Uncertainty will compromise survival and recovery
3 July 2020
STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES AND ASSET MANAGEMENT, ALDERMAN JAMES VOS.
The uncertainty around whether or not intra-provincial travel and accommodation is permitted according to recently published regulations is compromising the recovery of the tourism and related sectors and cannot continue. That is why I have written to the Minister of Tourism, Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane for urgent clarity on this matter.
The regulations which were gazetted on 25 June 2020 by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, states that: “A person may leave his or her place of residence to travel for leisure purposes as allowed under Alert Level 3.”
These regulations followed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on 17 June 2020 in which he stated that: “Accredited and licensed accommodation, with the exception of home sharing accommodation like Airbnb” may reopen.
However, at the media briefing held by the Tourism Minister on 26 June 2020, the Minister stated that intra-provincial travel for overnight stays is not permitted. The ensuing confusion threatens the survival and recovery of this vital sector as well as the sectors that underpin it.
It goes without saying that urgent clarity is needed.
I have also appealed to the Minister of Tourism to urgently consider the unfettered reopening of tourism for leisure purposes and to lobby her counterpart, the Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula, to reopen aviation domestically between provinces for leisure as well.
I appreciate fully that as a country, we are reaching the predicted peak of infections. I do not make this request lightly but on the basis of the extensive health and safety protocols implemented by the industry for the reopening of the relevant sectors for business purposes.
At a briefing to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Tourism on 9 June 2020, the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) stated that if the industry and related sectors are not reopened soon, between 1,1 million to 1,2 million jobs will be lost. The TBCSA also stated that roughly 50 000 businesses have already had to close in some parts of the country and that approximately 600 000 direct tourism jobs could be lost just this year.
Cape Town’s economy is highly reliant on the tourism and related sectors for jobs and economic activity and we know that, according to the latest information from Statistics South Africa, the tourism sector added R18,1 billion to our economy and supported just over 113 000 jobs in 2018.
I am confident that by reopening these sectors, on the strict condition of the implementation of the necessary health and safety measures, we will be able to breathe life back into these vital sectors.