Looking ahead and as part of the recovery plan, the minister spoke of a renewed drive to attract more international events to South Africa.
The private sector has raised concerns after the department of tourism’s 2020-2021 budget was yesterday slashed almost in half, with its marketing arm taking the biggest knock.
Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane yesterday tabled a revised budget for her department, which sees R1 billion of the R2.8 billion originally allocated this year ceded back to Treasury.
The minister said during her address that SA Tourism – the official agency responsible for marketing the country to the rest of the world – would bear the brunt of the dramatic cut and lose R886 million. She said this was “due to suspension of most of the marketing activities”.
But the chief executive officer of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, said yesterday marketing was crucial – even more so in times of crisis.
“From the private sector, the fact that our marketing efforts are not going to be as robust because of this cut is obviously concerning to us,” he said.
“Usually in times of crisis, you want to make a country visible so that when people come out of the global crisis they know that South Africa does exist, that it’s ready to welcome tourists and that it’s a great tourist destination.”
The minister yesterday also revealed more details around the recovery plan for the industry, which has been left hobbling as a result of travel bans. But Tshivhengwa said any recovery plan needed to be funded. The concern is how we are going to fund it, with a cut budget?” he said.
The minister painted a grim picture of the current situation, describing the local industry as one of the worst-affected in the world.
“The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development predicts that tourism in South Africa is going to lose 3% in GDP contribution and the loss of unskilled jobs in the sector could be as high as 12% if the virus is contained in the next eight months,” she said.
“It is estimated that R54.2 billion in output may already have been lost between mid-March and the end of May this year.
“The sector now faces a potential 75% revenue reduction in 2020, putting a further R149.7 billion in output, 438,000 jobs and R80.2 billion in foreign receipts at risk.”
Looking ahead and as part of the recovery plan, the minister spoke of a renewed drive to attract more international events to South Africa. Tourism spokesperson Blessing Manale yesterday said the recovery plan – expected to be submitted to Cabinet next month – was a realistic one, aligned with global trends.
“It appreciates that you’ve got to alleviate the pressure at a domestic level before you try to go into spaces that have other external dependencies,” he said.
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