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Stemme
WC tourism needs new life

Stats SA reports that the tourism sector contributed 2,8% (or R130 billion) to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017, making it larger than the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry.

According to Fin24, travel and tourism supported 1,5 million jobs in SA in 2017 – 9.5% of total employment in the country.

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) report estimates that by 2028 almost 2,1 million jobs in SA will depend on travel and tourism.

We can continue further into how many West Coast businesses benefit from the tourism industry. But the question we need to be asking is, why can the local tourism organisation not get it right? In 2016 the Saldanha Bay Tourism Organisation almost closed its doors, placing all their employees on retrenchment notice. A new strategy was developed with input from the public and businesses and an agreement was apparently reached with the municipality, who spent an excess of R2 million on the organisation in the last financial year. (Read the articles on pages 1 and 5.)

The last three years have been plagued with a to and fro of ideas and staff protests, but no real evidence of an actual strategy being implemented.

One just has to look at the neighbouring tourism organisations to see the difference. In order for the West Coast to benefit from the opportunities afforded by the tourism industry, change needs to happen. That begins with the dissolving of the current executive committee and starting anew.

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