TBCSA reveals South Africa lost R68 billion travel and tourism spend during national lockdown
The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) revealed that more than R68 billion in tourism spend has been lost since South Africa’s national lockdown began at the end of March.
According to Stats SA’s Tourism Satellite Account, in 2018, total tourism spend in South Africa was R273,2 billion, while domestic tourism accounted for 56% of total spend and 44% was international inbound travel. This translates roughly to R22, 7 billion per month and R748 million per day in tourism expenditure that has been lost. Tourism in South Africa supports 1,5 million jobs and contributes 8.6% to the GDP.
TBCSA also revealed that over 250 000 employees within the tourism value chain applied for the UIF TERS program in April and May, which is expected to double when the June application opens. Roughly 49 000 SMMEs are already negatively affected, some predicted to close its doors soon.
The TBCSA recently presented a tourism recovery plan to the portfolio committee, which encourages the government to open international inbound travel by at least September 2020. The plan aims to take advantage of the inbound summer high season, which runs from September to March and represents 60% of South Africa’s international tourism annual revenue.
Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO of TBCSA, believes that to sustain the opening of accommodation for leisure, interprovincial travel must open.
"Without interprovincial travel, accommodation establishments will remain closed and jobs will be permanently lost. Provinces like Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, and others receive more domestic leisure travellers from Gauteng than their own provinces," he said.
StatSA’s domestic tourism survey indicates that 60% of all domestic overnight trips are across provincial borders, and this rises to 70% for trips from Gauteng. This means a majority of accommodation businesses in surrounding provinces rely entirely on Gauteng outbound domestic travel for their markets.
“If inter-provincial leisure travel is not allowed to take place, it will render the President stating that accommodation operations may trade to support economic activity to save businesses and jobs, futile. Without 90% of the market, of which approximately 60% travels across provincial borders, there will be no demand and businesses will not be able to trade, even at break-even levels," said Tshivhengwa.
He said the travel and tourism industry has been proactive in putting together safety protocols to mitigate the further spread of Covid-19.
"The very survival of this industry and the jobs it creates rests in the adjustment of these regulations. Every day that the industry remains retrained is a R748m loss of tourism expenditure and the further permanent loss of much-needed jobs," he added.