GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - The tourism industry will be hardest hit by Covid-19. A report released by the Provincial Department of Economic Development and Tourism says other sectors taking severe strain include the construction, manufacturing and trade sectors.
Garden Route District Council was informed of the department's impact review report during a virtual meeting on Monday. According to the report, travel bans and social distancing have a stranglehold on the industry and will have long-term negative effects.
"People are likely to also remain cautious in the months to come, which could see this sector make a slower recovery than others," reads the report.
About 60%, or 10 122, of tourism employees in the Garden Route District are estimated to lose their jobs within the first year after the implementation of lockdown. Statistics from 2019 indicate that the tourism sector employs 8,8% of the Garden Route District workforce.
The construction industry has also taken a heavy blow, due to the industry being placed on ice in the initial lockdown period. "Demand for construction activities is also likely to decline when Covid-related stimulus and reduced government revenues will lead to lessened spending on infrastructure going forward," reads the report.
The Garden Route District's construction sector is projected to take a 40,7% (R1,913-billion) dip in the 12 months after the lockdown period. The report reads: "Manufacturing's contribution to the Garden Route economy is significant at 15,2% in 2019.
"The lockdown restrictions have however had a negative impact on 872 manufacturing operations largely due to the supply chain bottlenecks, reduced demand for industrial products locally and internationally, and because manufacturing jobs are generally on-site and cannot be carried out remotely."
The trade sector (wholesale and retail trade, catering and accommodation) contributed 16,4% of the district's economy in 2019.
The fact that non-essential retailers had to close down during the hard lockdown had a severe impact on the sector. Catering and accommodation businesses were also severely impacted.
The Garden Route Economy Cluster is working towards a recovery plan to combat the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the district's economiy across all sectors.
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