The Western Cape administration is pleading with the national government to relax Covid-19 lockdown regulations and allow for a resumption of more tourism activity, and help the ailing sector recover

In a statement, Western Cape head of finance and economic opportunities, David Maynier, said he had written to co-operative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, requesting that they permit tourism for leisure purposes and the subsequent movement of people intra-provincially, subject to strict health and safety protocols.

“With severe restrictions on international and local travel during the Covid-19 pandemic, there is no doubt that the tourism sector has been hard-hit during this crisis, and will require a great deal of support to ensure its survival,” he said.

“Specifically, we are requesting that accommodation establishments should be allowed to accept guests who are travelling for leisure purposes, that intra-provincial movement of people should be permitted for leisure purposes, and that certain visitor attractions, where risk is low, should be allowed to reopen.”

Minimise further job losses

Allowing these sections of the tourism and hospitality sector to open under South Africa’s current level 3 restrictions would help minimise further job losses and accelerate the industry’s recovery, he said.

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Currently, accommodation establishments are only allowed to receive guests if they are remaining tourists confined to such facilities or people in quarantine or isolation.

“Businesses in tourism regions are also permitted to open, yet given that they rely on a flow of people to drive business it is unclear how they will be supported during alert level 3 without travel for leisure being permitted,” Maynier said.

Tourism is a major contributor to the Western Cape economy, including employment, but the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic could cost the province 248 872 direct and indirect jobs, with up to 50 percent of all tourism businesses closing.

“If we can start to safely open the tourism sector and get much needed cash flow back into this sector we can prevent establishments from closing permanently which would make recovery even more challenging,” said Maynier.

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Author: ANA Newswire