Tourism as an industry in South Africa has been one of the pillars of the economy. Even with its significant contribution to the economy, it had not always featured on the top priority agenda of the South African government.
This is however changing as South Africa’s Minister for Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane disclosed that the sector continues to attract the attention of not just the highest office of the land but from corporate South Africa to the ordinary person in the Mzansi land.
Briefing the international media about the inroads made by her Ministry since she assumed leadership of the portfolio, the legislator said , she was happy to have brought tourism to the attention of those in the upper echelons of government and moved it also to make it everyone’s business.
“One of the things we’ve been able to do is to be able to show the importance of the role of tourism in the economy, and one of my priorities when I got here was to say, can I take the portfolio, raise the profile, make sure every South African buys into the importance of tourism, have South Africans start talking about the importance of tourism,’’ she said.
To this end, the Minister said, she has devised a strategy to ensure that tourism became an unavoidable subject in national discussions.
“…the target I set at the time was before December, everybody who speaks about the economy cannot sit down without talking about tourism in their speech and we have achieved that. If you look at previous speeches by either a political or government leader, you would not find tourism featuring prominently. Right now as we speak a country everybody knows that tourism is a priority.
“We’ve managed to get that as a priority sector in government and part of it is that there is no way the President can stand and take a podium and speak about improving the economy of the country without mentioning the role of tourism,” Kubayi-Ngubane said.