The Draft Tourism Bill is open for comment

The Minister of Tourism has published his Draft Tourism Bill, 2011, and is calling for comment.

Although the Bill contains no real surprises, it’s important that everyone in the industry reads it and – if you feel strongly about any of its provisions – comments on it. It’s not a major read (at 48 double spaced pages, it’s probably one of the less difficult Bills you’ll come across), and it shouldn’t take you more than an hour to digest.

But it will impact on you in the future.

You may be interested in the following points:

Chapter 2 of the Bill calls for the establishment of a national tourism sector strategy, and a national tourism information and monitoring system, and allows the Minister to determine norms and standards for tourism (which may also be determined for individual provinces by the provincial MECs), and to issue a code of good practice for tourism.

My only comment: why should we have two sets of norms and standards? It’ll only add to the burden of compliance, and everyone knows that that’s become onerous in the extreme.

The old national assurance strategy and grading system. Nothing new there.

The continued existence of SA Tourism which, with the approval of the minister, is now required to establish a National Conventions Bureau.

It’s about time.

This is an interesting one: the Bill calls for the establishment of a Tourism Protector to resolve tourist complaints “consistent with the purpose and policies” of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA).

I think we’re going to see a lot of change in the way business is done in South Africa as a result of the CPA, which will (by default) give the Tourism Protector wide powers. This is one that bears watching.

This chapter deals specifically with tourist guides. It provides for a code of conduct and ethics, for the resolution of complaints, and for prohibitions.

This chapter deals with offenses, and makes it illegal to display stars for which you haven’t been graded.

The test of Chapters 6 and 7, of course, will be whether they’ll be enforced in practice – but, hopefully, the Act, when it becomes an Act, will ensure that they can.

As I say, no real surprises – but you really do need to familiarise yourself with this piece of legislation.

Download the Draft Tourism Bill, 2011, here

If you want to comment, you have 60 days from the 5th of August. Contact details are given in the Bill.

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