Fedhasa gives Tourism minister's budget vote thumbs up

Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane on Tuesday outlined how the department would spend its budget, emphasising that much of it must be focused on getting the industry back on track.

FILE: Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. Picture: @Tourism_gov_za/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - The Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa) said that it was encouraged by the Tourism minister's budget vote.

Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane on Tuesday outlined how the department would spend its budget, emphasising that much of it must be focused on getting the industry back on track.

Under the COVID-19 lockdown, it suffered, along with most of the economy.

Fedhasa’s Rosemary Anderson said that one of the highlights of the budget vote was the department’s approach to attracting international conferences back to South Africa.

“They’ve already submitted 55 bids for large international meetings, conferences and exhibitions for the next few years. And I know so far, 16 of them submitted for the financial year have already been won,” Anderson said.

She added that more emphasis on this was needed.

“The department is actively going out to attract big meetings in South Africa. International travel is exactly what we need. It’s difficult to talk short-term, because we have COVID problems at the moment, but moving forward, this is what we need to do.”

She said that another positive was reforming the visa and immigration regime.

“Particularly India and China. At the moment it’s an arduous task for anyone coming from those countries to visit our country. And we know China and India are huge markets,” she said.

Meanwhile, Minister Kubayi-Ngubane said that there'd been a paradigm shift in tourism demand since the start of the pandemic from international to domestic travel.

And in the past financial year, the modest income that the sector earned was mainly derived from increased domestic travel.

The minister said that in view of this, domestic marketing efforts would be intensified in this financial year.

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