Noting the devastating impact on the travel and tourism sector, the TBCSA has issued a call to the government to ease lockdown restrictions.

After facing a difficult path in its recovery, the travel, tourism, and hospitality sectors were dealt a further blow on 28 June 2021 as advance level 4 restrictions meant no leisure travel was permitted to and from Gauteng. In addition, a nationwide alcohol ban has been implemented and restaurants are not permitted to serve diners at their establishments. This, says the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), has resulted in major financial losses during the current period that could see further job cuts if restrictions are not eased.

Widespread impact
The effects of the latest restrictions on hotels and BnBs were almost immediately felt, with many having to close all or some properties to save on operational costs. Airlines have grounded their fleets and car rental outlets are closed. Entrepreneurs in township and rural tourism have been brought to their knees and the risk of further job losses will increase the unemployment rate in South Africa.

“With approximately 60% of domestic travellers being from Gauteng and given that the province is the central connective point of the country, travellers, and commuters transit through when exploring surrounding provinces. This means that the entire tourism economy in the country is negatively affected. In the aviation sub-sector, close to 40% of travel is impacted as the OR Tambo International Airport accounts for over a third of annual domestic travel,” said Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO of TBCSA.

In addition to the travel ban, the advance level 4 lockdown regulations have meant that hotels and restaurants are not allowed to serve alcohol, which has resulted in many restaurants closing their doors, putting employees in the sector at risk of losing their jobs.

“We call on government to lift the alcohol ban and allow responsible trading by these entities to continue to sustain businesses and livelihoods,” said Tshifhiwa.

In the TBCSA’s statement, it noted that “the events, conferencing, exhibition and related businesses have also not been able to meaningfully resume operations since the beginning of the lockdown. This has resulted in many jobs along the value chain being lost and many small businesses closing. We call on government to lift the restrictions and allow a reasonable amount of people to attend events following protocols that are already established.”

Photo Of Person Riding Kayak During Dawn

Recent unrest
South Africa has faced further challenges in recent weeks with intense unrest that saw riots and looting take place across KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. This resulted in extensive damage to property and infrastructure, with around 800 stores looted and 100 malls affected, according to the South African Property Owners Association. The TBCSA believes that reopening the hospitality and alcohol industries could assist the recovery of the affected provinces.

“Domestic travel is a key pillar for the recovery of the tourism sector and consideration should be given to the lifting of the interprovincial travel and liquor bans as tourism recovery is imperative for the revival of the economy of South Africa,” concluded the TBCSA’s Tshifhiwa.

Issued by Vuma Reputation Management on behalf of the TBCSA. For media queries, contact Candice Marescia on candice@vumareputation.com or 067 415 6967.

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