’Plans, actions and timelines could have been negotiated upfront with government’
PRETORIA – The festive season meant the timing for further restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19 could not have come at a worse time, Tshwane Tourism Association chairperson Bronwen Cadle de Ponte said.
She said there had been talks of the second wave of infections for months, and the plans, actions and timelines could have been negotiated upfront with the government.
“The pandemic and lockdowns have been damaging to our industry, but what has really devastated the industry is the lack of ability to plan due to uncertainty around timing and type of regulations. There have been sudden announcements and back and forth on some key critical matters.”
Cadle de Ponte explained a deeper look was needed into areas affecting the tourism industry such as school holidays. She suggested school holidays be a lot more staggered on local, regional and national level to prevent crowding and smooth out the spend in family disposable income throughout the year.
“The world and economy we operate in have become increasingly unpredictable. This necessitates more flexible agreements with all stakeholders and creditors. Most businesses which have survived the lockdown are facing mountains of debt and unpaid accounts.”
She said restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions have made surprising leaps forward in innovating and pivoting their offerings.
“This necessitated a deep analysis of consumer needs and wants, and I think our leisure and tourism offerings are going to emerge from this situation much improved and aligned to market expectations for the future.”
Beer Association of South Africa CEO Patricia Pillay said the previous alcohol bans and prolonged restrictions on the trade saw an estimated 7,400 jobs lost.
In the beer industry alone, restrictions caused R14.2 billion in lost sales revenue and more than R7.4bn loss in taxes and excise duties, she said.
“We are all nervous because it is December now, and in January, our kids will have to go back to school, so we need to ensure they are catered for by keeping on working.”