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.