DA unveils plan to save 1.2 million tourism jobs
Johannesburg – The Democratic Alliance unveiled a plan on Wednesday it said would help the domestic tourism sector recover from the damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement touting the plan, DA tourism spokesperson Manny de Freitas said it would ensure the livelihoods of some 1.2 million people were not destroyed in the economic fallout from a lockdown the government has enforced since March 27 to curb transmissions of the coronavirus.
Other countries have applied similar restrictions, with many closing their national borders in the face of the virus which has infected nearly 6.5 million people around the world since last December.
De Freitas expressed concern over suggestions by Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane that the sector would only reignite by December, saying by that time most of the tourism, travel and hospitality industries would be decimated.
He said the government's own plan to revive the sector "leaves much to be desired", saying, among other shortcomings, it used unfair criteria for local businesses to access a national tourism relief fund and did not consider a phased approach to opening up the sector after the lockdown.
"The DA therefore proposes a short term and immediate plan to recover the sector, while still following Covid-19 hygiene protocols and practising (physical) distancing," De Freitas said.
The DA plan calls for the opening of all sectors in the tourism, travel and hospitality industries that can show they can meet hygiene and social distancing protocols, as well as the opening of provincial borders to boost domestic tourism.
"The sector simply cannot remain in limbo while the tourism minister will “see how things go”, De Freitas said.
He said his party's plan was based on comprehensive research, with the DA having consulted over 30 organisations and individuals within the tourism sector in addition to conducting four surveys.
"Hundreds of thousands of livelihoods are directly dependent on the tourism, hospitality and travel sector," the DA legislator said.
"Supporting businesses by softening the lockdown, focusing on specific sub-sectors, will restore confidence and will ensure that more jobs are not lost."
Last Friday, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) said it had unveiled the second phase of measures to rebuild global consumer confidence to encourage the return of travelling.
According to the WTTC’s 2020 economic impact report, last year the travel and tourism sector was responsible for one in 10, or about 330 million jobs, and made a 10.3 percent contribution to global gross domestic product.
African News Agency (ANA)