The impact of a planned third Covid-19 wave in South Africa and the introduction of additional lockdown measures at Easter could be another blow to an already devastated tourism industry, says Fedhasa, the national trade association of the hospitality industry.
The group cited Statistic South Africa’s recent report on liquidations and bankruptcies, which showed that a total of 56 businesses in the trade, catering and accommodation sector were liquidated between January and February 2021.
Fedhasa also pointed out that the main Stats SA accommodation and food and beverage reports for January 2021 show a significant drop in total tourist accommodation income (-72.9%) compared to January 2020.
The food and beverage industry did not fare much better, with a -36.1% drop in total revenue generated over the same period, he said.
“However, the figure of 56 companies in liquidation does not reflect the many other hospitality companies that have closed their doors, but have not officially gone through the liquidation process, so the pictures are probably much worse than these numbers. don’t indicate it, ”said Rosemary Anderson, president of Fedhasa.
“The hospitality industry has been left in shambles by the first and second waves and many businesses are now so compromised financially that they are unable to hang on any longer, especially in light of an expected third wave and of the resulting foreclosure measures.
“Some hotels, which depend entirely on business tourism and international tourism, have been closed for a year now,” Anderson said.
She said that a major cause for concern is that in anticipation of Easter, the government will introduce restrictions that will have a further negative impact on tourism and hospitality businesses that have relied on a financial boost over the course of of this period to survive and retain their staff.
“Fedhasa has designed a strong set of health and safety protocols for Covid-19, and our members are keenly aware of the importance of complying with these standards in order to protect the public and to be able to continue negotiating.
“Despite the likely increase in domestic travel at Easter, there is arguably no industry as aware of the direct relationship between adherence to protocols and industry recovery as the hospitality and tourism industry,” Anderson said.
Continued exchanges with strict adherence to security measures, coupled with mass vaccination of the South African public, is the only solution, she said.
“More than 120 countries do not allow South African travelers or their citizens to visit South Africa. It is concerning that our immunization program has not yet started in earnest, and we risk being left behind unless we start to see more progress soon in this regard.
Read: Tourism hammered in South Africa