South Africa: Policy and legislative environment

South Africa was the first country to publish a national tourism policy with explicit reference to responsible tourism. The principles set out in the 1996 White Paper on the development and promotion of tourism in South Africa remain relevant today.

The 1996 White Paper also provides the framing for the current Tourism Act, Act 3 of 2014.  Responsible Tourism has a prominent position in the legislation,  being one of five objects of the act.  The objects of the act are to:

  • promote the practising of responsible tourism, contemplated in subsection (2), for the benefit of the Republic and for the enjoyment of all its residents and foreign visitors;
  • provide for the effective domestic and international marketing of South Africa as a tourist destination;
  • promote quality tourism products and services;
  • promote growth in and development of the tourism sector; and
  • enhance cooperation and coordination between all spheres of government in developing and managing tourism.

The National Tourism Sector Strategy is created to realise Section 4 of the Tourism Act and such it should reflect and the objects of the legislation.

The 2011 National Tourism Sector Strategy is currently under review. The Department of Tourism has published a draft for public comment; the comment period closes on 5 July 2017.

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