President Jacob Zuma officially opened Indaba and used the opportunity as a platform to discuss the role tourism can play in job creation.
He said: “Tourism’s labour absorption capacity remains a great weapon against unemployment. It therefore serves us well to look at tourism as a diversification opportunity for the continent’s economy because traditional sectors are experiencing challenges.
The President also addressed the issue of transformation and said that black entrepreneurs will be targeted to be the leaders in growing emerging markets in Asia and the Middle East through programmes run by SA Tourism. He added that government is hoping to achieve at least a 30% black ownership of the tourism industry.
Finally, Zuma also discussed the importance of a continent-wide approach to addressing tourism matters, and the need for a seamless travel experience to be offered across the continent. This will include the improvement of road and rail connectivity, as well as increased airlift. “We need more aviation connectivity so that ultimately, one does not need to fly to Europe first before reaching a North African destination from South Africa,” he said