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    JOHANNESBURG BUSINESS FORUM LAUNCHES TOURISM SUB-COMMITTEE

    In a bid to fast track tourism as an economic growth imperative on the City’s agenda and forge closer working relationships with the private sector to achieve its objectives, the City’s of Johannesburg’s [CoJ’s] Department of Economic Development [DED] launched the Johannesburg Business Forum to tourism stakeholders, partners and peers at a breakfast presentation at Turbine Hall in Newtown on Friday, 11 Oct.


    The 60 invited guests included both public and private sector representatives from the tourism, travel, leisure and hospitality sectors. Upon completion of the formalities, guests were treated to a tour on the red City Sightseeing bus – the hop on hop off tourist bus service launched in Johannesburg in February this year.

    “We acknowledge that Public Private Partnerships are essential to tourism growth and expansion, and today’s event is a formalization of this intention to work together more effectively for the economic benefit of the Johannesburg City Region,” says Ruby Mathang, MMC for Economic Development.


    Objective

    “The overriding aim of the Tourism Subcommittee is to meet City’s Growth and Development Strategy (GDS) outcomes to stimulate the economy by focusing on sectors to ensure that there is decent job creation, youth employment, resource resilience, liveability and safe communities,” explains Mathang.

    “Tourism supports these aims and helps to build a diversified, inclusive economy to enhance the City’s status as a World Class African City. The Tourism Sub-committee includes representatives from the City of Johannesburg, the private sector, the non-profit sector as well as other affected stakeholders and citizen groups.

    Through regular meetings and project working groups, the Tourism Sub-committee will act as a consultative forum that effectively addresses the needs and challenges of the tourism sector in Johannesburg. It is also mandated to provide guidance and support to the City through engagements with the DED and Joburg Tourism to effectively implement programmes that realize tourism growth in the City.


    Background

    The primary role of the City of Johannesburg’s (CoJ) Department of Economic Development (DED) is to facilitate economic growth and transformation in the City by collaborating with other City Departments and Municipal Entities (MEs), other spheres of government, and the private sector. The desired outcome of these endeavours is accelerated, shared and sustainable growth. In pursuing its mandate, the DED works with individual and corporate citizens and groups within the community to find sustainable ways to meet their social, economic, and material needs in order to improve the quality of lives of Citizens and to make the City a more attractive trade and investment destination.


    The Department of Economic Development created a structure called the Joburg Business Forum (JBF) to serve as a link between the City’s Departments and organized business associations operating in Johannesburg. Sustainable business relationships have been built with this structure; allowing the business community to meet Council representatives (both senior officials and politicians) to discuss issues of mutual interest. It is also a platform for businesses to raise matters that impact on the City’s economic growth and also assist in finding solutions and addressing such matters. Various business chambers that exist in the City are represented. Individuals representing different business formations/interest groups also participate in the Johannesburg Business Forum. Plenary meetings are held on a monthly basis.


    The JBF comprises different focus areas to address to key economic issues affecting the City and the membership. These include Transportation and Freight sub-committees, as well as one for Revenue and Tax. A Tourism sub-committee was recommended because tourism is one of the key economic contributors to the Joburg economy.

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