Capital says harsh lockdowns this summer will be ’final nail in the coffin’ for SA travel sector
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The Capital Hotels and Apartments has urged South African president Cyril Ramaphosa to not implement harsh lockdowns this festive season.
While cases are on the rise, the hotel group believes that it could cause severe implications for the travel industry.
The hotel group said another lockdown will be the "final nail in the coffin" for the South African travel, tourism, and hospitality industry that has already lost more than R1bn in bookings for travel in the last week, with the tragic implication of more than 200 000 people losing their jobs.
The travel industry needs certainty for people to book with confidence and in advance.
"We call on the government to make every effort to avoid imposing additional restrictions on the sector, particularly over the festive season break when many businesses will be trying to recover from the losses over the past 19 months. We appeal to him to take alternate measures to protect South Africa, its people, and its economy," the group said in a statement.
They believed that vaccines should be mandatory.
"We note that several labour unions have come out in support of mandatory vaccination, following the president’s announcement of a task team to investigate this issue. Waiting for the task team to consult more broadly is going to cost lives," the hotel group said.
"We urge President Ramaphosa to take action to save lives and the economy and make vaccination against Covid-19 mandatory. Waiting until the new year is too late. The science is clear: vaccines work."
Capital believes that the country should implement a targeted lockdown as some European countries have. They also wanted travel to remain open in South Africa.
"Closing provincial borders will not stop the spread of the virus – it will just kill what little hope the local tourism industry has of staying alive. "The virus spreads less in open, outdoor spaces. It simply makes no sense to keep the closed spaces of malls and churches open, and then to forbid people to use outdoor spaces. These are an essential part of the tourism economy, and informal traders depend on them for survival," the statement added.