UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

 

ALARMING DECLINE IN TOURISM INDUSTRY

STATEMENT ISSUED BY MTUTUZELI MBADI, MP
UDM SPOKESPERSON FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM

A report by an auditing firm indicates that overall foreign visitor numbers to SA have declined for the first time in 15 years. This report, which comes shortly after government launched its high-profile tourism campaign, paints a grim picture. The report is in sharp contrast to the Minister's claims that the tourism industry is "booming."

It is apt that such news should surface during Tourism month. This is a timely warning that tourism, and its ability to create jobs, is not a given. Far more needs to be done, taking it for granted is simply not an option.

It is patently obvious when one looks at the facts that all is not well, contrary to government claims. Statistics indicate that between January and July this year the average hotel occupancy was 61.9%. This is a decline from 63.1% over the same period last year. International arrivals have dropped dramatically over the past three years from 9.5% to 2.2% in year-on-year growth. Even overseas tourist arrivals have declined from 12% in 1998 to a mere 4% last year.

The UDM urges the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism to address the undeniable underperformance in one of South Africa's most important industries. The reasons for this can be found in high crime, and bad publicity around issues of corruption, HIV/AIDS and Zimbabwe. Take it to Cabinet Minister Moosa and show your colleagues the results, tens of thousands of jobs are on the line.

Issued by:
Prof. Mtutuzeli Mbadi, MP
UDM Spokesperson on Environmental Affairs and Tourism
082-556 5048

Cape Town
05 September 2001