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Date published 27.02.2017

THE TOURISM Business Council of South Africa says R494-million in additional funding allocated for tourism promotion in this year’s national budget, and a commitment that government departments will pay providers promptly, is a sign the government is waking up to the sector’s economic benefits. However, the council said “another tough year” for individual South Africans could limit disposable income and impact business.

The TBCSA also expressed concern over the ongoing leadership vacuum at South African Airways.

The R494-million allocation for tourism is over and above the R2-billion for the National Tourism Department. The TBCSA said it was yet to hear how the funds would be used.

The organisation said SAA had a critical role to play in the travel and tourism industry. Chief Executive Officer Mmatšatši Ramawela commented: “Leadership and financial challenges… have been ongoing for a long time and the council hopes current efforts to turnaround the national airline will finally yield positive results.”

She added: “Finally, the message of travel and tourism as a key economic driver is filtering through government speeches and plans… Our quarterly Tourism Business Index has consistently highlighted the cost of inputs as the greatest negative contributing factor to business performance over the past year.  With the imminent introduction of additional taxes such as the sugar tax, the carbon tax and the tyre levy, businesses will be under immense pressure and will be pushed to pass these costs on to the consumer.”

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