Tourism bodies in Cape Town fear that rising COVID-19 infections in the city may have a devastating impact on the industry this festive season. Although no decision has been made on the possibility of restricting the movement of people, concern abounds. There are now over 8 000 active cases in the province and over 1 000 people have been hospitalised. Provincial authorities have stressed that the economy cannot afford to go into lockdown, but have discussed possible measures to limit the spread.
Summer in the Mother City is synonymous with tourists and locals descending on the many beaches along the coastline. But, large crowds are to be avoided if a resurgence of COVID-19 is to be brought under control. The province’s Health Department said that infections have been rising steadily since October. In the Cape Metro, the active number of cases have increased from 1 500 two weeks ago to over 2 500 this week. This is an increase of more than 70%. The Cape Winelands, also popular as a destination during the festive season, has seen an 80% rise in infections over the past week.
“Tougher and stricter measures will definitely impact on the tourism sector this festive season, especially when it comes to places that usually draw larger crowds whether it is beaches, restaurants, festivals etc. And we remain concerned that some of these venues or locations can become super spreaders of the virus,” Cape Town Tourism CEO, Enver Duminy, says.
Fear that rising COVID-19 infections will impact Cape Town tourism negatively:
There is also uncertainty about whether or not the Tweede Nuwejaar Street Parade, a staple on the festive holiday calendar, will go ahead this year. This event traditionally also draws thousands of spectators, who usually line the designated route. The Kaapse Klopse Karnivaal Association says it will have a final meeting with the City of Cape Town next week, before it can be determined whether or not the event will go ahead.
“Cape Town tourism is definitely appealing to its citizens as well as its visitors as well as to the industry to make sure that we adhere to safety protocols of washing hands, sanitising regularly, wearing face masks when out in public and we are also asking the tourism industry to play their part to make sure that they stick to safety protocols but also that they can manage any areas where there are going to be crowds; not only in their establishments or attractions but also those that are standing in queues to access their facilities,” urges Duminy.
The body says a collaborative effort is needed by civil society, visitors and the industry to protect tourism and lives.