APPROVAL OF TOURISM STRATEGY PAVES WAY FOR DEVELOPMENT

PRETORIA, Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa says Cabinet's approval of the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) 2016-2026 is a positive response to the country's development agenda.

This approval comes at a particularly exciting time for tourism globally and in South Africa. Tourism is a growth sector and generator of jobs, and tourism destinations need to position themselves to take advantage of this sector's growth trajectory. The NTSS is therefore well placed to respond to the country's development imperatives and transformation agenda, said Minister Xasa on Monday.

Cabinet announced its decision to approve the strategy on 7 December.

The NTSS is a sector-wide strategy designed to boost the potential contribution of tourism to national development objectives and the aspirations of the country, as envisioned in the National Development Plan (NDP).

It was published in 2011 as a 10-year strategy aimed at increasing tourism's direct contribution to the economy and creating jobs in the sector.

In 2015, the Department of Tourism commissioned the review of the NTSS to ensure that the strategy remains relevant in a rapidly changing global environment. The review also set out to align the NTSS to the NDP and the Tourism Act 3 of 2014. The process culminated in the second iteration of the NTSS (NTSS 2016 � 2026).

Through the strategy, we aim to further increase the direct contribution of tourism to the economy through partnerships, research based collaborative planning, and the implementation of agreed priority actions underpinned by responsible Tourism, said Minister Xasa.

The NTSS is reinforced by five strategic pillars; Effective Marketing, Facilitating Ease of Access, Visitor Experience, Destination Management and Broad Based Benefits. The strategy also outlines comprehensive action plans for implementation by various stakeholders within the tourism value chain.

The NTSS has set clear targets in respect of increasing the direct contribution of tourism to the GDP from R118 billion in 2015 to R302 billion in 2026, while increasing direct jobs supported by the sector from 702 824 to one million, said Minister Xasa.

The Department of Tourism will lead, support, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the NTSS. In addition, the strategy makes way for public and private sector participation to ensure coordinated implementation efforts.

I would like to convey my gratitude to the panel of experts that oversaw the process, as well as the public and private sector stakeholders, who took part in the revision of the NTSS. It is without a doubt [that it is] only through these kinds of partnerships that we can effectively implement this strategy and 'Do Tourism' successfully, said the Minister.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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