Tourism sector desperate to get back to work as 200 000 jobs expected to be lost
Cape Town - Tourism businesses want clarification on when borders will be reopened as the industry continues to suffer due to the lockdown.
Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, chief executive of Tourism Business Council of South Africa, said the industry’s contribution to the GDP this year was expected to be low, while there would be significant job losses.
“The supply chain of the tourism sector also touches manufacturing, such as vehicles, linen, furniture crockery, cutlery, construction, banking and agriculture as the millions of tourists consume our food,” he said.
James Vos, Mayco member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, said: “The tourism sector specifically has come to a complete halt. If the tourism sector is denied the opportunity to reopen, billions will be lost and thousands of people will lose their jobs, not only in tourism but also in the sectors that support it such as food and beverage, accommodation and transportation.”
It was possible for the industry to reopen by implementing strict health protocols so employees can return to work, he added.
“Too many livelihoods depend on the reopening of this sector... it cannot afford to wait any longer to reopen."
Premier Alan Winde in his presentation to the President’s Coordinating Council, arguing why the province should move to level 3 of the lockdown, said that initial projections, based on research being conducted by the province's Department of Economic Development and Tourism, indicate that over 200 000 jobs are going to be lost in the Western Cape alone.
"The situation will be even worse if we stay on Alert Level 4, and businesses are forced to stay closed."