TERS calls for support to tourism businesses in South Africa

With restaurants, hotels, casinos, cinemas, and airlines, such as British Airways, Kulula, and LIFT Airlines, not being able to trade or do business in a feasible manner under the revised lockdown regulations, there is a urgent need for financial assistance to the companies concerned. .

DESPERATE TIMES FOR THE TOURISM SECTOR

Businesses in the tourism, hospitality and aviation sectors have been severely affected by the new restrictions currently in place. The lack of international visitors to the country, along with new restrictions on locals, is once again putting many businesses on the brink of collapse.

Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), said the government needs to implement financial assistance for the sector in order to avoid another collapse.

“We don’t have an international tourism market right now due to the pandemic, and now, under more severe containment, domestic tourism is reduced,” Tshivhengwa said.

IMPACT OF THE THIRD WAVE OF COVID-19

The growing number of COVID-19 infections across the country has forced the government to impose stricter lockdown measures starting June 28, in a bid to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

When announcing the updated lockdown measures on Sunday, June 27, President Cyril Ramaphosa made no mention of financial support for businesses affected by the 14-day lockdown.

There is still some degree of uncertainty as to whether the current Level 4 restrictions will be extended beyond July 11, as previous lockdown adjustments have often been extended beyond the initial announced periods, resulting in severe impacts. economic for the companies concerned.

“COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown restrictions are currently in place and the industry is under even more pressure and continues to be one of the hardest hit,” Tshivhengwa said.

TRAVEL PROHIBITION TO GAUTENG

Gauteng is now the epicenter of COVID-19 infections in the country, with hospitals in the province barely able to cope with the growing number of admissions. The recently implemented lockdown restrictions ban all non-essential travel and ban entry and exit to Gauteng from all other provinces in South Africa.

According to Moneyweb, Gauteng represents more than half of South Africa’s domestic tourism market. The ban on travel to and from the province has an impact across the country, forcing major hotel and airline companies to suspend operations for several weeks.

“Leisure travel is limited outside of Gauteng, which accounts for more than half of the country’s domestic tourism market. This is why some hotel groups like Sun International have been forced to close casinos and hotels like the Sun City complex, ”Tshivhengwa said.

CALLS TO REBUILD TER FOR THE STRUGGLE SECTOR

The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) urges the government to reinstate the COVID-19 Temporary Employer and Employee Assistance (TERS) program for the struggling tourism and hospitality industry which has once again been affected by the lockdown measures.

“We cannot wait. A decision must be made now to avoid further job losses and heartache for our workers – many of whom are already on half-pay and struggling to make ends meet, ”Tshivhengwa said.

“Some businesses have actually not been operating since March of last year. If they continue, they need support and we will continue to push for that, ”he adds.

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