Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane and tourism sector MECs on Friday committed to creating a post-Covid-19 recovery plan for the sector, which has been severely impacted by restrictions implemented to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The Minister and MECs discussed this during an emergency virtual Tourism Minister and Members of the Executive Council (Minmec) meeting, the second such meeting to be held since the national lockdown was implemented in March.
“This meeting takes place at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic continues to negatively impact on the sector far more than any other sector in the economy. [We have] deliberated on the impact of Covid-19 on the tourism sector and the tourism recovery strategy including a risk adjusted approach for the sector in the immediate period," the Minister said.
Kubayi-Ngubane noted that almost all of the subsectors of the tourism industry remain closed during Alert Level Four of the risk adjusted approach to the reopening of economic activities after the Level Five lockdown.
“The meeting deliberated on the adverse socioeconomic impact of the virus on employment and livelihoods of tourism workers and entrepreneurs, including freelancers such as tourist guides. Minmec committed to devising measures to support the phased opening up of the tourism subsectors, informed by government’s risk-adjusted approach.
"It further called on the industry to collectively demonstrate leadership by being at the forefront of workplace, product and destination readiness through deploying solutions for safety, early detection and prevention measures for the mutual use by tourism operations and tourists alike,” said the Minister.
The Minmec also welcomed the fact that the emerging approach adopted appreciates the varying risk of transmission of the virus across tourism subsectors and welcomed all efforts that seek to de-risk tourism subsectors through the development of health protocols, working with the private sector in line with the risk-adjusted approach.
“To this end, we need to stand ready to provide guidance and support for recovery measures in the private and public tourism sector. As the sector starts to go back to work, it must institute health and behavioural protocols to lower the potential for further transmission”, said Kubayi-Ngubane.
The Minmec also commended and welcomed the Minister’s intervention through the Tourism Relief Fund, which has made R200-million available to help the industry during this time.
The Minmec also committed to speedily initiate interventions and mobilise provincial resources to mitigate further against the impact of Covid-19 on tourism.
The Minister and MECs agreed on the need to improve coordination and the pace of implementation of the intervention measures necessary for the recovery of the sector.
They also resolved to champion a national compact for tourism recovery and to investigate more measures to ensure continuous support to tourism businesses to adapt and thrive in a new post-crisis era, and explore innovative capacity building programmes aimed at enabling the travel and tourism sector to be more inclusive, robust and resilient.