South Africa Tourism Ministry and African Tourism Board Officials meet and agree with SA President Cyril Ramaphosa

African Tourism Board Vice President Cuthbert Ncube today at Indaba in Durban met with the Honorable Deputy Minister of Tourism for the Republic of South Africa, Elizabeth Thabethe; Her Excellency Ms. Lulu Marry Theresa Xingwana, the South African Ambassador to Ghana, Vice President Pamella Matondo of Women in Business & Tourism Africa; and Ms. Eunice Ogbugo, the President of Women in Business & Tourism Africa.

They threw their weight behind a more cohesive approach within the Tourism sector, as this is the only industry that breaks the barriers by its economic factors.

Deputy Minister of Tourism Thabethe previously served as the Deputy Minister of Small Business Development. She was born on September 26, 1959 and has been a Member of Parliament since 1994. She completed a Certificate in Economics from the University of South Africa (UNISA) and completed her Advanced Diploma in Economics from the University of the Western Cape (UWC). She was a Co-coordinator of the East Rand Women’s League RTT structure; a member of the ANC National Parliamentary Caucus, Gauteng Provincial Whip; and a House Whip from 1996 to 2004. She chaired the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs and Tourism between 2004 and June 2005 but was also a Member of the Committees on Labour and Trade and Industry.

All agreed that tourism plays an important roll on local, national, and international levels, although it shouldn’t form the core element of a community’s economy, but it should be better suited to play a supplementary role to help diversify community economic activities.

They further agreed tourism has become a source of income generation for many communities seeking ways to improve their livelihoods.

The Deputy Minister pointed out that tourism and its impacts is a multidimensional phenomenon that encompasses economic, social, cultural, sports, ecological, environmental, and political forces.

The sense of community plays an important role in fostering communities and may enhance long-term sustainability as a broad basis for Tourism development planning.

The Deputy Minister’s sentiments were echoed by the ambassador, who said that Africa should echo with one voice as a united force and in particular in bringing their synergies together and breaking the barriers of segmentation.

The Deputy Minister has vast experience both in the public and private sectors.

Unrelated, but sharing the basic concept and theme of the African Tourism Board as a one destination Africa, the idea of such a United Africa was also mentioned by the President of the Republic of South Africa  His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa in his closing remarks for Indaba in which he emphasized the need of bringing Africa’s jewels in one basket and packaging them. He said Africa has the most majestic scenery from the ancient Sahara desert, to the mountain highlands, to the Savan grasslands, to the southern continent where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic in a confluence of beautiful water activity, and to the 135 World Heritage sites in Africa.

The President emphasized the need to embrace Education Tourism and Health Tourism as well as Religious Tourism as a basis for people to build their travel around.

The President said, “Tourism is a new gold ready to be explored in Africa. Tourism is an industry that has tremendous potential for further growth and job creation.”

The African Tourism Board is planning to follow up with the Deputy Minister shortly to explore her support of ATB.