COVID-19 brings tourism industry to its knees: Tourism Council

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The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) has painted a grim picture of the sector. In a briefing earlier on Monday, the council said the sector is on its knees as it tries to restore hope.

Furthermore, the council explains that the government has run out of money to fund the industry.

In April Minister of Tourism Mmamaloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced a COVID-19 Tourism Relief Fund of R200 million. The sector now says it is exploring its legal options against the government to force it to operate fully.

The industry is not fully operational and some sectors have been granted permission to operate.

Seeking for solution

Chairperson of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa Blacky Komani says they are now looking at a legal strategy to find a solution. He says they have exhausted all engagements with the government.

Komani says they have pleaded for the opening up of inbound and domestic leisure tourism markets.

“We designed world-class protocols. We met with the economic cluster and tourism was only going to operate at Level 2 and 1 and our plea to the president was that we don’t have that time. People are losing jobs; companies are closing. At the end of the day, these are difficult choices we have.”

In the video below, Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane briefs media about the opening of the sector: 

Chief Executive Officer of Southern Africa Tourism Services David Frost says they would rather engage with the government than take them to court.

“My suggestion is to give us a way forward because I see lots of whining, moaning, negative stuff being put out. We need to go in with interesting and differentiated conversations that are data-driven and evidence led. What a lot of people in the private sector don’t realise is that when you take somebody to court you stop speaking to them. In the political realm which is what we are engaged with here, is that we keep conversations open in other fronts. That’s what we are trying to achieve at this moment.”


Chief Executive Officer of the Council Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa says the sector should continue receiving funding from the government as it has been the hardest hit by COVID-19.

“We want to see our employees going back to work. We want to see our companies going back to work. Recovery starts when that one employee goes back to work. Unfortunately in the last regulation that was gazetted, the matter for domestic leisure was taken out. And there are many things that don’t make sense. No one can explain it and say this does not make sense. There is no point in going to court. We are not going to win. We will weaken ourselves further. We have to make sure we have the best legal minds to deal with the issues and tell us what the best outcome will be if we go to court.”