As the country concluded its Tourism Month campaign, the Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu today hosted a virtual stakeholder engagement forum which created a platform for robust dialogue on accelerating the sector recovery efforts.
Minister Sisulu received a synopsis of the impact, challenges and proposed collaborative interventions from industry and stakeholders representing the aviation, hospitality, restaurant, food and beverage, and service operators including tour guides and travels as well as the events and exhibitions industries amongst others.
Tourism expenditure and contribution to GDP and the number of jobs supported by the sector remains significant with its value chain cascading through many sectors. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the local and global tourism sector finds itself in a state of flux.
The Minister is committed to periodic consultations and feedback – “While the sector continues to operate within the parameters of the “new normal”, it remains important to periodically take stock of the impact of the ongoing pandemic. By embracing the successes and addressing the challenges, we are able to chart the way forward. Effective monitoring and evaluation will therefore inform our decisions on the way forward.”
Today’s conversation was honest, candid and filled with emotion as this sector experienced much collateral damage and the Minister was able to gauge a better understanding of the challenges affecting the industry as well as the views on recovery.
“I remain committed to more engagements and will create a platform for continuous discussion through the establishment of a “Recovery War Room” in the form of a consultative platform and think-tank for sharing ideas and solutions, as well as remobilising all our resources and networks towards a social compact for recovery that is government led, industry driven and inclusive of our communities,” announced Minister Sisulu.
The tourism sector remains a significant economic pillar that has demonstrated its resilience and capacity to rebound. The Minister thanked all stakeholders for the opportunity to deliberate on key issues that require further interventions and in particular their determination and tenacity in keeping the sector afloat.