Coronavirus: Plans to boost Tshwane tourism again
The chairperson of the Tshwane Tourism Association, Bronwen Cadle de Ponte, told the Pretoria News that tourism had been the worst affected sector of the economy.
She said the virus was quick to plunge into potential obscurity an industry that was punted as one of the key drivers of economic development and key to job creation in the country. Its impact was felt by businesses, their employees and clients.
The association has created new technology platforms like enabling the Telegram app and WhatsApp groups for specific task teams and decision-making individuals.
The online virtual meeting platforms proved to be a challenge, as they were a new way of doing business, but eventually there was an increase in participation. “One of the key activities of the association during this period has been to collate input from the front line of tourism businesses regarding what sustainable and feasible measures can be implemented to ensure a safe and cost-effective re-opening of the tourism sector post the Covid-19 crisis,” Cadle de Ponte said.
Members of the association last week took part in webinars facilitated by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa to give individual business owners a voice regarding the challenges they faced.
This platform was also used to provide input into new standards and health-related procedures for the tourism industry in the country.
Cadle de Ponte said there were also international webinars facilitated by international bodies that focused on determining the “new normal”, defining, planning for, and shaping the industry of the future.
She was happy the government had put in place relief systems like the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the SMME relief scheme, the Solidarity Trust and others. Her only concern was that they didn’t seem agile and responsive enough to facilitate the effective implementation of these systems for the volumes experienced in such a crisis.
“Most business owners are complaining that UIF payouts are slow, and there is no communication regarding the extent or detail of payouts that they can easily share with their staff.
“The bottom line is that if the workforce of various business sectors which are completely shut down do not receive government benefit payouts, together with detailed payout information and related information which is easily understandable, the system will not work to quell the looming unrest that threatens South Africa when the general population does not have access to income to cover the basic necessities to keep themselves and their families safe and alive,” she said
Cadle de Ponte said the association saw a light at the end of the tunnel of tourism in Tshwane and had been active in sharing verified information with its members on how to apply for government relief, formulate recovery plans and revise business models to ensure sustainability.