Reiterating that government was focused on helping the tourism industry recover post-lockdown, South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, said her department was working with various government departments and industry associations to minimise the negative economic impact.

Speaking to Impact Radio last night (March 30), the Minister said this included a memorandum of understanding between the National Department of Labour and the Tourism Business Council of South Africa to help the sector utilise Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) more easily.

The MoU is still being finalised but Kubayi-Ngubane explained that it would fast-track employees’ access to UIF, as the majority were about to lose their jobs. The Minister said they were looking at businesses that were not likely to survive post-COVID-19 and how best to support them.

“If they can’t recover, we will be looking at how best to train those who lost their jobs and how to reintegrate them into various parts of the sector,” said Kubayi-Ngubane. “It’s going to take the tourism industry long to recover. Depending on how quickly we contain and manage the virus, 2020 may be lost for the tourism industry.”

More details will be available once the MoU is finalised.