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Government’s Tourism Recovery Plan likely to benefit hotel and resort spas

Interventions and enablers outlined in the South African government’s Tourism Sector Recovery Plan will facilitate the preservation of R189 billion of value and help the sector to recover.

“Additionally, it will position the sector for long-term sustainable growth,” Tourism Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, said at a media briefing last week.

She noted that the plan represents the tourism industry’s collective response to the devastation brought by the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector.

“It is a product of extensive industry consultation and reflects the industry’s commitment to deep and intensive collaboration around a set of clearly defined and specific areas of cooperation.”

The plan was recently approved by Cabinet.

Minister Kubayi-Ngubane noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has plunged the sector into unprecedented crisis, both locally and globally, as the sector continues to shed jobs with tourism enterprises in distress and small and medium enterprises being the worst affected. Many are facing the possibility of permanent closure.

Spas situated within hotels and resorts have been severely affected by the pandemic, a case in point being The Saxon Spa, which, like the rest of its hotel property, has been closed for a year and is only due to open next month. Those spas that managed to reopen after lockdown are operating with reduced staff complements and limiting the number of guests per day to accommodate COVID-19 safety, sanitisation and social distancing protocols.

The Department of Tourism, working together with the industry, developed the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan, outlining a set of interventions to ignite the recovery of the sector, and to place it on a path to long-term sustainability.

“Noting the tourism sector’s impact on the wider economy, the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan is aligned to the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP), in particular to the ERRP’s priorities in the areas of employment creation; infrastructure investment; green economy or sustainability interventions; inclusion of women and youth; as well as skills development.

“The Tourism Sector Recovery Plan contains a set of interventions to protect and rejuvenate supply, reignite demand and strengthen enabling capability to support the sector’s recovery. Our goal is to preserve jobs and livelihoods within the sector, facilitate the creation of new job opportunities, match demand and supply as well as strengthen transformation in the sector including empowerment of women, youth and people with disabilities in the sector,” Kubayi-Ngubane said.

The Minister said the plan also identifies specific enablers as well as the activities linked to them, their timeframes for implementation and the lines of accountability and its successful implementation will, in part, depend on a set of enablers beyond the immediate mandate of the department and the tourism industry in general.

She added that the effective implementation of the plan will be anchored on seven strategic interventions supported by catalytic programmes with specific actions, time-frames and an indication of those responsible for the implementation of each strategic intervention.

“The pandemic has reinforced the interdependence among a broad range of stakeholders and the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan recognises the need to continue working together with relevant sector departments to build on efforts already undertaken to stimulate tourism as an integral part of the economic reconstruction and recovery effort.”

Kubayi-Ngubane said the department, in conjunction with its marketing entity South African Tourism, will lead, coordinate and support the implementation of the Plan through the reprioritisation of current resource allocation.

She also expressed her gratitude for the successful collaboration between all role-players that resulted in this robust plan to save the sector. (Source: SAnews.gov.za)

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