We are open for business travel, now we should open the general hospitality industry too, sticking to strict safety protocols already in place
10 June 2020
MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES AND ASSET MANAGEMENT, ALDERMAN JAMES VOS.
Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, James Vos, has made an urgent appeal to the Minister of Tourism, Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, that she considers and lobbies Cabinet to allow the reopening of tourism related industries, including the hospitality, accommodation and aviation sectors. Read more below:
In my interactions through site visits, webinars and electronic communications with various stakeholders in the restaurant/hospitality, accommodation and aviation sectors, I have been impressed by how they have adapted and innovated in a bid to get back to business.
Together with the City of Cape Town’s Enterprise and Investment Department, we have had various engagements with key tourism bodies including the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (FEDHASA), which is the recognised national trade association for the hospitality industry, including hotels, restaurants, conference centres, B&Bs and guest houses, clubs, taverns, shebeens, and service providers to the hospitality industry.
FEDHASA agreed that the majority of sectors within the tourism and related industries are ready to reopen safely for non-business travel too because all the necessary health and safety protocols needed are already in place for business travel.
My request that Minister Kubayi-Ngubane urgently consider and lobby Cabinet to allow the reopening of tourism related industries is a direct result of extensive health and safety protocols implemented by the industry.
Yesterday, at a briefing to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Tourism, 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 part and that approximately 600 000 direct tourism jobs could be lost just this year.
The tourism and related sectors are catalytic sectors and are vital for economic recovery. If this sector is denied the opportunity to reopen, billions will be lost and thousands of people will lose their jobs.
The economy of Cape Town 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.
Minister Kubayi-Ngubane stated that ‘there was a commitment by government, led by the President, and the private sector to work towards getting more tourism activities into enhanced Alert level 3 or level 3 reloaded. This means that our sector still has an opportunity for opening up more subsectors at Alert level 3.’
This gives me hope that by working together we can return these vital sectors to operation for both business and leisure, under the condition that strict health and safety measures are observed by all.
We must breathe life back into these sectors and work together to reopen leisure travel as soon as possible.