Adapt or die is the new norm for all
The tourism industry in this country will have to find new and innovative ways of operating to survive the coronavirus pandemic and save jobs.
With international and interprovincial travel banned due to effort to curb the spread of the novel Covid-19, tourism is one of the hardest-hit sectors as business has slowed down since early March when many countries started locking down their economies to limit the spread of the pandemic.
The industry contributed 425.8bn to the SA economy in 2018, as reported by the World Travel & Tourism Council.
The figure shows how crucial the industry is to the country's economy. We can ill-afford to have it destroyed.
As the nation waits for a recovery plan which is expected to be finalised this week, there is a glimmer of hope for the sector. In this newspaper today, we spoke to some of the players in the industry about how they imagine their "new normal" will look like.
Some are looking at live concerts in the old style of drive-ins where revellers will remain in their cars, technology advanced self-disinfecting surfaces and regular screening of patrons, among others.
Graham Wood, COO of hospitality at Sun International, told this newspaper that on the casino floors, every second seat at slot machine banks had already been removed and tables would be limited to four players only.
Water park Happy Island Waterworld co-owner Tim Higins said they planned to introduce new infrastructure at the entrance, which includes scanner cameras that will be able to scan up to 30 individuals simultaneously.
"The solution will alert security of individuals with abnormal temperatures but at the same time deny boom gate access unless cleared by the security on duty," Higins said. They are also looking at installing sanitiser booths to sanitise people as they arrive.
The measures are impressive and we anticipate to see more of such as the industry adapts to save the 1.5-million jobs at risk.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 is here to stay for now and all industries have to find new ways of working while ensuring the safety of their employees or close shop. The sooner we learn to live with it the quicker we will be able to see an improvement in our economy.
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