The Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism has joined the call for the extension of the UIF COVID-19 TERS fund and for the Minister of Tourism to consider any additional relief measures that can be provided to tourism businesses.
MEC for Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, said he recognised that due to national government’s “poor fiscal management”, the ability to provide further support to businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic had been severely restricted.
“And while some financial support is available through the financial sector, many businesses may never be in a position to repay commercial loans.” Maynier pointed out that if further financial relief was not provided by national government, there would continue to be job losses and business closures in the Western Cape.
He told Tourism Update that determining the exact impact was complex and required several data points, most of which were not yet available.
“However, we can infer economic impact from data points such as guesthouse cancellations subsequent to the announcement of the Alert Level 3 restrictions on December 28.
“For example, a survey by NightsBridge found that one-third of guesthouses on the Garden Route indicated at least 50% festive season cancellations. The same study reported that 12.7% of bookings in the Western Cape had been cancelled,” highlighted Maynier.
He said the department was completing research that would provide evidence-based data on the extent and nature of future relief required by the industry.
“I am very grateful to tourism businesses and industry bodies who have worked together, and in partnership with us to gather the necessary data to help us understand what is happening on the ground and how we can best support them. This continued engagement and knowledge-sharing will be critical to our future efforts to ensure economic recovery.”
Provincial government assistance
Maynier pointed out that the Department of Economic Development and Tourism held monthly meetings with Regional Tourism Organisations, and had an open-door policy with tourism associations and their members to raise issues or solutions at any time.
“We have also made R38.93m (€2m) available to support small businesses through our COVID-19 Business Relief Fund and R5m (€267 000) available specifically for tourism businesses through our Tourism Product Development Fund.”