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Minister de Lille committed to partnerships geared towards boosting tourism

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By Ragheema Mclean

Newly re-appointed Minister of Tourism Patricia de Lille, alongside Deputy Minister Maggie Sotyu, has reiterated their dedication to steering the Department of Tourism and collaborating with all tourism sector partners to foster continued growth.

Speaking on VOC Breakfast, de Lille said she is committed to maintaining the synergy between government and the private sector to boost tourism.

“It is always an honor and a privilege to serve the people of South Africa. I have been the Minister of Tourism for the past 14 months, and I am very pleased to continue the work I started,” de Lille stated.

She continued, “The deputy minister and I reaffirmed our commitment to leading the department and all tourism sector stakeholders to achieve sustained growth in the sector.”

de Lille highlighted that the tourism sector is thriving as tourism arrivals to South Africa increased over the past year.

“In 2023, in partnership with the private sector, we successfully drove growth and transformation in the sector, welcoming over 5.8 million visitors to our country.”

However, she also acknowledged the need for further efforts to enhance tourism.

“We recognize that much more must be done in collaboration with the private sector, especially in enhancing market access for small and medium-sized enterprises.”

Addressing visa issues, de Lille mentioned her ongoing work with the department of Home Affairs.

“I have been addressing visa challenges, particularly for major source markets like India, China, and Nigeria. This work must continue within the new administration.”

Furthermore, she noted that collaboration with organizations like the South African Township and Village Tourism Association (SATOVITO) is crucial to broaden the scope of what South African offers to visitors.

“I have started working with an organization called the SATOVITO – they represent tourism sector in townships, villages and small dorpies.”

“They represent the tourism sector in townships, villages, and small towns, helping us diversify our tourism offerings beyond traditional attractions like safaris and Table Mountain.”

“We want visitors to explore not just Cape Town’s iconic sights but also the beauty within our communities. We need to bring tourists into our communities as well.,” she added.

However, she said that the issue of safety remains a priority and that the department aims to effectively address and implement structures that improve the safety of tourists.

“Last year, we appointed 2,400 young people as tourism monitors on Table Mountain and around the peninsula. We need to continue these efforts by working closely with communities.”

VOC News

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