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South Africa’s Tourism Minister, Patricia de Lille, Addresses Challenges Facing the Industry at Travel Africa Indaba 2023.

CNN’s news anchor, Richard Quest sits with Tourism Minister of South Africa, Patricia de Lille at Africa’s Travel Indaba Global Media Face-Off in Durban

Minister Patricia de Lille’s Vision for South Africa’s Tourism Industry Unveiled at Travel Africa Indaba 2023.

Patricia de Lille, the recently appointed Tourism Minister by President Cyril Ramaphosa, was one of the esteemed guests who inaugurated the Travel Africa Indaba 2023, a renowned tourism expo. Despite only serving in her position for two months, Minister de Lille’s presence at the event highlighted the government’s commitment to the tourism sector, which is a vital contributor to the country’s economy.

During the opening of the Travel Africa Indaba 2023, Minister Patricia de Lille participated in a media press conference, dubbed “Global Media Take-Off” where she showcased her strong and resolute demeanor as a woman of great influence. Her formidable presence on the panel was a testament to her unwavering determination and her reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the political arena.

The 2023 Africa’s Travel Indaba was highly anticipated, especially after the tourism sector’s significant setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 20 African nations participated, showcasing over 350 tourism offerings, while stakeholders from across the industry ecosystem attended. Notably, Australia was identified as a critical market for South Africa’s tourism industry.

Minister de Lille had a bustling morning, beginning with the launch of the “Africa Unlimited” branding initiative and culminating in a thought-provoking media conference. Moderated by renowned CNN British Journalist Richard Quest, the conference explored the tourism portfolio’s complexities, which Quest described as either a “poisoned chalice” or a “graveyard for your career.”

At the media conference moderated by CNN’s Richard Quest during the Travel Africa Indaba 2023, Quest lauded the Minister’s swift action in addressing the issue by removing the entire board, likening it to an apocalypse rather than a clean-up.

In response, the Minister retorted with a sharp comeback that resonated with the audience, stating that nobody is indispensable, including Richard himself. She emphasized that there are many competent South Africans and Africans who stepped up to the challenge, and she has no tolerance for laziness or incompetence. Furthermore, she declared that she had enough plans to build a wall and did not need anymore empty talk or plans from others.

“Don’t give me another plan. Talk is cheap. I have enough plans to build a wall.” – She said.

Minister de Lille acknowledged that she could not single-handedly revitalize and promote the tourism industry without the support of the private sector. She recognized the lack of trust between the public and private sectors as a significant challenge and one that she plans to address immediately.

During the media conference at the Travel Africa Indaba 2023, Richard Quest posed difficult questions to the panel, which included representatives for immigration policy, air access, and private sector travel development.

In response to Quest’s questions, the Minister candidly shared her dislike for meetings, which she deemed a waste of time. She emphasized the need for action and implementation instead of endless planning and strategies. Furthermore, she urged attendees to focus on finding solutions to problems instead of dwelling on them.

Minister de Lille announced that the Department of Tourism is backing 123 local small inbound tourism companies via its market access support program (MASP). The majority of these businesses are black-owned, and over half are owned by women.

In her remarks, the Minister emphasized that South Africa is a beautiful country, but the world does not owe it anything. She emphasized the importance of actively promoting the nation’s tourism industry to the world.

The event concluded with Richard Quest summarizing the research he conducted leading up to the conference, including conversations with Minister de Lille. Overall, attendees left feeling impressed by the Minister’s leadership and vision for the tourism industry.

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