Tourism sector has lost billions of rands, shed more than 300 000 jobs - deputy minister

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • The severity of the lockdown has left the tourism industry shaken and more than 300 000 workers jobless.
  • Deputy Tourism Minister Fish Mahlalela says businesses in the Bojanala District in North West alone have lost more than R600 million.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa recently launched the R1.5 billion Tourism Equity Fund, which many hope will rescue the sector and bring new players into the market.

South Africa's tourism industry has lost billions of rands and more than 300 000 jobs due to the hard lockdown since the outbreak of Covid-19.

Deputy Tourism Minister Fish Mahlalela said the impact of Covid-19, accompanied by the hard lockdown, severely affected the tourism sector both locally and internationally.

Visiting North West on Tuesday, Mahlalela said among the areas hardest hit was the Bojanala District.

Bojanala encompasses tourist destinations such as Hartbeespoort Dam, Sun City, Pilanesberg National Park and the Royal Madikwe Game Lodge.

Mahlalela said:

"In Bojanala, they have lost over R600 million alone. In other areas of the country, there are businesses that lost more than what Bojanala has lost. We have lost more than 300 000 jobs thus far. Some establishments have closed completely, others have not opened and some are gradually opening."

He said the department was assessing the impact of Covid-19 in Bojanala.

"Bojanala has been affected in a big way, especially in relation to international tourists. There are no international tourists visiting North West because of the lockdown in the country... What is pleasing is that there is some improvement on the domestic market. We still encourage South Africans to explore their own country. They must do that by adhering to health protocols.

"Bojanala District is a concern as tourism is affected. However, there is enthusiasm to travel by our domestic tourists. More people must come and explore tourism products offered by the North West province. Once people have been vaccinated in the country, we will begin to market the country outside."

Mahlalela said soon after the rollout of the vaccine nationally, they will mobilise the international market.

READ | Fears over 'local' coronavirus variant a fresh threat to SA's limping tourism sector

"The bedrock for tourism should be domestic tourism. It should be our own people travelling the country in order to save jobs. At least, all workers in Bojanala have returned to their posts. We hope that when things stabilise in the country we will be opening land borders, which are a key market for us in Africa.

"We have developed a recovery plan that will be submitted to Cabinet for adoption. As part of broadening the business, President Cyril Ramaphosa has launched the R1.5 billion Tourism Equity Fund to enable new entrants into the market," Mahlalela said. 

North West Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism MEC Kenetswe Mosenogi said tourism in the province contributed R8 billion to the economy of the country.

"From the study that we have made, Bojanala District alone employs more than 4 000 employees. From where we are now, we are experiencing a depreciation of R600 million of investment in the tourism space and about 400 to 600 jobless employees.

"We have not counted Sun City yet, because there are engagements taking place to ensure how we can assist each other. As adjusted levels are being introduced depending on the state of affairs of the infection rate in the country, we have seen a number of improvements [in the] arrival of tourists in the province," Mosenogi said.

Did you know you can comment on this article? Subscribe to News24 and add your voice to the conversation.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Who do you think should accept responsibility for the dire state of Eskom’s power system?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Eskom’s current management must take the fall
4% - 204 votes
Previous bosses from Zuma years are to blame
33% - 1817 votes
Mantashe and govt have been asleep at the wheel
31% - 1726 votes
There are many culprits; it’s a complex situation
33% - 1834 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.35
-1.0%
Rand - Pound
21.27
+0.1%
Rand - Euro
18.30
-0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.80
+0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.1%
Gold
1,797.30
0.0%
Silver
23.48
0.0%
Palladium
1,956.00
0.0%
Platinum
1,028.50
0.0%
Brent Crude
76.10
-0.1%
Top 40
68,351
+0.1%
All Share
74,548
+0.1%
Resource 10
73,315
-0.7%
Industrial 25
92,605
+1.0%
Financial 15
15,401
-0.9%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE