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Kaya Biz: What the travel ban means for the local tourism industry

Wiki Comms | Clifton Beach

Kaya 959 Reporter

The South African tourism sector is concerned by the emergence of the COVID -19 Omicron variant.

Tourism Business Council of South Africa believes that the UK should have done thorough consultations with South Africa to agree on a better approach to the discovery of the new Covid-19 variant.

The Council has expressed how the travel ban will have dire consequences for our economy.

Tshifwhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO of Tourism Business Council of South Africa, joined Gugulethu Mfuphi to share more on what is happening in the local tourism industry, painting a very bleak picture following the international travel ban.

Also Read: Point of View: South Africa’s response to travel restrictions imposed by several countries

How will the local tourism industry survive

“There hasn’t been any additional funding coming our way. I think that is one thing that made the President not to jump into restrictions, because any restriction you put in place has to be matched with some level of relief for both employees and businesses.” says Tshivhengwa

“We need to keep in mind that the UIF money that has been used is not just government money, but also employee’s money too. There hasn’t been much revenue, and we know that we were anticipating a high economic growth. The fact that now we are restricted, that will impact the economic growth. ”

“There hasn’t been any additional funding and we don’t think there’s going to be anything at the moment. We have to do with what we have, to be resilient, there’s going to be casualties in the process, but such is life. ”

“We are hoping the lifting of the bans happens faster, and hopefully by the 15th of this month.”

Speaking after the president speech with the SABC, Tshivhengwa, expressed how the international travel ban will hamper the progress that the sector has been making in the past few month.

“We have been lobbying to ensure the country remains where it is. It comes as international countries ban South Africans and travel to SA, limiting travel for us. So banning or disrupting it would not have worked in our favour and would have destroyed what is left of the tourism industry. So we do welcome the move. We think it is a balanced approach and we do have the tools to deal with COVID.” he said.

Also Read: UK does U-turn on SA travel ban decision

South Africans encouraged to travel locally

He encouraged South Africans to consider supporting local travel, and being fully vaccinated.

“People must enjoy their own country, those who were planning to travel overseas should travel here at home.”

“We’ve got fantastic products, let’s make sure the rand circulates and jobs are created, both formal and informal businesses.”

“You can image someone who sells ice-cream at the beach in Durban, would go without any income. This is the biggest season, some of the people make an income worth 3-4 months in this season.” – added Tshivhengwa

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