Please lift ban: Travel and alcohol are our livelihood, says tourism business council

The Tourism Business Council of South Africa has called on the government to lift the alcohol sakes ban and restrictions on travel in Gauteng. File photo
The Tourism Business Council of South Africa has called on the government to lift the alcohol sakes ban and restrictions on travel in Gauteng. File photo
Image: 123RF/ROSTISLAYSDLACEK

The Tourism Business Council of SA (TBCSA) has called on the government to lift the alcohol sales ban and restrictions on Gauteng travel.

Its call preceded President Cyril Ramaphosa's “family meeting” on Sunday, when he will either have to ease or extend the level 4 lockdown imposed four weeks ago. 

In a statement on Friday, the TBCSA said the travel, tourism and hospitality sector had seen major financial losses in the last month, and it was concerned these would lead to job losses.

The council said major hotel groups have closed all or some of their properties due to the restrictions.

“Airlines have grounded their fleets, B&Bs are closed, some branches of car rental companies are closed, and entrepreneurs in township and rural tourism are on their knees,” it said.

“Continuation of current restrictions will result in major job losses and increase the unemployment rate.”

Domestic travel is a key pillar for the recovery of the tourism sector and consideration should be given to the lifting of the interprovincial travel and liquor bans as tourism recovery is imperative for the revival of the economy of SA
TBCSA CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa

Two weeks ago, the Restaurant Association of SA and the Federated Hospitality Association of SA made similar pleas for the reopening of hospitality venues.

Though president prolonged the level 4 lockdown, he allowed restaurants and hotels to open with eased restrictions.  

TBCSA CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said: “With approximately 60% of domestic travellers being from Gauteng — and given that the province is the central connective point of the country — the entire tourism economy in the country is negatively affected.

“In the aviation subsector, close to 40% of travel is impacted as the OR Tambo International Airport accounts for over a third of annual domestic travel.”

Tshivhengwa said the “harsh” alcohol sales ban has resulted in many restaurants closing their doors, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

“We call on government to lift the alcohol ban and allow responsible trading by these entities to continue to sustain businesses and livelihoods,” Tshivhengwa said. 

“Domestic travel is a key pillar for the recovery of the tourism sector and consideration should be given to the lifting of the interprovincial travel and liquor bans as tourism recovery is imperative for the revival of the economy of SA.”

The organisation also asked that government to allow a “reasonable amount” of people to attend events.

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