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Covid travel restrictions cost CapeNature R12.7 million in tourism revenue

Travel restrictions and lockdown have had a negative impact on CapeNature’s tourism revenue projections. Picture: File

Travel restrictions and lockdown have had a negative impact on CapeNature’s tourism revenue projections. Picture: File

Published Jan 25, 2022

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CAPENATURE lost R12.7 million in projected tourism revenue as a result of lockdown and travel restrictions.

MEC for Local Government Anton Bredell addressed the loss in response to a written question on the impact of last year’s travel restrictions.

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CapeNature manages as many as 113 nature reserves and wilderness areas across the province’s five districts, including six marine protected areas.

The DA’s Andricus van der Westhuizen’s question dealt with November’s travel restrictions to South Africa after the emergence of the Omicron variant. America, Britain and several European countries banned travel from numerous Southern African countries shortly after the variant was identified - threatening to cripple an already fragile tourism industry that largely depended on international tourists.

Asked whether CapeNature had to refund any international tourists, Bredell said: “Yes, CapeNature will be providing all foreign visitors who were prevented from travelling to South Africa with a full refund and cancellation fees will not be charged.

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“A total of nine bookings to the value of R34 445.13 have been impacted by the international travel ban.”

Despite the majority of CapeNature’s clientele coming from locals, the entity still fell short of their targeted income from tourists.

“(Around) 99% of CapeNature’s booking clients are South African. Therefore, the travel restriction on international tourists (had) a minimal impact on CapeNature’s tourism numbers and turnover,” he said.

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“CapeNature lost R12 718 979 in tourism-related revenue. The tourism revenue income target was R40 508 618 for 2020/21. The entity realised R27 789 639 at the end of (the financial year).”

As a means of boosting interest in its facilities last year during Tourism Month, CapeNature offered visitors free access to 22 of its reserves in the Western Cape between September 13 to 20.

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