Minister of Tourism Mamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says the coronavirus has already affected South Africa’s tourism industry negatively.
The number of coronavirus cases in the country has risen to seven, after four more new cases were confirmed on Monday.
Speaking at the Tourism Leadership Forum held in Sandton on Monday, Kubayi-Ngubane said on the African continent, cases have been reported in Senegal, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, and Tunisia.
“Here at home, we now have seven confirmed cases of the virus, and it remains uncertain whether the number of cases will grow or the virus will be contained to just a few cases.
“Despite the fact we have had very few cases of the virus, the local tourism industry has already suffered serious losses,” Kubayi-Ngubane said, adding that these losses are still going to increase.
Kubayi-Ngubane said the impact of the virus could lead to the closure of businesses and severe job losses.
“In this scenario, the global economy descends into a recession and our country’s economy suffers significant contraction for the year 2020,” the Minister said.
Kubayi-Ngubane said to mitigate against the potential negative impact on businesses and jobs, government would work with all stakeholders to implement measures that would assist to bring relief to affected businesses and individuals.
“The longer these restrictions continue, the hardest-hit part of the value chain will be the core industries which include accommodation, food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment, transportation and travel service,” the minister said.
Kubayi-Ngubane said government would engage treasury to assist businesses in distress to access the employment incentives that have been put in place and will negotiate with various meeting and events owners to postpone to future dates based on scenarios to minimise cancellations.
“The economic impact of the coronavirus will be felt in every corner of the world and almost every sector of the economy,” the minister said.