- The second annual South African National Tourism Conference had gathered the business sector, government and representatives of civil society. The stakeholders agreed to follow their current road to success and expressed confidence in the country's future tourism growth.
The Conference - held at Thaba Nchu Sun, Free State Province - was the last to be led by the popular Tourism Minister Mohammed Valli Moosa, who has announced that he will step down. The conference delegates gave their "renewed commitment to further enhance South Africa's global competitiveness and improve the country's image as a world-class, value for money tourism destination."
The delegates adopted a declaration that reaffirmed their dedication to improve the county's tourism product, quality of service to tourists as well as the transformation of the industry.
They noted with pride "the huge strides South Africa has made in positioning tourism as one of the top economic sectors to generate economic growth, sustainable, good quality jobs and in creating equity."
The declaration commits all players in the sector on five key performance areas - brand position and marketing, tourism investment promotion and enterprise development, quality assurance, human resource development and transformation and development.
The delegates in particular resolved to develop, deepen and implement a single South Africa brand supported by all and one that will take full advantage of all strategic opportunities.
They committed themselves to develop a map of tourism products and to share this information with all stakeholders, as well as to continue to strive to grow black ownership of, and participation in, the tourism industry through enhanced financial and business support.
Continuous development and improvement of skills across all the different sub sectors of the industry was also identified as a priority, and this will be done by prioritising the skills needed and enhancing the mechanisms for delivery.
Prior to adopting the declaration, the delegates gave a standing ovation to Minister Moosa for "his contribution to the transformation and growth of the tourism industry since he took office in 1999."
In a statement read out, the delegates said they wished to "recognise and pay tribute to Minister Valli Moosa for being such an outstanding leader for us in Team South Africa. His vision and passion has inspired us, kept us focused and contributed greatly to the high profile that tourism enjoys on the national agenda. We thank Minister Moosa".
The delegates said they were "sad to hear that he is not making himself available for re-election and we will miss him. We wish him well in whatever he will next pursue."
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