Environmental Affairs and Tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk announced the launch of the Tourism Black Economic Empowerment Charter at the Tourism Indaba in Durban on May 8, 2005. Calling it "the single most important step forward since 1994" and "the right thing to do", the minister went on to say "The Charter will apply to every single enterprise in the tourism value-chain, from the largest corporates to the smallest entrepreneur."
He said rating will not be compulsory but major incentives will be put in place to implement the targets outlined in the charter. The minister announced that the department took note of the possible negative impacts some of the targets would have on small businesses. "I am pleased to announce that all businesses with an annual turnover of less the R5 million will be exempt from the ownership requirements – although the other six empowerment targets will still apply. It would not have made economic sense to place small entrepreneurs like bed and breakfast owners in a position which would have forced them to sell their businesses en masse."
Requirements include black empowerment in ownership, strategic management, employment equity, skills development, preferential procurement, enterprise development and social development. Van Schalkwyk pointed out that the first five years of the charter focuses on building human capacity in tourism, while in the second period ownership targets are given more prominence. By 2014 the black ownership target is set at 30 percent.
The minister urged all tourism business to rate themselves, either by self-evaluation or through an appropriate agency. He announced the establishment of a Tourism BEE council and the gazetting of the Charter as a transformation charter by August 1. The council will drive and monitor the implementation of the Charter, as well as making spot checks on BEE in rated businesses.