The Province has experienced increased construction activities, in the form of new infrastructure development or upgrades and renovations due to, amongst other things, the up-coming soccer world cup event and the related tourism infrastructure development. This sector has been structured to respond to the needs of small contractors in the construction industry as well as the needs of entrepreneurs in the tourism industry. Products offered by this sector range from Land and Fixed Improvements; Equipment finance and Working Capital loans.
The government infrastructure project upgrade over the past couple of years has contributed massively to the growth of the construction sector both nationally and provincially. Government has been spending a lot of money in improving public infrastructure such as roads, airports, schools and healthcare facilities. Looking forward, Government ‘s three year budget for infrastructural spending indicates that the current high level of infrastructural spending will continue after 2010 and the Soccer World Cup. The 2011/12 budget for public sector infrastructural activity reflects an increase of over 11% year on year (almost over R300billion).
Tourism has been identified as a key growth sector by the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa and it has a huge potential for job creation, skills enhancement and contribution towards poverty alleviation especially by small to medium sized enterprises.
We have already seen a consistent increase in the number of international tourist visiting South Africa. The figures released by Tourism South Africa shows that the international visitors grew by 13.4% during the 2007 year. There is also an increase in the number of South Africans traveling domestically. Government also expects the sector to contribute 12% to the annual growth domestic product by year 2014. We have already seen previously disadvantaged South Africans trying to break into the tourism sector. These individuals are more interested in Bed and Breakfast, Hotels, Shuttle Services, conference centres, etc. The reason for this interest is due to the expectation caused by the sporting activities as well as the demand in business tourism.
The current performance of the tourism sector remains strong especially against the priority sectors identified by government. The expectations related to the sector’s activity levels’ contribution to the economy appear to be realistic. The sector will also contribute positively towards the creation of employment opportunities for unskilled and semi-skilled workers. Favourable climatic conditions and the depreciation of the rand will also make South Africa to be the ideal tourist destination given the economic downturn when people are battling to visit their popular and more expensive destinations.