Covid-19 aftermath: SAT CEO offers how tourism industry can move forward
South African Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona in an opinion piece revealed what steps the South Africa tourism sector could adopt post-Covid-19.
Covid-19 devastated the tourism sector, with many establishments still closed due to level 3 regulations.
Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane told Parliament recently that an estimated R54.2-billion in output may already have been lost between mid-March and the end of May this year. The sector currently faces a potential 75 percent revenue reduction in 2020, with 438 000 jobs at risk.
“As tourism activities slowly resume, it is inevitable that certain things are going to change,” said Ntshona.
“Expected changes include new tourist behaviour patterns and preferences. For instance, research done by South African Tourism shows that as tourism restarts after lockdown, unsurprisingly, travellers are going to prefer open spaces and avoid crowded and ’touristy’ areas.”
Ntshona believed that to recover, the sector needed to adopt technologies to improve operational efficiencies and serve its post-Covid-19 travellers better.
“Expected changes in traveller behaviour post-Covid-19 present an opportunity for smaller and marginalised enterprises to leverage the trends that are anticipated. As visitors want to explore destinations less travelled, avoid crowds and take road trips rather than risk flying there are opportunities for individual travel guides, shuttle services, and one-person operators to tailor experiences to these preferences.
“The tourism sector tends to support a number of localised projects. Sustainable tourism fosters a positive economic, social, and environmental impact on host destinations. On the other hand, responsible tourism is about the manner in which visitors, residents, and small businesses interact with a destination,” he said.
Ntshona said the sector needed to be mindful of its responsibility to foster inclusivity and meaningful transformation.
“Part of our role as SA Tourism is to improve the lives of South Africans by contributing to the inclusive growth of the country’s economy through tourism. It stands to reason that, for tourism to contribute sustainably to job creation and poverty reduction, its value chain must be inclusive and transformed.
“The revised National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) 2016-2026 envisages sustainable development and growth of tourism enterprises in a manner that facilitates inclusive participation, job creation and contributes to the competitiveness of tourism destinations.
“By supporting marginalised and empowered enterprises, the sector contributes to South Africa’s long-term economic growth. Given the inequality and unemployment problem in the country, enterprise development is an opportunity for companies to play a positive role in society,” he said.