Job creation is of the utmost priority for the government and tourism can be the catalyst to make it happen, the minister said in remarks posted on the government’s website on Monday.
This came as South Africans marked the Tourism Month launched on Friday to give impetus to the industry in times of poor economic performance.
Kubayi-Ngubane highlighted the importance of Tourism Month as a means to both South Africans and visitors from outside the country’s boarders to travel and experience the country’s diverse offerings.
Tourism has the potential to boost South Africa’s economic growth and improve job creation, which requires an inclusive tourism sector, Kubayi-Ngubane said.
“We remain confident that tourism will contribute to our country turning to positive economic growth desired by our government and also contribute to more jobs to its maximum potential,” she said.
In March, a World Travel & Tourism Council report stated that South Africa has the largest tourism economy in Africa, having indirectly contributed 1.5 million jobs (9.2 per cent of South Africa’s employment) and 425.8 billion rand (about 27.9 billion U.S. dollars) in 2018.
The report also indicated that the sector accounts for 8.6 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
The government is trying to meet the target of creating 21 million jobs through tourism.
Kubayi-Ngubane said that to achieve the target, the Tourism Department would continue to work closely with the Department of Home Affairs on visa facilitation to increase tourists’ access to the country.
She also stressed the importance of working closely with police and stakeholders in the sector to address the concerns of safety.
(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)