Cape businesses hope #Budget2018 will bring in tourists
CAPE ARGUS / 21 FEBRUARY 2018 - 12.49 / SIZWE DLAMINI
Cape Town - Support and funding to drive small, micro and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs) is among the top issues that the tourism sector hopes Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba will address when he delivers the National Budget today.
The corporate communications manager at the Tourism Business Council of SA, Kagiso Mosue, said SMME development was critical to advance the broader objective of transforming the tourism sector and advance the momentum through incentives, among other tools, to ensure that small and emerging tourism businesses have access to the market and develop to become the big businesses of tomorrow.
VISION: Tourism chiefs believe that the sector is an ideal environment for SMMEs to flourish.
Cape Town Tourism chief executive Enver Duminy agreed with these sentiments, saying the SMME sector was of major importance to the economy, and tourism provided an ideal environment in which SMMEs could flourish.
“We’d welcome any form of support that can be provided for emerging businesses,” Duminy said.
Also on the sector’s wish list, according to Mosue, was more funding for destination marketing, as well as a tax regime that was more travel- and tourism-friendly.
She said the sector operated in an environment where its rand-dominated funds had to stretch to reach tourists from around the world - more often from countries whose currencies were far stronger than the rand.
“Second, as more and more destinations globally are recognising the value of tourism, it’s getting more competitive at a regional and international level, hence the need for more funding,” said Mosue.
“Looking at past Budget allocations for travel and tourism, one might be mistaken in thinking that we don’t need funding.”
She said a tax regime that was more travel- and tourism-friendly was particularly important with regard to VAT on tour operators and travel agencies.
Duminy said the sector was looking forward to opportunities for collaboration and growth, particularly between the government and the industry, as well as support for citizens looking to work in the sector.
“Since this was referred to by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation address (Sona), we’d like to hear more of the measures that will allow for multi-stakeholder engagement. We would also like to see a strong focus on SMME development, as developing new products is essential to keeping the tourism sector fresh and relevant and contributing to further job creation,” he said.
Duminy said that, when it came to weathering the drought, the sector hoped to hear that the government was going to work towards boosting the country’s capacity to harvest water from multiple sources and help businesses and individuals to reduce water usage.
“We must continue to market our beautiful country, so all resources and efforts made in this regard are valuable, whether through trade and industry meetings or via direct support.”
Mosue said governance and the judicious use of financial resources was also a critical issue.
“In line with the recent Sona, the Budget speech should provide more details about the measures to be taken to address issues of governance in the public sector, to ensure the proper and prudent deployment of resources.
“In the end, that’s what we want as businesses: to know that income that is generated will be used efficiently, which will, in turn, benefit the sector.”
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER