THE Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) has a set goal for the province to be one of the top three most visited in the country by the year 2020.
This was said by the agency’s chief executive 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 had been at number one in the past but due to financial constraints, was now sitting at number four.
He said ECPTA was working with the provincial department of economic development, environment and tourism to ensure the province got back to the top.
“We moved from the number eight position, which means we were the least visited province, to being number four without adequate infrastructure in 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 R241million for the 2017-18 financial year, DA MPL Jane Cowley said the agency’s budget was grossly small and the entity would not achieve its goal of being the most visited province if it kept 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 was a critical issue for most departments and treasury allocated the funds to departments that needed 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. — The Legislature Monitor