Johannesburg, 20 July 2020 – Today, the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) hosted a webinar with over 1600 key stakeholders within the tourism and hospitality sector. Hosted by TBCSA Chair Blacky Komani and CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa and moderated by David Frost, SATSA CEO, the trio to provide feedback on efforts by the council to lobby government for a phased reopening of the industry and to discuss the current state of the tourism industry.
Since the declaration of a National State of Disaster in South Africa, the TBCSA has met with the minister of tourism, health and finance, the economic cluster, the President, its counterparts in different countries and the big 5 banks to present the tourism recovery plan, to present the industry’s health protocols, industry job losses, business closures and financial relief.
Various industry bodies and business owners were presented with the opportunity to raise their concerns and solutions which ranged from UIF-TERS to Agri-tourism.
“Today’s session has further highlighted the frustration felt by various sectors of our industry, especially now with UIF-TERS not kicking in this month. One thing that is clear is the industry needs to stick together especially because we all have the same goal which is to see our businesses going back to work and to put food on the tables of our communities. Our role is to influence policy and we will continue to do this until we come out of this together.” said Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO of TBCSA
The TBCSA has said that it has to be sensitive to the fact that as infection numbers grow, it becomes difficult for government to give concessions to the industry, and one of the lessons learnt is to break down the industry into smaller sections to increase the possibility of small wins contributing to bigger industry success.
“The tourism industry has been affected by various international crises in the past and we have survived them, so we know will survive this one. COVID-19 is a moving target, so, the answer we have to today, may not be effective tomorrow, but we know that we must approach it with facts and data-driven strategy, open communication with government and we must continue to prove that our health protocols will help flatten the curve going into the future as we continue to be responsible and be compliant.” said Blacky Komani Chairperson of TBCSA
Every day that the industry remains restrained is a R748m loss of tourism expenditure and the further permanent loss of much needed jobs. The estimated loss of jobs currently stands at 600 000 direct jobs, if the sector remains closed with knock-on effects in other sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and banking.
“We have made some strides in terms of ensuring that some parts of the sector become operational during lockdown. Whilst we are frustrated with the current pace of the government’s response to our proposals, we must acknowledge some of our small wins such as the restaurant sector coming back online and continue to push for various areas in our sector to reopen by providing evidence to substantiate each case, and we are doing that daily.” concluded Tshivhengwa
The TBCSA is committed to ensuring that the industry reopens and commences to operate to its full capacity and are asking for a further review of regulations.