The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency has a goal. They want to make the province one of the top three most visited in the country by the year 2020.
This was announced by the Agency’s Chief Executive Officer Vuyani Dayimani during his presentation to the portfolio committee for Economic Development, Environment and Tourism at the Bhisho Legislature, on Tuesday.
Dayimani said the province used to be at number one in the past but due to financial constraints, it is now sitting at number four.
He said the Agency was working with the provincial Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism to ensure the province goes back to being the most visited destination.
“We moved from the number eight position, which means we were the least visited province, to being number four without the adequate infrastructure in the last few years.
“We request support in the form of funding to ensure we go back to being number one in the next three years,” Dayimani said.
With the total budget of R241 million for the 2017/18 financial year, DA member of the provincial legislature, Jane Cowley said the Agency’s budget is grossly small and the entity will not achieve its goal of being the most visited province if it keeps getting such a minimal budget.
“After health, education and welfare; tourism should be our biggest budget in the province because it is a wealth creator and that’s where the money should be,” said Cowley.
The MEC for the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism Sakhumzi Somyo, who is also an MEC for Treasury, said members should understand that funding is a critical issue for most departments and Treasury allocates the funds to departments that need money the most.
“It is true that the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency would do better with more funding and actually achieve the goal of being the most visited province in the country sooner than 2020, but just like the other government entities and departments, the entity will make things work with the current budget and achieve its goals in the set period,” said the MEC.
UDM member of the provincial legislature, Thando Mpulu, enquired about the issue of unemployment in the province and how the entity plans to contribute in combating this issue.
The Chairperson of the Agency’s board Vuyo Zitumane said the entity sold two buffalos last year and the revenue received was turned into bursaries.
“The recipients of the bursaries are guaranteed an internship programme with [the Agency] after the completion of their studies which will equip them for the industry and better jobs which require experience,” she said. – SAnews.gov.za-TLM