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Tourism associations united in support of Minister Patricia de Lille’s approach to tourism growth

Leading tourism associations of South Africa – ASATA, FEDHASA, SATSA, SAVRALA and SAACI – stand together in full support of Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille and the constructive approach she has taken to engage the private sector since taking office.

This comes as the global tourism community converges on London at World Travel Market this week with the country’s private and public sector working together to promote South Africa as a leading tourism destination.

Far from “destroying tourism” as suggested in a recent media report, Minister de Lille has ushered in a new era of open communication and collaboration between the public and private sectors. Her leadership has established the structured engagement desperately needed to synergise common objectives of nurturing tourism growth and showcasing South Africa as a world-class destination.

Expressing his full support for appointed South African Tourism board chair Tim Harris and acting CEO, Nombulelo Guliwe, David Frost, CEO of SATSA noted: “Minister de Lille has come into this portfolio with a desire to garner insights. She has engaged the private sector – the engines of tourism – and sought our opinions on the pressure points and fault lines needing urgent attention after years of deterioration.”

This sentiment was echoed by the leadership of ASATA, FEDHASA, SAVRALA, and SAACI, who praised the Minister’s responsiveness and willingness to act on issues raised by industry partners for the betterment of the sector.

Said Otto de Vries, CEO of ASATA: “Minister de Lille has demonstrated genuine intent to lead and engage on matters impacting our industry. We have seen responsiveness to the concerns raised and action taken to intervene on critical issues.”

Rosemary Anderson, National Chair of FEDHASA added: “The Minister’s willingness to promptly address problems raised by industry has been a breath of fresh air. We are grateful for her interventions on matters like the diesel rebate, Tourism Incentive Programme, and visa systems which would smooth the way for our sector to rebuild.”

Sandile Ntseoane, GM SAVRALA, agreed that Minister de Lille has been “present” and “willing to engage” the industry to help resolve obstacles hindering tourism growth. “Amongst others, Minister de Lille has supported us in an important initiative relating to Tourism Safety, which threatens our industry.

“Working closely with us, the industry (through the TBCSA) and Minister de Lille have been instrumental in opening a National Tourism Operations Centre linked to Business Against Crime in JHB where we now have a 24/7 emergency / incident management desk.”

Further, Minister de Lille’s actions to strengthen transparency, establish financial controls, and appoint leadership with private sector expertise to critical tourism entities are courageous first steps to stabilising and optimising their effectiveness, they said.

Glenton de Kock, CEO of SAACI summarised: “The structured engagement between public and private sector has never been stronger. For tourism to succeed, this relationship must be upheld and strengthened in the way Minister de Lille has championed.”

We collectively commend the Minister for her consultative approach and stand united in our ongoing support. When public and private sectors work together, South African tourism wins.

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