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South Africa highly praised at the WTTC Africa Leaders Forum

The inaugural WTTC Africa Leaders Forum lauded the country for the progress made in travel and tourism at its inaugural Africa Leaders Forum held in Stellenbosch to discuss the key issues facing our travel and tourism sector.
Mention was made of South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa as “travel and tourism job creation champion” by Gloria Guevara, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

A first for Africa

South Africa was honoured to be the first African country to host the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Africa Leaders Forum. Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, expressed his gratitude at this prestigious opportunity and noted the honour given to South Africa to showcase the potential offered by our country for travel and tourism opportunities.

The leaders forum hosted tourism ministers, regional and global travel experts, CEOs, and travel executives from across the continent.

The forum also provided an exclusive opportunity for networking among tourism industry leaders which evoked discussions that are key to job creation within the industry as well as to the growth and development.

Our diverse environments and cultures as well as cheap domestic flights across South Africa create natural tourisms boosts.

President Ramaphosa champions tourism

“In his State of the Nation address in February this year, President Ramaphosa not only mentioned the “incredible opportunities” of travel and tourism, he also set a powerful target to double the number of people directly employed in our sector from 700,000 to 1,4 million,” said Gloria Guevara, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

“Travel and tourism is, without doubt, South Africa’s greatest engine for the creation of jobs and the alleviation of poverty. It contributes to social equality, encourages the integration of women in the workplace, and enables economic self-reliance. It provides employment in parts of the country where other jobs may not exist and generates a sense of self-worth.

"We praise the Government for recognising those 'incredible opportunities' of our sector and the steps it has already taken to realise the potential."

Harnessing the potential

"The African continent has huge growth potential if we harness the tourism sector opportunities," said Hanekom.

Travel and tourism currently contributes a total of 8,9% of South Africa’s GDP and creates 726,000 jobs. This number increases exponentially when all industry factors are considered, to 1,5 million according to WTTC data which is published on an annual basis.

WTTC thanked the South Africa Ministry of Tourism for its hospitality and assistance in helping to bring the sector together to facilitate the dialogue.

"We see those opportunities falling in three broad areas: We congratulate the Government of President Ramaphosa for its efforts to reform the visa process so that more tourists from more countries can visit the country and recommend that this is rolled-out as widely as possible."

It’s worth noting at this point that the controversial rule introduced by Malusi Gigaba requiring foreign minors travelling to South Africa to produce an unabridged birth certificate to gain access into the country, was reversed with effect from 1 December 2018.

"Secondly, we support the long-held ambition to fully liberalise the continent’s air services. Finally, we see the benefits of South Africa’s continued adoption of biometrics as a way to make travel safer and more efficient."