Having left his job in the renewable energy business to start his tour operation, Melberry African Tours, in 2015, Gerhard Klos has had to shut down his business this year as he has not been able to renew his operating licence through the National Public Transport Regulator (NPTR).
“Bottom line is, I am leaving the country to go back to where I came from,” said Klos.
The photos found on social media tell a positive uplifting story with a smiling Klos and happy tourists. Reviews about the small niche-market tour operator based in Cape Town are all upbeat.
Now, Klos told Tourism Update, he no longer employs people and no longer contributes to the economy by paying taxes.
Klos is one of several tour operators who have closed their businesses, had to retrench staff or are facing closure amid ongoing delays in renewing their licences through the NPTR. Some have appealed directly to the Department of Transport (DoT) and one even wrote to the Presidency for urgent intervention – all of which have proven fruitless.
Several calls for comment to the Presidency and DoT by Tourism Update have also been unanswered.
Tourism Update has undertaken to share the human side of this crisis by encouraging operators and guides to share how NPTR delays have affected them personally.