National treasury highlights tourism plans in new policy document : BDO responds
30 August 2019
The tourism component of the recently released National Treasury Economic Strategy is encouragingly on point, says Christelle Grohmann, Director at BDO Advisory. Currently attending the African Tourism Leadership Forum in Durban, Grohmann highlights some key points emanating from the discussion by 800 tourism stakeholders from 20 African countries over the last two days:
- Tourism requires stronger advocacy to ensure government in Africa understands the importance of the industry and its ability not just for economic growth but for breaking down country barriers.
- Tourism is about connecting and interacting not just with the destination but with people within it.
- Over 40% of Africa’s population is below the age of 25. It is imperative to bring them into the tourism journey as they are not only the tourists of tomorrow but also tourism workers, investors, operators and owners of the future.
- Visa issues remain one of the largest concerns, particularly for intra African travel. 15% of the delegates for ATLF2019 (about 150 people) could not attend due to visa declines or issues. These are either entrepreneurs or government officials and represent a significant loss in tourism revenue. If every international event experiences the same issue, the extent of revenue and confidence in the destination lost is significant.
- International competition between tourism destinations is becoming tougher and our agencies need to be resilient and look at coopetition within Africa in order to support each other, learn from each other and rotate events and tourists where possible. A win for the continent is a win for all countries on the continent.
Grohmann is therefore excited to see that the Economic Strategy:
- recognises the contribution of tourism to the country and sees its even greater potential.
- Highlights the lower barriers to entry which means it is particularly able to absorb younger players.
- Identifies visa regulations as a major issue curbing growth.
- Recognises that tourism agencies need support to take on the global competitors.
We trust that the strategy will now move to actions by the tourism agencies which can only be to the benefit of our tourism industry, our country and our citizens.
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