report, and the successful hosting of the World Cup Ndabeni, said although they’ve managed to overcome the contentious issue of merger between the parks board and tourism within the province, the business fundamentals underpinning MTPA and the positioning is well on track thus far and the 2016 target will be achieved if funding and partnerships with relevant stakeholders is maintained.
According to the report, the Board of Directors at MTPA approved the 2009/10 Annual Performance Plan, which incorporated business at the cost of R266, 691 million as compared to R214, 416 million in 2008/09 financial year end.
It further pointed out that, an extra R30 million was allocated to address programme budget challenges experienced by the agency.
“Although our budget has been rationalized to focus on key strategic projects, we have as part of achievements managed to finalize land claims and co-management with 4 game reserves; the launch of Tourism Airlift Strategy in May this year has been a success with large airline companies such as Comair using the Kruger Park/Mpumalanga Airport; and the recent infrastructural investment worth R9million for the upgrade of Manyeleti Game reserve signifies the commitment from the agency,” says Ndabeni.
“Having lobbied countries to use the province as base-camp during the WC has paid dividends because we have managed to increase international flights, amongst others. This means large investment inputs are showing massive returns for the province.
However we need to spend sleepless nights on a turn-around around strategy for domestic visit.”
On planning phases towards 2016 key priorities such as funding and activation of the Tourism Plan; revenue strategy, rural development strategy, tourism Airlift strategy, events and activation of commercialization strategies have been approved by the board for the 2010/2011 financial year.
Asked why always have to rely on state for budget, Sabelo Mahlalela, chairperson of the board, said the sooner we ‘normalize’ and enter the 3 D Institution stage-which allows an organisation to generate funds for themselves- we will be in position to facilitate, monitor and fast track projects because we will have funds in our disposal.
According to him this is a unique concept which will work in “generating owns revenue” and also emphasizing accountability and transparency which will guide the agency.
Some of the success stories at the agency are that since the signing of agreement with Comair, international arrivals increased by slight margin from 1,3million in 2009 to R1,4 million in 2010, sustained jobs increased to 154, 528 in 2010 from 130, 000 in 2009.
Having caused unequivocal hype within the tourism sector the 102 Days Quick Win Programme launched last year as a fast track Turn Around strategy was a success, as well.
However, domestic trips were dealt a blow having plummeted from 1, 8 million trips in 2009 to 0, 8 in 2010. As a result, this prompted the agency to revisit their domestic tourism campaigns.
Conversely, rural tourism development strategies which will be classified as your ‘unpopular’ or less visited areas in the far-flung regions in Mpumalanga will also receive attention and some facelift as part of conscientious and tourism emancipation from MTPA.
Sho’t Left campaign was heavily criticized for not doing enough in promoting domestic tourism in the province hence the MP For Life concept was initiated as a tool to capture young audience from the 3-5 LSM. However, it will only roll out next year.