Gordhan says COVID-19 will have a long-term impact on tourism

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Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan says the coronavirus pandemic will have a long-term impact on tourism.

On Friday, Gordhan appeared before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) and the Public Enterprises Portfolio Committee with regard to the latest developments at South African Airways.

This as the coronavirus pandemic has seen many airlines grounded as countries announced border closures in a bid to stem the importation of the virus. Globally, there are over 4.6 million coronanvirus cases registered with over 308 000 deaths and 1.7 million recoveries.

Gordhan said it might take some time for tourists to feel comfortable enough to travel even after the pandemic has subsided.

“Tourism is a major factor as well as both international and continental travel to South Africa is concerned, let alone domestic –  the devastating impact the pandemic has had on tourism and the question will be when would people across the world find themselves comfortable to travel?”

Gordhan adds: “You can see that their current discussion in the EU about tourism being deactivated in some form or the other. There’s speculation that if the pandemic would be high and low in another they could be traveling in those countries but that’s all speculation if you like.”

In the video below, Pravin Gordhan’s briefs SCOPA

Ahead of the meeting, SAA gave members of Parliament the annual financial statements for the year ending March 2018, as well as the draft annual financial statement for the year ending March 2019.

This marks the first time the airline has presented its financials since 2017, and the first time the public has gained any insight into its financial situation since the group entered into business rescue in December 2019.

The airline has not turned a profit since 2011, and has received R57 billion in bailouts since 1994.

Last week, Gordhan said in discussions with trade unions, they agreed to take salary cuts of up to 40% to ensure SAA’s survival.

SAA’s administrators, appointed in December to try to rescue the airline, have said previously that a wind-down or liquidation of the loss-making airline were likely outcomes.