People queue at the top of Table Mountain to use the cable car to go down the mountain. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency
People queue at the top of Table Mountain to use the cable car to go down the mountain. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency

City of Cape Town seeking clarity on when tourism can resume

By Marvin Charles Time of article published May 17, 2020

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town is seeking urgent clarity on reports that the tourism sector and borders will remain closed for months to come.

Mayco member for economic opportunities and asset management James Vos has written to Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane to seek clarity on when tourism at the domestic, regional and international levels would be allowed.

This after he had received information that the sector would have to wait a further five months.

“I have recently been made aware that dates have been assigned to the different levels of the risk adjusted approach to the current lockdown. According to the information I have received, domestic travel will only be allowed to commence at level 2 which, apparently, will be in November 2020. This is five full months away,” he said.

It was also reported that the country’s borders would be reopened only in January or February next year, meaning no regional and international travel until then, Vos added.

“I further requested that Minister Kubayi-Ngubane earnestly consider allowing the tourism sector to reopen under level 3 of the risk-adjusted strategy, under the condition that strict health and safety measures are observed by businesses in the tourism sector.

"The tourism sector has been one of the hardest hit by the regulations implemented to contain the spread of the virus and will result in major job losses,” he said.

According to the latest data from Statistics SA, the sector value added to the economy in 2018 was roughly R18.1bn. In the same year, according to StatsSA, the tourism sector directly supported just over 113000 jobs. Cape Town Tourism (CTT) conducted a survey of businesses linked to the industry, including accommodation providers, tour operators, attractions and restaurants.

Only 4% of the businesses have the resources to survive for more than a year while 36% of respondents said they were only able to provide partial pay to staff, and 31% have staff on unpaid leave. A further 18% have had to retrench employees.

Tourism Business Council of South Africa chief executive Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said that in February, 79% of businesses in the industry felt neutral or positive about the future of their business and tourism in the country.

“However, it comes as no surprise that in April, 78% of tourism businesses have swung to feeling negative about the future. This is an unprecedented crisis for the tourism industry,” Tshivhengwa said.

@MarvinCharles17

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Cape Argus

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