In the pursuit for excellence, organisations in the tourism sector are constantly exploring new ways to work better and smarter.

Sharing of best practice is a benchmarking mechanism which is at the forefront of many organisational strategies.

Aligned to this, the Department of Tourism on Tuesday hosted its 8th Sharing of Best Practices Workshop virtually with countries it has MOUs and Bilateral Agreements with.

The workshop was held under the theme: “Tourism Recovery post COVID-19 – a country perspective”.

Representing South Africa at the forum, Tourism Deputy Minister Fish Mahlalela welcomed delegates and reiterated that the South African Government places tourism high on its agenda for sustainable growth and job creation which is one of the eight interventions in the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.

“Our President, in his 2019 State of Nation Address set a target of 21 million tourist arrivals by 2030 for the tourism sector.

“It is through initiatives and platforms such as the Sharing of Best Practices Workshop that will make meaningful contributions in achieving such targets,” Deputy Minister Mahlalela said.

For the past eight years, the department has been conducting the Best Practices Workshops with the aim to share information and best practices, build tourism capacity on the African continent and strengthen regional integration and cooperation.

The workshop was attended by delegates from Angola, Benin, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Mexico, Singapore, Vietnam and Venezuela.

Mahlalela said he was delighted to note that delegates attending the workshop are going to robustly engage in discussions and sharing information and the best practices on tourism recovery plans in addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I also take note that this workshop further seeks to align tourism’s contribution to Agenda 2063 through improving the standards, systems and policies in regulating the tourism industry while creating jobs and alleviating poverty,” the Deputy Minister said.

Presentations were made by various countries present which generated much discussion among all the delegates in attendance.

It was pointed out that the way forward to the recovery of the sector is through collaborations and dialogues whereby participants can share and learn best practices.

The three pillars of the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 are limiting transmission, preventing deaths and laying the foundation for socio-economic recovery to get the integration agenda back on track following the disruptions caused by the pandemic, which include the funding gaps, weak health systems, poor supply chain infrastructure and undefined eligibility and prioritisation criteria.