The Democratic Alliance’s proposed plan for tourism recovery post-COVID includes some sub-sectors reopening immediately and a faster reopening of the sector as a whole.

Shadow Minister of Tourism, Manny de Freitas, said the government did not have a realistic plan. “They keep saying that tourism will be phased in starting in December, but by that time most of the sector will be decimated.”

Together with the Deputy Shadow Minister of Tourism, Hlanganani Gumbi, De Freitas presented the DA’s proposal to government yesterday (June 3) for a tourism recovery plan that would see several sub-sectors of the industry opening immediately and the reopening of provincial borders.

Self-catering, small lodges and boutique hotel accommodations could easily implement social distancing and should be allowed to reopen immediately, said De Freitas.

Member of Parliament from the National Council of Provinces, Hildegard Sonja Boshoff, added that accommodation establishments that had been rented out by essential contract workers, had been closed due to lockdown restrictions and had not yet been allowed to open – leaving workers without a place to stay, emphasising the need for certain accommodations to reopen immediately.

The plan also includes a massive marketing campaign aimed at domestic tourism to support the reopening of provincial borders. De Freitas emphasised that delaying reopening would accelerate job losses and also dismantle many businesses that had started up in the growing tourism sector over the last few years.

According to De Freitas, his party has carried out a lot of research in the industry, talking to accommodation establishments as well as the events and conferencing sector.

The research confirmed that over 60% of the businesses surveyed would have to declare insolvency should the border closures be enforced until December as planned.

Submissions from the industry had also been considered and included in the DA’s recovery plan, said De Freitas.

He concluded by saying that the proposed plan would only work if government had the capacity, and there was co-ordination between different departments.