DA fears for 100,000 accommodation jobs

Posted on 15 June 2020

The official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, has responded to the government’s response to slowly opening up the tourism sector, warning that over 100,000 Western Cape accommodation sector jobs are on the line.

In a response posted to Facebook, DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Finance, Economic Opportunities, and Tourism Deidré Baartman explained that the gradual opening means accommodations won’t be able to pay their bills.

‘We need to look at ways of opening up for safe tourism before that [December]. Before jobs are lost in addition to the service providers who will suffer,’ she said.

The number presented by Baartman is a projection based on research by her department. In May, Premier Alan Winde presented this department’s initial estimate at 200 000 jobs lost if the Western Cape remained at Lockdown Alert Level 4.

The DA aren’t the only ones who have called for the sector to open sooner. The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) has proposed a different opening strategy which would see businesses in the sector up and running and the country’s borders open to tourism by September.

Under Lockdown Level 3, some tourist sector activities such as hiking, cycling and fishing have allowed but this has not extended to hotels and guest accommodation. These have only been allowed to open for COVID-19 assistance, including housing essential workers and assisting with quarantine. However, no leisure traveller bookings are allowed.

Baartman also admonished the government for their relief fund and its BBBEE requirements.

‘A pandemic is not the time to prioritise relief funding on the basis of race, when entire industries are on the line,’ she said.

Image credit: Pexels

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