Tourism council calls on Sisulu to prioritise rekindling international tourism

The president moved Sisulu out of her position as human settlements and water minister to the tourism portfolio.

Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Tourism Business Council on Monday called on Lindiwe Sisulu to hit the ground running in her new portfolio.

President Cyril Ramaphosa moved Sisulu out of her position as human settlements and water minister to the tourism portfolio.

In years gone by, tourism had contributed more than a tenth of South Africa's GDP but post pandemic and associated lockdowns, the industry was struggling.

CEO of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa Tshifhiwa Tshivengwa said there were several issues that needed to be addressed, including the issuing of transport permits and some system to track vaccinations that didn't rely on a handwritten card.

“We need to get into the digital space where we can connect the EVDS system so that we can share that information with third parties who are able to verify. We need to do that fast; it is an urgent matter.”

Tshivengwa said it was vitally important that South Africa rekindle international tourism, not only by actively lobbying to get off no-travel lists but also by addressing issues of safety.

“It has to do with the brand image; the fact that we had last month we had lootings and riots is a negative brand image across the world. So, we need to reassure travellers that they should be able to travel to South Africa.”

He said Sisulu's experience as Minister of International relations should stand her in good stead in this regard.

But there are urgent functional issues to address, too.

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