Media Release: SANParks announces new investment opportunities in its Parks
07 April 2017
At the inaugural SANParks Tourism Investment Summit on Tuesday, 4 April 2017 in Sandton; Minister of Environmental Affairs Dr. Edna Molewa addressing close to 300 delegates indicated that “Nature-based tourism has grown in popularity worldwide and it is recognised as a driver and critical component to the sustainability and efficacy of conservation management.”
Accentuating the interdependency between the two sectors and the pivotal role the effective management of South Africa’s conservation estate plays in enhancing the country’s allure to tourists; the Minister stated that as the 3rd most mega bio diverse country on the planet, South Africa’s well-managed natural resources have made it a premier tourist destination.
Reflecting on the National Development Plan (NDP), the Minister said the plan highlights tourism as a sector where millions of jobs can be created, small businesses can be developed, and spin-off investments can take place.
Echoing the Minister of Environmental Affairs, the Minister of Tourism Thokozile Xasa highlighted that the tourism industry contributes 3.9% to the GDP, which is more than other capital intensive industries and which is identified as one of the six key growth sectors in the New Growth Path.
Continuing on this vein Minister Molewa said “the convening of the Tourism Investment Summit, is a clear demonstration of the government's commitment to growing this vibrant and burgeoning sector. In this regard, the forging of strong partnerships between the public and private sectors will be key.”
On SANParks’ position in the tourism industry, the Chairperson of the Board Joanne Yawitch, indicated that “SANParks is indisputably a major player in the South African tourism industry managing over 15 000 beds.” Underscoring the point the returns the tourism business of SANParks plays in ensuring that the entity upholds its mandate of biodiversity conservation, she further emphasised that, “SANParks are conservationists doing tourism and not the other way round.”
The CEO of SANParks Mr. Fundisile Mketeni reported at this Summit that after 16 years of a successful run in commercialisation, SANParks is embarking on a new phase of its commercialisation strategy.
He reported that, to date the programme has garnered 45 PPP’s that have contributed to infrastructure developments worth over R712 million and guaranteed small, medium, micro enterprises spend of R57 million per annum.
Quoting successful PPP’s currently in operation such as the Table Mountain Cable Car, the Skukuza Airport as well as a range of other 5 star lodges, restaurants and adventure activities; he emphasised that the national parks which recorded over 6 million visitors in the past year provide viable investment opportunities.
As he unveiled 54 new eco-tourism investment opportunities within the national parks Mketeni said “It is time we build on these partnerships with new candidates in the industry, who will assist in bringing new eco-tourism ideas… and all this should be done responsibly and with sustainable practices.”
He concluded by sharing SANParks Vision 2040 which estimates the growth of visitors to the 19 parks at 17 million in the next two decades.
SANParks Corporate Communications
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Acting Head of Communications, SANParks
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Reynold “ReyT” Thakhuli
GM: Media, PR & Stakeholder Relations, SANParks
Tel: 012 426 5203; Cell: 073 373 4999