With the tourism sector warning that it will not survive more restrictions during the third Covid-19 wave, the eThekwini council is planning to hold a series of events that will end in a dinner, where local tourism companies will receive performance awards.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in eThekwini is now calling on deputy city manager, Phillip Sithole, officials in the hospitality and tourism unit, and the ANC in the economic development committee to reconsider the proposed ‘tourism industry party’ that will cost the city a staggering R2.5 million.
According to the DA, the ANC voted to throw a series of events, the “Annual Durban Tourism Awards”, leading up to a fine dining awards ceremony at an economic development and planning committee meeting. The DA believes that the R2.5 million will be spent on an elaborate series of events that will ultimately not benefit the ailing sector.
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Is it effective promotion?
DA councillor, Bheka Ntuli, who also serves on the committee, says many businesses in the sector have taken strain due to Covid-19. “If there is anything that the tourism sector would expect from the municipality, it would be for it to effectively promote Durban as a go-to destination during these uncertain times.”
Ntuli said the least the municipality could do is spend this R2.5 million to assist and support tourism businesses as they are converting permanent employment to contracts and temporary employment agreements, completely retrenching, or even shutting down completely because they can no longer afford to pay their staff and operate under the difficult economic conditions.
Seeking answers to these questions
It is unclear which tourism sector companies would benefit from the event and how it would be held under current Covid-19 regulations. There are also questions about how much the judges will be paid, and the practicality of road shows during the ongoing pandemic.
“The DA wishes to see companies in the tourism industry being acknowledged and marketed, but this event does not achieve that. Instead, it empowers only a connected few at the expense of an industry already bleeding thousands of jobs in the city,” Ntuli says.
“The DA in eThekwini will therefore oppose this proposal in favour of expenditure that offers real empowerment and is not an excuse to offer up event tenders to comrades.”
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