Government’s poor ability to collaborate is killing our tourism industry

Posted by Janice Scheckter on 07 October 2015 9:35 AM CAT

While I have more or less followed the debate on the new visa regulations over the past months, an interview on 702 with David Frost of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, really highlighted the damage being caused and the impact on job losses, not only to the tourism sector directly but to the broader sectors that benefit.

In fact the interview both highlighted the issues and depressed me at the same time. We have a country of global attraction. We have a currency that makes us an even more desirable destination. AND now we have legislation that appears to wipe out all that advantage.

In a recent press statement, David Frost noted, “We haven’t had an opportunity to put our case as the tourism industry.” 

The real pity of this is not only that the public sector are not hearing the tourism thought leaders and research houses in the private sector but that we are so far from anything collaborative.  

There are numerous papers and books that talk to the public-private sector collaboration imperative within tourism. Collaboration in Tourism Businesses and Destinations is a more recent example but back in 2004, Alan Fyall and Brian Garrod wrote at length about the value of collaboration between the public and private sectors, commenting that this was a sector that had lagged behind others in this specific area of collaboration.

Collaboration thrives when a few key building blocks are in place. One of the first is to recognise the increased value achieved when great minds ideate together. Others include trust and transparency. Public sector has a particular skills set that the private sector lacks and vice versa. Recognition of this further contributes to healthy collaboration. 


The statement below was sourced directly off South Africa’s official site.

Tourism and the economy

Tourism is regarded as a modern-day engine of growth and is one of the largest industries globally. In 2012, G20 heads of state recognised tourism as a driver of growth and development, as well as a sector that has the potential to spur global economic recovery.

South Africa has earmarked tourism as a key sector with excellent potential for growth: the government aims to increase tourism’s contribution, both directly and indirectly, to the economy from the 2009 baseline of R189,4-billion (7.9% of GDP) to R499-billion by 2020 (National Department of Tourism, 2012). Tourism supports one in every 12 jobs in South Africa.

My wish is that public sector recognises the collaborative imperative and keeps this statement true.

Janice Scheckter is a collaboration strategist and a passionate South African that is frustrated by damage caused by a lack of collaboration.

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