NATIONAL NEWS - Over R68 billion worth of travel spend has been lost since President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the lockdown in March.
According to the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) the leisure sector remains one of the hardest-hit sectors since the lockdown began.
While the industry continues to buckle under immense pressure, the sector argues that domestic interprovincial leisure travel could essentially save thousands of travel, tourism and hospitality jobs, but government has continued to block this by not reopening the industry.
“The end of June marked the last month that the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) will pay workers their Covid-19 TERS relief benefits.
“Insurance companies refuse to pay businesses for losses related to the Covid-19 lockdown, even though they are insured against business interruption.”
TBCSA is making an urgent call for government to reopen the sector, or face mass retrenchment from the sector.
“This will be further propelled by the UIF TERS benefit coming to an end and insurance companies refusing to pay legitimate claims,” according to TBCSA CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa.
“The industry loses R748 million every single day during lockdown. The TBCSA estimates a loss of 600,000 jobs if the sector remains closed with knock-on effects in other sectors. Roughly 49,000 SMMEs have already been negatively affected and many have already permanently closed shop.
“We developed protocols to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 across the entire tourism value chain and these have been accepted. The next steps that are taken by the tourism industry should reflect this and our readiness to reopen the industry.”