Tourism plan will save 1.2 million livelihoods

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has unpacked a plan to save the tourism industry and ensure that the livelihoods of some 1.2 million people are not destroyed in the economic fallout of the COVID-19 lockdown.

This follows a revelation by the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, that the sector will only reignite by December this year. According to the DA shadow minister of tourism, Manny De Freitas, by that time, most of the tourism, travel and hospitality industries will be decimated. “Unfortunately, the Department of Tourism’s answer to revitalise the sector leaves much to be desired and the government’s plan for the industry is lacking on many levels,” said De Freitas.

According to him, the recovery plan uses unfair criteria for the Tourism Relief Fund that cuts off many businesses. “We are thus proposing a short term and immediate plan to recover the sector, while still following COVID-19 hygiene protocols and practicing social distancing. This includes managing the crises and mitigate the impact, providing stimulus and accelerating recovery; and preparing for the future. Our plan is based on comprehensive research. We consulted with over 30 organisations and individuals within the tourism sector. This plan is further informed by four main surveys undertaken within the sector,” he stated.

Open up all sectors in tourism industry

The DA is of the view that level 3 regulations must allow for the opening of all sectors in the tourism, travel and hospitality industries that can show that they can meet hygiene and social distancing protocols, as well as the opening of provincial borders to boost domestic tourism. De Freitas stressed that the sector simply cannot remain in limbo while the Tourism Minister will see how things go.

Hundreds of thousands of livelihoods are directly dependent on the tourism, hospitality and travel sector. As a result, supporting businesses by softening the lockdown, focusing on specific sub-sectors, will restore confidence and will ensure that more jobs are not lost.

The South African tourism industry employs over 700 000 people directly and twice that amount indirectly. When SA implemented a nationwide lockdown in March calling for strict physical distancing and limited economic activity the sector which involves, travel, accommodation, conference centers, restaurants, bars, and other leisure activities, was brought to a standstill.


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