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Minister asks tourism to be creative post Covid-19

It needs to find ways to attract cash-strapped customers who may still fear the virus spreading.
Starting to think of reinventing the tourism industry for post-Covid-19 might not be a bad idea. Image: Shutterstock

On weekends, most people hit the road and find some fun activity to take part in or enjoy an evening out at a restaurant after work.

These were the heydays of the South African tourism sector, which in 2019 accounted for 1.5 million jobs and represented 8.6% of all economic activity in the country, according to an annual review by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

It was a vibrant industry primarily driven by leisure pursuits and able to lure international tourism spend as well as domestic travellers.

But things have changed, with the spread of Covid-19 not only instilling fear among many but taking over the streets of a South Africa that was once jubilant.

Not dead yet

Tourism is the hardest hit industry. Prior to the lockdown at the end of March, many had limited their movements and started to cancel their leisure bookings in fear of contracting the virus. The only places currently open in the sector are those hotels that are being used for quarantine purposes and airports receiving returning South Africans.

Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says the industry needs to think of creative ways to revitalise the industry post Covid-19.

“One has to ensure that we have a tourism sector that can respond to the challenge. We know that we are not going to be the same and if we think that we are going to continue like we did [previously], it is not going to work.”

One of the core issues she advises the tourism sector to look into is pricing.

“Be realistic with South African’s financial situation post Covid-19 as many will have less money to spend.

“We can adapt in the sense that we look at the pricing and what are the main issues that people have been raising with us in domestic tourism,” Kubayi-Ngubane says.

She points out that in the past people have complained that travelling is expensive for them. Moving forward she advises that to attract consumers into the tourism sector there needs to be an introspection into pricing.

Those are the people we would like to bring back into the industry, she says – “are we going to be able to get them?”

She also highlighted that international marketing needs to be relooked “as foreigners spend more on travelling”.

However, based on last year’s WTTC report, 44% of SA’s tourism spend came from international travellers and 56% from domestic travel.

She emphasises that companies need to put in place “packages that will be attractive for people to get out of the house” showing that the tourism industry can still function while performing responsible social distancing and adhering to the new way of doing things post Covid-19.

Don’t despise tourism

The minister warns that many will blame the tourism sector for the spread of Covid-19 and pleads with the industry to actively work towards combating the spread of the virus.

“If we are not seen as collaborative and working together with South Africans and the teams which are trying to deal with the virus, we are going to be rejected and we are going to be seen as a [sector] that contributed to Covid-19 when people are dying,” Kubayi-Ngubane says.

Job losses

According to the WTTC up to 50 million jobs worldwide in the travel and tourism industry could be lost.

It says that even when the outbreak is over, it could take up to 10 months for the tourism sector to recover. For emerging destinations like those in Africa, it could take well over a year.

This is not far-fetched at this point: Kubayi-Ngubane says airlines are likely to be grounded until the first week of December – which is adding to hotel bookings being cancelled and many restaurants shutting their doors.

“I have been in touch with the local airline industry and they are going through a tough time. We have been looking at mechanisms to try and support or help them, even though they are not directly in our portfolio.”

Kubayi-Ngubane says based on her discussions with the Department of Transport, they are bound to have issues if they are not operating by July.

Retail analyst Chris Gilmour says it will be of utmost importance for the industry to work towards rebuilding the international tourism element. “The single biggest problem will be to get people back into the swing of things.”

He agrees with the minister that tourism needs to look at other streams of creating revenue that will be reasonable for consumers as they will have limited disposable cash.

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Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says “the industry needs to think of creative ways to revitalise the industry post Covid-19”

I had to check my calendar to make sure it’s not an April fools joke

Minister, the draconian way the lock down has been handled by our “competent” Government has not stalled the tourism industry, IT HAS THROTTLED IT TO DEATH!

Tourism like many other industries might all but disappear!! There wont be money left to resuscitate it!

Given that many in the industry do not qualify for assistance due to their BEE status or lack thereof, the only people that will be “creative” are the banks with foreclosures and vultures at auctions.

Guess what! The people who will suffer most are the very same people who voted your party into power, for they are employed by Lodges, B&B’s and more! So, no assistance to them adds to the list of the unemployed souls! Perhaps you knew this but don’t care?

Prey do tell us when is “post Covid19 when no vaccine is available just yet , chances are fair to middling that we can go back to level 5, sending more and more businesses into an abyss? Get real sir, it could be 18 months away

Let me remind the Minister that his collegue and comrade Tito announced earlier that 7 million people risk losing their jobs, cigarettes are now sold illegally to 11 million smokers robbing Treasury of much needed revenue( One has to beg the question why the about turn and who is benefitting) The smokers will continue smoking

This Government cannot possibly be the solution to this crisis as they are the cause of our economic demise, pre Covid19, finish and klaar

I trust you not for you have already taken this country down the road of destruction with your brazen corruption, nepotism, cadre deployment and YOUR STRINGENT BEE policy

Let History show that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. As Government you are incompetent and nothing will change, stop pulling the wool over our eyes!

I suspect the other Zuma will not be in the cabinet in August. She shoveled her own grave even if it is lined with her family’s illicit market smuggling profits.

Flush!

Expert minister : Let them eat creative cake ( or cake creatively )…

Thank you. At last there’s someone else out there who understands that these lockdowns are futile and hugely damaging to economy and the preservation of life.

Here’s why the lockdowns are futile: the minute you stop them the virus goes on spreading unchecked. So you can never afford to stop them. They must become permanent until a vaccine is found which could be never. Because as long as you have a lockdown you won’t ever get to herd immunity.

In the meantime, all sensible options to limit the spread of the virus are available. Use a mask, wash your hands, social distance. Expand hospital facilities.

Instead of losing 7m jobs, you’ll actually create a few because we need 50m masks, and we’re expanding hospital facilities that we can keep after the passage of the virus.

Instead we have an economy in ruins and the virus is still there. And anytime we lift the lockdown we unwind the huge sacrifice we’ve made already, so guess what? Got to keep it in place.

Forever.

Just brilliant.

No doubt the government will play their part by extending the lockdown as long as possible and tightening up visa requirements for foreign nationals.

This lock-down was never about the virus. It was destroying the white business sector, to expedite the long-dreamed about NDR.

Correct Incitatus: Freedom as envisaged has arrived : FREE food , FREE cash /hand outs/FREE Security / WMC Destroyed —in Fact the long awaited FREEDOM:
When the new temp Handouts are withdrawn , Arise the EFF : Start the revolution without me (we are a Monty Python Country now in fact a Flying Circus ).

Unfortunately the tourism sector has one big additional problem. The “incumbent” herself.

Total lack of vision and we all know her only “substantial” contribution. Please man, she needs to be “In Touch” with the local airline industry for it to dawn on her that they are in trouble.

Total failure.

The government has fully expressed its attitude towards white people and white owned tourist enterprises.

Doubt if they will ever show a profit to share with this government.

There are always these pesky capital deductions coming in the way of taxes ne!!!!

Pre booking id copies should also come in handy for selecting customers that will blend in with thee environment and dietary requirements.

Exclusively catering for overseas visitors is also a great idea – charge in dollars only!!!

It’s going to be a tough sell that’s for sure. More so in the age of social media, information overload and fear mongering. And then there are business travellers that are realising they can conclude deals online using video calling (or Zoom video calling as others refer to it). The people who used to fly into a city on a Thursday morning for business and tour that very city on Friday and Saturday to leave on Sunday night not be there anymore.

Grim!!!

Not to mention the increase in crime & poverty..

I assume that you are only directing your comment to the BEE companies that are able to apply for assistance. Your racist policy has already killed smaller non BEE operations.

One must mention the fact that tourism was geared on the overseas tourist. They priced themselves out of the local market. SANParks especially is guilty of this.

Agree, just compare the overseas daily fees to the local.

These comments from the Minister evidence a complete lack of thought. As I write this I am mentally composing a response to my own comment – are you surprised??

You cannot in all honesty ask the industry to be creative and then apply BEE rules to Covid-19 relief.

Also the Govt have been milking the cash cows like Kruger for years not reinvesting and now they see their funds dry up.

Maybe the Govt should rather concentrate on repatriation of illegal aliens.

Be pragmatically “creative” with the bookkeeping and very selective with employment.

Given the ANC’s destruction of the rand there was a danger of South Africa descending into a glorified theme park for Brit and US street sweepers, ticket collectors etc. If the Covid-19 virus dissuades these carpet baggers from coming here to gawp at the human and other wildlife, so much the better. As for people in the local tourism and travel industry – well, it’s time you adjusted your demands to the realities of South Africa’s permanent population.

Please minister, keep quiet and go away! That’s as polite as I can be.

Dropping prices to attract locals only makes sense if you are assured that the number of bookings will increase. Given that tourism is not assured, owners may find that they are getting a double whammy – Lower prices with lower occupation.

Given that the Rand has depreciated so spectacularly means that foreigner looking for a cheap destination may again re-look at South Africa. It would make more sense to me to focus on the foreign market as you could even increase your Rand rates (and still be cheaper in USD or Euro terms than a year ago).

I tried the strategy of dropping prices in my own accommodation business a year or 2 ago to attract more locals, especially during the winter months. I saw a drop in daily rates, a drop in bed nights and therefore revenue and profitability. Tourism owners need to try and make up lost money now, not throw good money after bad after this disaster.

End of comments.

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