Premier's Breakfast Session with the Tourism Industry

NOTES FOR THE PREMIER OF THE NORTHERN CAPE, MS HAZEL JENKINS ON THE OCCASSION OF THE BREAKFAST SESSION WITH THE TOURISM INDUSTRY

I welcome this opportunity to address the hospitality Industry for I believe I have a good appreciation of the importance of the industry to the Provincial and Local economy.

This interactive session is part of the positive trend of our new Administration to engage with all sectors of our society, including our hospitality Industry.

Government identified the potential of tourism as a major contributor to economic recovery and expansion. Our interaction here today is to ensure that the steady and healthy growth of the Northern Cape tourism industry continues into the future.

In tourism, as in every other business, self-critical and appraisal is an essential ingredient. It is up to us to ensure that our prices remain competitive, that we live up to our reputation as a friendly and welcoming people and that our visitors are served with civility and warmth.
Some of the Challenges that we identified is that the tourism sector in the Northern Cape Province is fragmented, widely dispersed across the province within various industries. This structural situation impedes the industry`s development, as it lacks the capacity to act with a strong single voice on common interests. This breakfast meeting has been convened to address how the tourism industry in the province can be organized as a single voice.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation the contribution of the tourism industry to climate change is in the region of 5%. Tourism has therefore been identified as one of the many sectors that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The Northern Cape, whose natural and biodiversity as well as its cultural heritage serves as the backbone of the tourism industry, faces the threat of extinction due to the relocation and the destruction of plants and animals endemic to the province due to hot temperatures and changing weather patterns.
The tourism industry in the province therefore needs a framework for action on climate change which aims to assist the industry to build resilience and capacity to adapt to climate change impacts.
There is a need to adapt to energy and water saving technologies that will at the end of the day save the tourism operators from huge financial loss.
The tourism industry has also been hit hard by the recession. This is indeed a time where government and the tourism industry need to work together and find solutions to the impact of the recession. We need to honestly measure the impact of the recession on the tourism industry and discuss at the breakfast meeting problems that the industry face as a result of the recession and also possible solutions or processes that needs to be put in place to assist the industry, especially in view of the looming 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Partnership between government and the tourism industry is needed to address the burning challenge of accessibility to travel around and from the province. Our partnership should be of such a nature that we engage airlines, road transport and rail operators on a consistent and continuous basis to find solutions on accessibility to the Northern Cape. This includes making the Northern Cape accessible in terms of air, rail and road transport.

I am also aware that many of you do not see the importance of obtaining a Tourism Council grading for your bed and breakfast, guesthouse, hunting lodge or hotel, especially when you own a small establishment, but it’s actually vital for your long term success. Tourists and business travellers alike are more likely to stay in star graded establishments than one without grading, as these tourists can be assured of the predictable and guaranteed levels of service.
I wish to concur with the National Minister of Tourism Mr Martinus van Schalkwyk that “The quality assurance credibility of South Africa is of utmost importance and will be a very important factor in our successful hosting of the Soccer World Cup in 2010, as well as the continued growth of the tourism sector beyond 2010.” As a government we are implementing steps to make sure that we build on our reputation for excellence.

As the Northern Cape we are also looking forward to hosting the Bloodhound Project in 2011 which is the latest attempt on the world Land Speed Record with a car a capable of achieving 1,000 mph or (1600 km/h)

Let us all say that in the spirit of working together we can do more!

I THANK YOU

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