Some Western Cape tourism businesses report cancellations of 50% or more for December after travel ban

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Seventy-seven percent of tourism businesses have had cancellations for their December bookings. (Getty Images)
Seventy-seven percent of tourism businesses have had cancellations for their December bookings. (Getty Images)
  • The Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism is monitoring the impact of the travel ban imposed on SA after the discovery of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
  • According to a survey, 77% of 635 respondents have had cancellations from clients who made bookings for December 2021.
  • Forty-one percent said 50% or more of their December 2021 bookings were cancelled.

Seventy-seven percent of tourism businesses in the Western Cape have had December booking cancellations, and of those, 41% reported that more than half of their clients have rescinded.

This is according to data collected by the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, which is monitoring the impact of the travel ban imposed on South Africa, following the discovery of the Omicron variant of the virus that causes Covid-19.

Data collected in an ongoing survey on the impact on the industry by Tuesday, also showed that of the 635 responses received, predominantly from the Garden Route, Cape Town and Cape Winelands -  59% of respondents have had cancellations from clients who made January bookings. Of these, 29% said that 50% or more of their bookings for the month were called off.

And according to the results, 90% of respondents anticipated that their revenue between December and February 2022 would be lower, owing to international bans, while 62% said they would lose half of their revenue over the same period.

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Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier said he has been in regular contact with consul generals, who have also been present at the airport, while dealing with those who want to return to their homes abroad. In a statement, he also said he has convened a meeting with the tourism and hospitality sector about the province's response, including a briefing on the latest flight schedules and developments regarding the novel coronavirus.

Premier Alan Winde said his administration was "engaging with the international community" to remove the travel bans, which have a severe impact on the Western Cape economy.

He said:

We are lobbying to have the travel bans removed. The World Health Organisation has been clear that this is not the correct response by the international community. The Quarterly Labour Force Survey data released [on Tuesday] demonstrates clearly just how badly we need the tourism and hospitality sector to create jobs over this peak season.

"I engaged with consul generals from our partner countries in Africa last night, during which we agreed that the measures against traveling to our region be lifted and that research be conducted to guide our response to the pandemic.

READ | SA travel ban update: Japan and Malaysia harden borders, Uzbekistan joins in

"Today, I will further be engaging with the SA Chamber of Commerce UK, where I will again state the devastating impact of these bans and the need to reopen our borders to one another."

The provincial government said it was prepared to respond to a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections, and was monitoring data to ensure that it has the necessary resources to respond to pressure on the health platform.

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