The CEO of Tourism South Africa says tourism is the catalyst for economic development in the country


The CEO of Tourism South Africa, Sisa Ntshona, held a public lecture at the Wits Business School to discuss the importance of tourism for South Africa’s economy.

Ntshona, who has been the CEO of Tourism South Africa since November last year said the country has one of the largest gaps between the haves and the have-nots in the world. The government’s National Development Plan for 2030, which outlines the goals of the government, identified the importance of tourism for the economy in South Africa.

“We have identified [tourism] as the catalyst that is going to drive South Africa out of the darkness we are in, into prosperity,” said Ntshona.

“Tourism is such a wonderful sector – show me a sector and I will show you how tourism contributes to it.”

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During 2015, the number of tourists travelling to South Africa dropped rapidly, in part due to the Ebola crisis, which didn’t affect South Africa, but the perception of the disease did. Obtaining visas to travel to South Africa is also very difficult in many countries, as well as the requirement of an unabridged birth certificate for minors.

Tourism South Africa is now working on a ‘5-and-5’ model as part of their aim to get an incremental five million tourists in the country in five years. The goal is to draw four million international tourists to South Africa and encourage one million domestic tourists to travel within the country.

Ntshona also added that South Africa has a very weak domestic travel space which is partly due to the fact that certain experiences are force-fed to all people. He said the tourism sector currently focuses on the three Bs – beaches, berg and the bush. If South African tourism focused on other types of tourism, such as township tourism, rural tourism and culture tourism, the economy of tourism can grow in many different areas.

Tell us what you think of the different types of tourism such as rural tourism or township tourism. Let us know on WhatsApp 079 439 5345.

Laura Pisanello

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