Letter: A turn to tourism by Gidon Novick

The writer proposes that the R5bn spent annually on SAA be invested in a national tourism academy

Kudos to the FM for tackling the SAA quagmire so directly with “Time to Crash?” (Cover Story, January 17). It is a hard truth to come to terms with, but there is little evidence or rationale to justify the ongoing subsidisation of SAA.

I want to put a proposal on the table, along the lines of your observation that the focus should be on tourism rather than the airline industry. The tourism industry employs 750,000 people directly and 1.6-million indirectly. We have the potential to at least double this.

SA attracts a tiny sliver — only a few million — of the total 1-billion global tourists each year.

My proposal is to take the R5bn spent annually on SAA and invest it in a national tourism academy. It would cost about R50,000 to train a candidate for a high-quality tourism diploma.

The SAA subsidy could create 100,000 tourism professionals each year.

We should be a world-beating tourist destination — we have exceptional attractions and a weak currency.

We also have diverse and hospitable people who, with the right training, could deliver a service experience that would make us a most attractive destination.

Gidon Novick
Green Point

 Originally published in the Financial Mail

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