Daily News - - METRO - ZOUBAIR AYOOB [email protected]

TOURISM is of­ten touted as a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to GDP, as a gate­way for the pre­vi­ously dis­ad­van­taged to en­ter the busi­ness space, and as a cre­ator of jobs.

Ac­cord­ing to Sta­tis­tics SA, in March SA Tourism chief ex­ec­u­tive Sisa Nt­shona said tourism was vi­tally im­por­tant to the econ­omy, and called for the sec­tor to be nur­tured for sus­tained and in­clu­sive growth.

Stats SA data shows how im­por­tant tourism is.

The tourism sec­tor di­rectly con­trib­uted 2.9% to GDP in 2016, mak­ing the sec­tor a larger con­trib­u­tor than agri­cul­ture.

In ad­di­tion, de­spite chal­lenges in the tourism in­dus­try over the last few years, it added just over 31000 net new jobs in 2017 (peo­ple di­rectly en­gaged in pro­duc­ing goods and ser­vices pur­chased by vis­i­tors) and con­trib­uted about R270­bil­lion to the econ­omy.

Ev­i­dently this is an in­dus­try to be nur­tured and ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble should be done to en­cour­age its growth.

With the fes­tive sea­son upon us, KwaZulu-Natal – and es­pe­cially the coast – will be ex­pect­ing its an­nual bounty in the form of thou­sands of vis­i­tors from Gaut­eng and else­where who will spend their hol­i­days – and money – here.

Just as many homes are be­ing spruced up now to re­ceive vis­i­tors, it’s the duty of all busi­nesses, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and ser­vice de­part­ments to en­sure that their fa­cil­i­ties are in tip-top shape to re­ceive those we should con­sider guests, and not just cash cows.

Let’s en­sure we give them a good story to take back home.

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