A herd of elephants at the Dinokeng Game Reserve. The reserve is now open for self-drives. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/ANA
A herd of elephants at the Dinokeng Game Reserve. The reserve is now open for self-drives. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/ANA

Hard-hit Tshwane tourism industry faces balancing act

By James Mahlokwane Time of article published Jun 3, 2020

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Pretoria - The tourism industry will have to depend on the local market for the foreseeable future and hopefully stimulate enough demand - at least until international travel resumes.

Chairperson of the Tshwane Tourism Association, Bronwen Cadle de Ponte, said yesterday they welcomed the move to lockdown level 3, a catalyst for improvements in the ailing industry.

She said for the economic sector hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, level 3 would usher in some much needed growth that would be built up to fully recover tourism.

“Level 3 is an improvement for the tourism industry as accommodation can host business travel, restaurants can call and collect, tour operators can operate and game reserves can have self-drives.

“It’s quite a balancing act for these businesses to be allowed to open to a certain degree.

“Re-opening a business requires a significant financial investment which a lot of proprietors now don’t have due to the lockdown.

“Demand has to be factored into your due diligence in terms of whether or not to reopen, and currently, and for the foreseeable future, demand is very low.

“Demand for business tourism products may grow over time. However, for leisure it may very well decline, due to the poor economic state of the country and people’s declining disposable income,” she said.

The tourism industry in Tshwane, specifically, was unfortunately still largely dependent on government travel, but at the moment they have no indication of government travel demand.

“For that reason, a lot of businesses have chosen to stay closed until the picture is clearer,” Cadle de Ponte said.

At one point, the Tshwane restaurant industry complained about excessive lockdown restrictions, and considered legal action to force the government to loosen the grip and allow services like call and collect.

“For the restaurant industry, the ability to now have call and collect does improve the situation. However, most proper restaurants need to be able to serve seated patrons to be sustainable and to preserve jobs.

“We do hope that sit-down service will become a reality for restaurants soon,” she said.

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