Address by President Nelson Mandela at the official opneing of the Table Bay Hotel, Cape Town

30 May 1997

Cabinet colleagues;
distinguished guests;
Ladies and gentlemen,

As we set out on the path of sustained growth and development, tourism occupies a central place in our plans. And as the year 2004 approaches, the eyes of the world are increasingly turning to Cape Town not only as a newly fashionable tourism destination, but as a possible host to Africa's first Olympic Games.

The opening of the Table Bay Hotel this evening marks the addition of a major asset to our national tourism infrastructure.

That alone would be cause for satisfaction. However this opening also represents a substantial commitment, at the heart of the established tourism industry, to community empowerment and black economic development.

With half its equity owned by black shareholders and investment opportunities for nearly twenty thousand previously disadvantaged small investors, the establishment of SunWest promotes a significant expansion of a community stake in a rapidly growing sector of our economy.

Likewise, the company's procurement and tendering policies, in line with government thinking; will assist newly-established black business to enter the mainstream economy for the first time.


The tourism industry is a powerful engine for job-creation, economic revival and the earning of much-needed foreign currency.

Government is committed to promoting the development of the industry. But our commitment is not enough to realise this potential.

Government is creating an environment that will make South Africa an attractive arena for domestic and foreign tourism operations. But it is up to the industry itself to stimulate the markets, develop the infrastructure, and create the tourism-friendly conditions that will make us globally competitive.

We are convinced that tourism can bring over R20 billion a year in foreign exchange earnings and create over 800 000 employment opportunities by the year 2000. We believe that the contribution of the tourism sector to the gross domestic product will increase from 4.5% to 98% by the turn of the century, and that there will be over two million overseas tourists a year by then.

Providing that we strive for these targets with the participation of affected communities; provided that we do so with respect for the natural environment, then tourism will be a vital force for the sustainable development of our country.

Achieving these ambitious goals requires a partnership of government, the private sector and other sectors of society.

Our long history of oppression and enforced separation has created an immense backlog of social and development needs. Our first democratic government has also inherited a massive debt which consumes resources and reduces the pace at which these needs can be fully addressed.

This places a great responsibility on corporate South Africa to join hands with government in meeting the challenging and urgent business of reconstruction and development.

Nowhere is this more so than in the tourism arena. It needs the investment of risk capital and the expression of national self-confidence more than ever before.

In our understandable impatience to sustain the momentum of South Africa's transformation into an accepted and admired member of the international community, we are sometimes too reluctant to speak well of ourselves and our achievements. Sometimes we are all too ready to doubt our ability to meet the daunting challenges that face one of the world's most exciting and promising nations.

This investment is a bold expression of commercial confidence in the future of South Africa, an example to be emulated by other South African corporations. So too is the contribution to redressing the historical imbalances within the private sector.

Ladies and gentlemen;

In formally opening this hotel, I have great pleasure in playing a small part in the further growth of South Africa's tourism future, and in the generation of the benefits that this venture will bring to your industry, to the people of Cape Town, to the Western Cape Province and indeed to the entire country.

By boosting the chances of Cape Town becoming the venue of the 2004 Olympic Games, it is also promoting a victory for the entire African continent.

I now have the honour to declare The Table Bay Hotel duly open.

I thank You.

Issued by: Office of the President

Source: South African Government Information Website