5 May 2011
President Jacob Zuma gave the promotion of South Africa’s burgeoning tourism industry a boost by signing “The Golden Book”, a campaign by global tourism pacesetters, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town on Wednesday.
Zuma became the first African head of state to make an entry in the book, which is a joint initiative by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) to position travel and tourism higher in the global agenda.
The campaign seeks to mobilise recognition and support for travel and tourism from world leaders by demonstrating its crucial role in economic growth, job creation and development.
“We take tourism very seriously in this country, given its job creation potential,” Zuma said. “That is why we have identified tourism as one of the six job drivers in our New Growth Path framework.
“Tourism’s contribution to the GDP of our economy has increased from just less than five percent in 1994 to an estimated 7.7 percent in 2010.”
Zuma said the country’s tourism sector was well placed to address unemployment “given its labour-intensive nature.”
The President said tourism jobs were not only created in the travel and tourism industry, but also in the manufacturing, financial services, agriculture, healthcare and others areas of the economy.
South Africa aims to increase the number of foreign arrivals from 7-million in 2009 to 15-million by 2020.
“We plan to increase tourism’s total contribution to the economy from R189-billion in 2009 to R499-billion by 2020,” Zuma said.
“Most importantly, we want to create 325 000 new tourism jobs by 2020. We will do everything possible to promote and grow the tourism sector so that we can achieve these developmental goals.”
Among those who attended the signing ceremony were WTTC President David Scowsill, UNWTO ethics committee president Dawid de Villiers, and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk.
The signing took place on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa conference being held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.