Covid-19: Voortrekker Monument hard hit and still not recovered
Pretoria - The Voortrekker Monument has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and despite opening since August, it still has not recovered.
Managing director Cecilia Kruger yesterday told the Pretoria News their losses during the peak of Covid-19 and higher levels of lockdown were immense.
“We lost more than 90% of our income, which was catastrophic. Since we opened on August 1 at half price, we still have not returned to normal at all,” said Kruger.
“Considering that more than 50% of our guests are from international countries and are currently red listed, we haven’t even recovered by a margin of 10% per month since August.
“We were forced to a stand-still through Covid-19, like many others globally. International tourism is one of the sectors that are hardest hit and that will likely not be able to recover in the next year. Nevertheless, the Monument has not given up.” She said campaigns had been launched to supplement the inadequate cash flow and expenses had to be curbed. “The virtual sale of the monument has been the most successful campaign by far and has nearly generated R1.4m of the budgeted R6m, and approaching the festive season, there are planned activities and exciting activities to bring.”
She said there would be development of outdoor activities, restaurant facilities, further development of educational programmes and energy saving methods.
“These are the main projects that the Voortrekker Monument management is focusing on at the moment, after these past difficult months.
“The support from the public has been unbelievable, and we have realised anew how important the conservation of the monument is.”
She said to curb spending, they would be using water tanks, pipes and pumps donated by Earthcon, and had replaced the 80-year-old water supply system on site.
“With a municipal water account at an average of R80000 per month, this investment will benefit the Monument greatly.”
The management has also investigated the installation of solar panels more than a year ago, to aid with the enormous electricity account - at a further averaged amount of R90000 per month. She said the new restaurant owners had already started with the refurbishment of the new Plaaskombuis, where Sunday buffet lunches, among others, would be served by mid-November 2020.
“The development of our online educational programmes and new outdoor activities is also progressing well, and will be available by early 2021,” said Kruger.