“We need the tourism industry to open, so that the various economic sectors can commence with business and save jobs,” James Vos said. Photographer: Armand Hough /African News Agency(ANA)
“We need the tourism industry to open, so that the various economic sectors can commence with business and save jobs,” James Vos said. Photographer: Armand Hough /African News Agency(ANA)

Outrage over ‘flip-flopping’ by Presidency on leisure travel

By Marvin Charles Time of article published Jul 13, 2020

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Cape Town - The tourism industry has been dealt another blow after the presidency said on social media that accommodation for leisure was open for travel within provinces under Covid-19 alert level 3.

However, the presidency issued a statement that read: “We picked up an error in the previous graphic which suggested that accommodation for leisure travel was permitted. This is not the case.”

Finance and economic opportunities MEC David Maynier said: “Such flip-flopping by the Presidency is completely unacceptable.

“At a time when many South Africans' livelihoods are on the line, such indecision and confusion is devastating for businesses who have done everything necessary to put in place health and safety measures and have already begun to open.”

Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa indicated that establishments would be allowed to accommodate leisure travellers, but this was contradicted by Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, who warned that leisure tourism remained closed. However, some tourism industry bodies had initially interpreted the gazetted regulations to mean that intra-provincial leisure travel could resume.

Mayco member for economic opportunities and asset management James Vos said: “The post was initially welcomed, because we made bespoke submissions to the national government to have these sectors opened up for economic activity.

“The uncertainty around whether or not intra-provincial travel and all types of accommodation is permitted, according to recently published regulations, is compromising the recovery of tourism and related sectors and cannot continue.” Vos said he will petition Kubayi-Ngubane to intervene urgently for clarity.

“We need the tourism industry to open, so that the various economic sectors can commence with business and save jobs,” he said.

The tourism and hospitality sector sustains more than 740000 direct and 1.5million indirect jobs, and contributes 8.6% to GDP.

It is also the lifeblood for many micro and small enterprises, creating mass employment opportunities. The sector has been out of business since March, when the lockdown started.

Federated Hospitality Association of SA chief executive Lee Zama said: “The handling of this matter by the government is rather unfortunate, the industry was looking forward to the leisure market to provide a bit of a lifeline to save businesses and jobs.

“It is upsetting as we note that the industry is treated unfairly. Our accommodation spaces are designed to offer self-isolation.

“I would be keen to understand the risk metrics that the National Coronavirus Command Council uses to make such a call. We believe our spaces are safe and hygienic.”

@MarvinCharles17

[email protected]

Cape Argus

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