The Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA), an organisation that represents the interests of the sector by lobbying the government and influencing policy decisions, joins multitudes of industry bodies and experts who has heaped praises on the appointment of Patricia de Lille as Tourism Minister. De Lille is among 29 freshly appointed cabinet ministers, which were annouced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday (March 6), a month after the much-hyped February 9 SONA address. (Ramaphosa 2023 Cabinet Reshuffle speech).
“We look forward to working with her (Patricia de Lille) and unlocking the enormous potential that tourism holds for South Africa. We trust that Minister de Lille’s appointment will be a catalyst for change, moving tourism forward by overcoming the current stumbling blocks and facilitating new opportunities for growth, such as the provision of digital nomad visas and the long-awaited eVisa system,” FEDHASA said in a statement.
The same sentiments were shared by Oupa Pilane, co-chair at the Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA), adding that the organisation is “grateful that there is continuity within the Department of Tourism with Mr Amos Fish Mahlalela remaining as Deputy Minister”.
De Lille, who takes over from Lindiwe Susulu, was in office since August 2002. She has a strong background in the public service as she was previously the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure (from 2019 to 2023), and Mayor of Cape Town (2011 to 2018).
Other noteworthy South Africans happy with her appointment include community activist Yusuf Ambramjee, who (as per below tweet) simply describes it as a ‘good move’.
Critical to South Africa’s well-functioning economy, the Tourism sector was among industries heavily hit by the pandemic and it’s slowing trying to recover. Consequently, the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) believes De Lille’s tenure brings with it hope as it is critical to fast-tracking the country’s tourism goal of achieving its stated targets of 21 million arrivals by 2030, ‘thus enabling economic growth’.
Along with becoming the chief ambassador of South African tourism, TBCSA’s Chairman Blacky Komani said he would like to see the Minister place a heavy focus on among others, ‘a fully automated world-class eVisa with improved airport infrastructure, ‘waive Visas for more source markets’, and ‘addressing vehicle licensing backlogs’.