Over 90 000 jobs may be lost within the South African tourism industry in the next six months as a result of the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a report on how local tourism has been affected by COVID-19 and the resulting lockdown regulations, Cape Town Tourism (CTT) revealed that 83% of businesses within the tourism industry have indicated that they will not be able to survive longer than six months under current lockdown regulations, and only 4% can last longer than a year.

A total of 56% of South African businesses do not have a recovery plan, 36% are only able to provide staff with partial pay, 31% have placed their staff on unpaid leave and 18% have had to retrench employees.

These statistics were based on a survey CTT had done with members of the tourism industry, including accommodation providers, restaurants, tour operators and those that run activity/entertainment-based services marketed towards tourists.

“We implore the government on all levels to consider working with tourism in applying our enhanced safety protocols to reduce health risks and upgrading local tourism to at least Level 3, and domestic tourism at Level 2 in the short term,” said CTT chief executive Enver Duminy.

Duminy highlights the importance of the tourism industry to the South African economy and the need to support it.

“According to the latest available figures from Statistics SA, tourism value added to the South African economy was roughly R118.4 billion, tourism value added to Cape Town’s economy in 2018 was roughly R18.1bn. In the same year, according to the same source, the tourism sector in South Africa directly supported almost 740 000 jobs and just more than 113 000 jobs in Cape Town,” said Duminy.

“These numbers illustrate how vital this sector is to our economy. This is why it is important for us to understand where our members and other industry stakeholders need the most help so that we can ensure that we provide them with the support they need in order to survive.”

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