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Tourism industry will feel effect of coronavirus in SA

10 March 2020 - 09:19 By TimesLIVE
Businesses are said to have raised concerns about their abilities to repay loans and retain staff.
Businesses are said to have raised concerns about their abilities to repay loans and retain staff.
Image: 123RF/anyaberkut

SA’s tourism industry will undoubtedly feel the effect of the coronavirus, says tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.

The minister met with stakeholders in the industry in Johannesburg on Monday.

“Tourism supply chains involving everything from agricultural to fishing and insurance are going to be affected, because the longer these restrictions continue, the hardest hit of the value chain, which is core industries, will be accommodation, food, beverage, recreation and entertainment, transportation and travel services,” Kubayi-Ngubane said in a report broadcast by the SABC.

“Despite the fact that we had very few cases of the virus, the local tourism industry has already suffered serious losses. Undoubtedly these losses are still going to increase. The truth of the situation is that the virus will have a negative impact on the tourism sector.”

She said after the meeting that tourism was a labour intensive industry and concerns had been raised by businesses about their abilities to repay loans and retain staff.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Monday that SA had not restricted the movement of people through its borders, amid calls for the country to take stronger measures to try to prevent the spread of the virus.

He said SA had not taken any decisions on whether to cancel tourism and sports events, as well as conferences.

“There is no decision on that. The ministers were discussing those issues, looking at a lot of information, and they are processing that matter. As soon as they have consulted with the president and with the cabinet, they will make the necessary announcements.”

Seven cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in SA.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize announced four further cases of the novel coronavirus in South Africa  on Monday March 9 2020. The total confirmed cases in the country has risen to seven. All seven people who have tested positive recently travelled to Italy as part of the same group.