Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says the adoption of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery plan (ERRP), which was a product of the NEDLAC process, was a significant step towards reaching a social compact amongst South Africa’s social partners.
“As a country, we have responded to the economic disruption through the development and adoption of what President Ramaphosa called ‘extraordinary measures’ we must take to restore our economy to inclusive growth following the devastation caused by COVID-19 to our people’s lives and our country’s economy,” Kubayi-Ngubane said.
Addressing the Black Business Council Summit earlier today, Kubayi-Ngubane said in order to create a transformed inclusive and growing economy, South Africans have to realise that their fates are intertwined.
The Summit aims to create a platform for enhanced engagement and is themed: “Black Business and its vital role in Economic Reconstruction and Recovery during and post Covid-19”.
Kubayi-Ngubane said transformative efforts are to ensure that black business plays a much more meaningful role in the economy.
The Minister said the economy will only experience sustainable and inclusive growth if in its quest to grow and pursue more profit, it draws on the entrepreneurial spirit that exists in South Africans.
“Like many other service industries, the tourism industry is a labour-intensive industry that has been devastated by the COVID -19 pandemic. The vastness of the tourism value chain means that its devastation has a significant impact on the services of the economy as whole.
“The slow recovery that the sector is experiencing is another reason for the declining job opportunities,” Kubayi-Ngubane said.
Kubayi-Ngubane said in 2020, the volume of tourists decreased by 72.6% from 10.2 million in 2019 to 2.8 million in 2020.
“The distribution of tourists by region of residence shows that 74.8% of the tourists who arrived in South Africa in 2020 were residents of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries and 1.5% were from ‘other’ African countries.
“The decline in the number of international arrivals led to the decrease in income from accommodation by 35.9% year-on-year in March 2021.
“However, after embarking on a road to recovery in partnership with the private sector, we saw a surge in numbers of domestic travellers over Easter which translated into an income increase of 37.6% from accommodation month-on-month in March 2021.
“This is one of the areas identified by the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan which was developed in partnership between government and private sector. The green shoots that we saw in the tourism sector were a clear indication that if we work together as social partners, we can get our economy back on the growth trajectory,” Kubayi-Ngubane said.
Kubayi-Ngubane said the pandemic has so far left countries facing tremendous economic pain and inequality which can only be overcome through collective action.Editor@tech-talk.co.za