FEDHASA has welcomed the National Department of Health’s recommendations to repeal regulations that were put in place to stem the spread of Covid-19, including mask wearing, entry limitations and restrictions on gathering sizes.
“This is long overdue, considering that the reasons these regulations were instituted in the first place were to reduce pressure on our healthcare system. It has been clear for months that not only does Covid no longer threaten to overwhelm our hospitals, but that these regulations also have no effect on limiting Covid infections. The phase of the pandemic in which we find ourselves is one that sees us learning to live with Covid like the rest of the world has been doing,” says Rosemary Anderson, FEDHASA National Chairperson.
While tourist accommodation income is rising steadily, the industry has a long journey ahead to get to levels it enjoyed pre-covid, says Anderson. “The hospitality sector was among the hardest hit by regulations put in place during Covid. These regulations have continued to limit normal operations, such as venue capacity, contact tracing, etc., with restrictions of 50% capacity still in place.”
According to the Tourist Accommodation statistics for April 2022, issued by Statistics South Africa, income for the tourist accommodation industry increased 53,4% in April 2022 compared with April 2021.
Income from accommodation increased by 43,5% year-on-year in April 2022, the result of a 17,8% increase in the number of stay unit nights sold and a 21,8% increase in the average income per stay unit night sold.
“We have a long way to go to recover from the loss of income and jobs in the hospitality sector, but are encouraged by the steady increases we are seeing from our key source markets who can now travel to South Africa, albeit with certain restrictions such as vaccination certificates. We should be doing whatever we can to encourage them to return as we prepare for our summer season, says Anderson.
FEDHASA urges the NEC will do the right thing and adopt these recommendations swiftly.
“When one considers the catalytic potential of the tourism and hospitality sector to create jobs in areas where this is most needed, we should be doing everything we can to help it get back on its feet swiftly so that it can get back to creating employment.
“Don’t delay. Adopt the Department of Health’s recommendations so we can get back to work,” Anderson concludes.