"With approximately 60% of domestic travellers being from Gauteng and given that the province is the central connective point of the country, travellers, and commuters transit through when exploring surrounding provinces. This means that the entire tourism economy in the country is negatively affected. In the aviation sub-sector, close to 40% of travel is impacted as the OR Tambo International Airport accounts for over a third of annual domestic travel," says Tshivhengwa.
In addition to the travel ban, the harsh advance level 4 lockdown regulations include an alcohol sale ban. Hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality businesses are not allowed to serve alcohol, which has resulted in many restaurants closing their doors due to businesses being unable to break even.
This has put thousands of employees in this sector at risk of losing their jobs.
"We call on government to lift the alcohol ban and allow responsible trading by these entities to continue to sustain businesses and livelihoods," says Tshivhengwa.
The events, conferencing, exhibition and related businesses have also not been able to meaningfully resume operations since the beginning of the lockdown. This has resulted in many jobs along the value chain being lost and many small businesses closing. We call on government to lift the restrictions and allow a reasonable amount of people to attend events following protocols that are already established.
In addition to these lockdown effects, the recent unrest and subsequent riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng have caused damage to infrastructure and businesses, meaning there is another hammering factor towards job loss. Reopening the hospitality and alcohol industries will have visible positive impact on the affected provinces.
"Domestic travel is a key pillar for the recovery of the tourism sector and consideration should be given to the lifting of the interprovincial travel and liquor bans as tourism recovery is imperative for the revival of the economy of SA," adds Tshivhengwa.