South Africa’s Marine and Coastal tourism strategy development gets into full swing

Pretoria: 13 April 2016

Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) Tourism Lab members are gathered in Johannesburg to thrash out the strategy to unlock the economic potential of the sector.IMG_0720

The formalization of development of a comprehensive marine tourism and leisure subsector strategy for South Africa as part of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) campaign formally got underway in Gauteng this week, where participants from across public and private sectors and related will sit in three groups through the process for about five weeks.

The three groups of the Marine and Coastal Tourism Lab of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) – numbering between 15-20 people each – gathered in Johannesburg on Sunday and began work earnestly on Monday.

The Marine Tourism and Coastal Lab of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) campaign is one of five such other labs that have been operational since launch of the campaign by President Jacob Zuma in Durban on October 15, 2014.

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At launch, according to President Zuma, Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) is in line with the goals outlined in the National Development Plan, to promote economic growth and to boost job creation.

The campaign, pursued jointly between the public and private sector as well as higher education and research institutions, was launched with an economic growth target of five percent per annum by 2019.

South Africa is surrounded by a vast ocean and yet we have not fully taken advantage

According to President Zuma, the basis for pursuit for development and full integration of the country’s maritime economic sector into the general economy was that inherently, South Africa is a maritime country.

“Our starting point,” he said: “was that South Africa is surrounded by a vast ocean and yet we have not fully taken advantage of the immense potential of this untapped resource. The oceans have the potential to contribute up to R177-billion rand to the Gross Domestic Product and create just over one million jobs by 2033.”

IMG_0902Marine tourism meanwhile, ranks among the top four sub sectors of the country’s maritime economic sector projected for phenomenal growth in the next two decades.

It contributed R19-billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013, with projections currently indicating yields as high as R44-billion in 2020 and rising rapidly to R134-billion in 2033, generating between 800 000 and 1-million jobs.

The 2013 projections reflect on marine tourism as likely to be the second largest subsector contributor to South Africa’s GDP by 2033, after marine transport and manufacturing, followed by oil and gas as well as construction.

SAMSA rejoices at the elevation of marine tourism also as an important initial aspect of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy)

A South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) preliminary study conducted in the last three years found that the marine tourism and leisure subsector was extremely diverse, covering a wide range of marine assets and tourism, recreational and leisure pursuits.IMG_0709 (2)

SAMSA in essence kick-started the process of developing an enabling environment towards development of a comprehensive marine tourism and leisure sector strategy that would dovetail for integration into the country’s tourism development programs. As part of the initiative, a year ago the organisation together with private sector partners, launched the country’s first national Ocean Festival held at the Cape Waterfront in Cape Town.

Sitting in Johannesburg from this week, the Marine and Coastal Tourism lab is anticipated to expand greatly on the work already done by SAMSA towards a fully integrated strategy for the country, both coastal and inland.

Reacting to the start of the marine tourism lab, the organisation this week expressed excitement over the development. “We are very excited as this will unveil some of the plans and ensure coherent approach to  addressing problems that are inhibiting us to reach our true potential of being a marine and coastal tourism destination and be counted among the best in the world,” said SAMSA in brief statement.

Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) delivery labs are described as designed to “create transparency, debottleneck and help resolve the most critical challenges facing a sector, and hence achieve key milestones faster than in a “business as usual” context.”

“The main goal of the labs will be to produce a highly detailed (3-feet level) and costed implementation plan, including solutions, detailed execution plans with responsible owners across organisations, timelines and targets,” said a statement.

It said the three labs for the Marine and Coastal Tourism subsector would run in parallel, each with 15-20 participants carefully selected from key stakeholder groups (across public, social, private sectors and academia).

“The invited cross-organisational team works full-time in one location for five weeks. The lab will have an open, collaborative, intense problem solving atmosphere, and will be supported by a team of facilitators.”

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SOUTH AFRICA’S MARITIME ECONOMIC SECTOR NOW FIRMLY ON THE NATIONAL AGENDA!

The port of Cape Town, one of the country's busiest of seven commercial ports dotted along South Africa's 3900km long coastline.
The port of Cape Town, one of the country’s busiest of seven commercial ports dotted along South Africa’s 3900km long coastline.

Pretoria: 22 February 2016

South Africans might hurriedly get used to and settle permanently with the knowledge that their’s is a maritime country whose vast oceans remain central to its economic development into the future, according to Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga.

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Department of Transport Deputy Minister: Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga.

Ms Chikunga told mourners at a funeral of a senior manager of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Ms Sindiswa Carol Nhlumayo; in Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend that the development of the country’s maritime economy – long suffering neglect yet with abundant economic resources – was now firmly in government’s national agenda and that no effort was being sparred by the State to ensure that requisite infrastructure, along with appropriate human skills were invested upon.

According to government estimations, South Africa’s oceans inclusive of an Exclusive Economic Zone equivalent some 1.5-million square kilometers along a coastline equivalent some 3900km, have the potential to contribute up to R177-billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and create more than one million jobs by 2033.

Ms Chikunga is the designated cabinet minister for co-ordination of South Africa’s maritime economic sector development and which effort is being pursued through the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) programme – a joint initiative between the State, the private sector as well as educational and research institutions.

Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) was launched in October 2014 targeting for rapid development over the next five years, five subsectors of the country’s maritime economy; Off-shore Oil and Gas, Marine Transport and Manufacturing, Marine protection services and Ocean governance, Aquaculture and Marine Tourism.

Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo, former Executive Head, Centre for Maritime Excellence
Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo, former Executive Head of SAMSA’s Centre for Maritime Excellence

Ms Chikunga bemoaned the premature death of Ms Nhlumayo, an executive head of SAMSA’s Centre for Maritime Excellence; whom she described as having been a major contributor to both the country’s tourism strategy development as well as a key national figure in the promotion of development of the maritime economic sector.

Ms Nhlumayo (45), also a PhD candidate in maritime economy studies at the Sweden-based World Maritime University, as well as a multi-award winner inclusive of the Institute of People Management (IPM) “Business Leader of the Year 2015”, died of cancer on 11 February 2016.

Ms Nhlumayo had been central to development and implementation of national human resources skills development initiatives for particularly the maritime sector and had been instrumental in forging relationships between national and international education institutions inclusive of the World Maritime University that now has direct links with the Port Elizabeth based Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

Since 2012 as many as 22 South Africans have read for Masters and Doctoral degree in maritime studies at the World Maritime University. In addition, several other South African youths, supported by SAMSA; are enrolled for maritime economy studies in Vietnam. Similar opportunities are currently being explored with institutions in the Phillipines.

IMG_0310Ms Chikunga said Ms Nhlumayo’s death was unfortunate as it came at a time when SAMSA was gathering speed with several of its promotional programmes of the country’s maritime economic sector and which has now seen commercial cargo vessels carrying the country’s flag for the first time in more than 30 years.

Two of these were registered late in 2015, while according to SAMSA Chief Executive Officer, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele; 12 others are currently awaiting approval.

For Ms Chikunga’s full remarks, view the video clip: (Warning: the deputy Minister’s entire speech is in isiZulu)