- Even if a vaccine is developed for Covid-19, it will take some time for South Africa's tourism industry to recover, according to Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro.
- That is one of the reasons why Wesgro compiled The Western Cape Guide to Global Best Practice for Supporting Tourism and Hospitality, launched on Tuesday.
- Innovation plays a big role too, in the view of Harris, in the process of getting the local tourism going again.
Even if a vaccine is developed for Covid-19, it will take some time for South Africa's tourism industry to recover, according to Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro, the tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape.
That is one of the reasons why Wesgro compiled The Western Cape Guide to Global Best Practice for Supporting Tourism and Hospitality, launched on Tuesday.
"Tourism drives economic growth and provides jobs. Interventions matter and we try to save these jobs," he said during a launch briefing.
"Before the pandemic, the industry was growing well in the Western Cape. Therefore, our challenge now is how to get back to that point and help companies to survive until we can get to pre-Covid levels again."
According to Harris, Wesgro research shows that "community tourism" - being a tourist in your own neighbourhood and province - has become an important trend.
Innovation plays a big role too, in his view, in the process of getting the local tourism going again. One example is the use of no-touch parking meters.
"The Western Cape offers plenty of fresh air and open spaces and we are using technology to make sure protocols are in place for the safety of tourists. We hope this new best practice guide will contribute to support towns in the Western Cape to welcome tourists back," said Harris.
An example he gave was the Overberg region which could focus on offering value deals for families - including maybe children being able to stay for free.
"The Overberg offers lots of adventure tourism and even agri-tourism along with its beautiful scenery. At the same time, our urban offering is that you are also never far away from a beach or national park," said Harris.
David Maynier, Western Cape MEC of Finance and Economic Opportunities, said he is hopeful that it will not be too long before international commercial flights will again be allowed.
"We are ready to open safely and ready to start rebuilding the economy of the Western Cape. Tourism is very important for the province and the pandemic has been devastating, especially as far as jobs in the industry are concerned. Since the start of lockdown, we have been working hard to support tourism businesses," said Maynier.
"We engaged with national government regarding re-opening our borders and engaged with key stakeholders to ensure the province is ready as a tourism destination with all the required health and safety guidelines in place."
A tourism product development fund was also launched to support new or existing tourism products and experiences in the province.