Grow­ing a sus­tain­able coastal and ma­rine tourism des­ti­na­tion

Vuk'uzenzele - - General - Ce­cilia de Vos Bel­graver

CoasTal aND ma­riNe tourism is ex­pected to cre­ate about 116 000 direct jobs by 2026, re­duc­ing poverty, in­equal­ity and un­em­ploy­ment.

south Africa’s tourism sec­tor is in­tent on of­fer­ing do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional trav­ellers world-class ma­rine and coastal tourism op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Th­ese op­por­tu­ni­ties will ex­pand the op­tions avail­able to trav­ellers and in­crease the so­cio-eco­nomic value of tourism to South Africans.

Tourism is an ex­tremely im­por­tant con­trib­u­tor to South Africa’s econ­omy. It is one of the big­gest driv­ers of job cre­ation in South Africa and con­trib­u­tors to the Gross Do­mes­tic Prod­uct (GDP). This is ac­cord­ing to Statis­tics SA’s lat­est re­lease of its Tourism Satel­lite Ac­count for South Africa re­port.

In Au­gust Cab­i­net ap­proved the Coastal and Ma­rine Tourism Im­ple­men­ta­tion Plan (CMTIP) which was drawn up by var­i­ous stake­hold­ers in the tourism sec­tor, led by the Depart­ment of Tourism.

The vi­sion is to grow a world­class and sus­tain­able coastal and ma­rine tourism des­ti­na­tion that makes the most of South Africa’s com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage in na­ture, cul­ture and her­itage.

Min­is­ter of Tourism Tokozile Xasa said, “The coastal and ma­rine tourism sec­tor will con­trib­ute about R21.4 bil­lion to the GDP and cre­ate about 116 000 direct jobs by 2026, thus re­duc­ing poverty, in­equal­ity and un­em­ploy­ment, while con­tribut­ing to sus­tain­able liveli­hoods and devel­op­ment.

“Th­ese es­ti­mates are con­ser­va­tive as they are grow­ing off a low 2015 base of R11.9 bil­lion direct con­tri­bu­tion to the GDP and 64 400 direct jobs.”

Six pri­or­ity ar­eas

In im­ple­ment­ing the CMTIP the fo­cus will be on pri­ori­tis­ing des­ti­na­tions rather than in­di­vid­ual prod­ucts or tourism projects.

In the first five years of im­ple­men­ta­tion the fol­low­ing nodes (ge­o­graphic des­ti­na­tions) will be tar­geted:

• Node 1: Dur­ban and sur­rounds (KwaZulu-Natal). • Node 2: Umkhanyakude District in­clud­ing Umh­labuyalin­gana and sur­rounds (KwaZulu-Natal).

• Node 3: Port St Johns to Cof­fee Bay (East­ern Cape). • Node 4: East Lon­don, Port El­iz­a­beth and sur­rounds (East­ern Cape). • Node 5: Cape Town and sur­rounds (Western Cape). • Node 6: West Coast and sur­rounds (North­ern Cape). Ini­tia­tives in th­ese nodes cover six themes, namely mar­ket­ing, events and routes; reg­u­la­tions and per­mit­ting; re­search and spa­tial plan­ning; beach precinct devel­op­ment, tourism in­fra­struc­ture and tourism safety; mar­itime tourism; and skills devel­op­ment.

The Blue Flag Beaches Pro­gramme, Boat-based Whale Watch­ing and Shark Cage Div­ing, and Of­froad Ve­hi­cle 4x4 Beach Driv­ing projects will be in­cluded in the CMTIP’s first phase.

Min­is­ter Xasa thanked all stake­hold­ers who helped de­velop de­tailed plans for the CMTIP, point­ing out that its suc­cess­ful im­ple­men­ta­tion de­pends on part­ner­ships. “To­gether We Do Tourism,” con­cluded Min­is­ter Xasa.

Port El­iz­a­beth is one of the pri­or­ity ar­eas.

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