90 000 jobs in Cape tourism sector could be lost in the next six months

Cape Town's Table Mountain, one of the city's biggest tourist attractions. File photo: Armand Hough /African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town's Table Mountain, one of the city's biggest tourist attractions. File photo: Armand Hough /African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 11, 2020


Cape Town - More than 90 000 tourism sector jobs could be lost in the next six months, according to a Cape Town Tourism (CTT) report on the impact the Covid-19 pandemic would have on the industry.

CTT released a new report about how the local tourism suffered under Covid-19 regulations.

The report followed a survey in which 35 percent of respondents were accommodation providers, 29% tour operators, 15% in the business of attractions or activities, 7% restaurants and the rest were made up of shops and shopping centres, transport operators, car rentals, conference venues, travel agents, language schools and wine estates.

CTT chief executive Enver Duminy said: “It is important for us to get a clear picture and understand the current landscape.

“According to the latest available figures from Statistics SA, tourism value added to the South African economy was roughly R118.4 billion, tourism value added to Cape Town’s economy in 2018 was roughly R18.1bn. In the same year, according to the same source, the tourism sector in South Africa directly supported almost 740 000 jobs and just more than 113 000 jobs in Cape Town.

“These numbers illustrate how vital this sector is to our economy. This is why it is important for us to understand where our members and other industry stakeholders need the most help so that we can ensure that we provide them with the support they need in order to survive.”

The Cape Town Tourism Covid-19 Impact Report noted that 56% of businesses do not have a recovery plan. While many have explored various relief options, some have noted that the vast amount of paperwork has deterred them, while others explain that they do not meet the requirements for relief they so desperately need. There has been a significant impact on employees of tourism businesses as 36% of respondents mentioned that they were only able to provide partial pay to staff, 31% have staff on unpaid leave, and a further 18% have retrenched employees.

Most businesses will not be able to survive under an extended lockdown.

A total of 83% of businesses indicated that they would not survive longer than six months under the current lockdown conditions.

Only 4% said that they have the resources to survive more than a year.

“We implore the government on all levels to consider working with tourism in applying our enhanced safety protocols to reduce health risks and upgrading local tourism to at least Level 3, and domestic tourism at Level 2 in the short term,” Duminy said.

Mayco member for economic opportunities and asset management James Vos said: “These are very painful figures and indicate the extent of the economic crisis we are facing as a result of Covid 19. We are hopeful, though, that we will be able to recover some of these jobs once we finally emerge from this crisis.”

Tourism Business Council of SA chief executive Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said the impact on the industry could be even more dire than projected: “We conducted our own survey and in the tourism industry alone there are 600 000 employees that have applied for UIF. What’s even more concerning is that these are jobs that would be hard to recover and we are pushing the government at least to open domestic flights, so there is some stimulation in the economy.”

Federated Hospitality Association Southern Africa chief executive Lee Zama said: “Job losses reverse the path to SA economic growth. We need immediate measures to counter this scourge. A phased in opening of this sector starting at Level 4.”


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Cape Argus

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