The Democratic Alliance (DA) has issued a statement saying that Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has no clue as to how her industry works.
This comes after comments she made during a National Assembly plenary session on Tuesday 23 June.
MINISTER HAS NO CLUE ABOUT THE INDUSTRY
DA Shadow Minister Manny de Freitas said that in a reply to oral questions posed to her, Kubayi-Ngubane described how the Department of Tourism would be providing a platform for online promotion of products by small and medium tourism enterprises that sell products such as clothing, handcraft and art.
"Tourists are not interested in online shopping because they already have other platforms available for this purpose. The tourism industry offers services and products that is primarily about an experience," said De Freitas.
"Tourists purchase arts, crafts and souvenirs as a memento of their experience. The Minister is delusional if she thinks that potential tourists would purchase these mementoes online when they have not travelled to and experienced the specific location," added De Freitas.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) is of the view that a "more logical and budget-efficient effort" would be to promote the websites from which these tourism enterprises operate so that tourists are encouraged to visit their websites; explore future holiday destinations; and book their next trip.
'ONLINE SOUVENIRS NOT THE AMBIT OF TOURISM'
De Freitas said the online selling of souvenirs is not in the ambit of tourism.
"Moreover, there are numerous government-sponsored tourism websites which have been left to wreck and ruin due to the government's lack of maintenance, upgrades and lack of political will. The DA urges the department to rather upgrade these websites and [make] it attractive for tourists to visit," said De Freitas.
The DA said creating a brand-new online portal is another example of how the ANC government "would rather waste taxpayer's money illogically, instead of doing what it should do to attract visitors to visit tourist sites."
"The Department of Tourism's job is to get people away from their computers and to get them to tour and visit South Africa. The Minister simply doesn't understand this. It is no wonder that tourism enterprises are crashing and burning while thousands continue to lose their jobs thanks to tourism not opening up because of [the] government's lockdown regulations," added De Freitas.
The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) also recently indicated that 60% of tourism takes place from September to March. Government is, therefore, under immense pressure to act quickly.
On 10 June, the DA said government should provide guidance on opening up dates so that bookings can be taken immediately.
"Should no such guidance be provided it will mean that tourism will be generally inactive for most of 2021 which will annihilate tourism completely," said De Freitas.