Tourism sector dealt a severe blow
The tourism sector has been dealt a severe blow with the publishing of the amended regulations for Alert Level 3 last night (12 July 2020). While these regulations provide the clarity that I have been calling for on the opening of accommodation for leisure for travel within provinces, this decision, and the prior confusion caused by the Presidency and the Minister of Tourism, has sent an industry that is already hard hit by Covid-19 into a state of turmoil.
The tourism sector in the Western Cape is facing significant job losses of almost 50 per cent. What is worse, is that many of these accommodation establishments had celebrated the original changes to Alert Level 3 and had opened up and accepted guests and must now close again. This unexplained change will cause further economic hardship for many businesses and will likely cause further job losses.
The tourism sector has been subject to flip flopping, uncertainty and ultimately a decision made with no explanation as to why accommodation for leisure for travel within provinces had not been allowed. This is completely unjustifiable considering the lengths that the industry has gone to in order to put in place the necessary safety measures to stop the spread of Covid-19.
In fact, if the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, is comfortable that health and safety measures can be implemented for accommodation for business travel to open, then why can accommodation for leisure not be opened?
And if the public can visit a casino, cinema or restaurant, why can a family not travel to a self-catering accommodation unit for a weekend away?
I will be writing to both the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, to request that they urgently reconsider this decision.
There are not only lives at stake as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but also many livelihoods. The tourism sector in the Western Cape provides thousands of jobs that put food on the table for many South African families, especially those in rural communities.
In the President’s speech last night there was no mention of how these families were going to be supported if their livelihoods are taken away. In the absence of a plan, the tourism sector must be allowed to open safely and responsibly.
Spokesperson for the Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities
(Responsible for the Provincial Treasury and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism)
Tel: 021 483 4327
Cell: 071 087 5150