I think that the biggest challenge that the industry is facing at the moment as you’ll all know is that even though we see a gradual recovery of the industry. You know for the first quarter for example according to South African tourism, we saw over a million foreign visitors coming into the country.

Now obviously, you know that figure is that as high as what happened in twenty nineteen but they is some gradual recovery that the industry’s experiences the biggest challenge however as I said is that businesses are still battling to survive you know our experience working with several businesses in the last a few months is that they still struggling to get access to markets struggling to get access to finance and I think a major reason for that and this is based on the research that we’ve done and also dealing with small businesses out there. 

Is that a lot of these funds that are available or not friendly to tourism businesses at the moment what be finding is that because of the pandemic a lot of businesses have lost assets a lot of businesses have been blacklisted all or put on credit bureaus and therefore they cannot get access to these finding and you know it even though you have development finance and you have schemes like SEEFA and SEDA these finding institutions also require collateral and they also require businesses that have good balance sheets.

I feel that we need to move beyond that I mean we’ve looked at some international case studies and we’ve seen that countries like Australia, Scotland, and even India are looking at it now. We find that the recovery funds that those countries have launched that have taken into consideration the negative impact that the pandemic has had on these businesses and what they’ve done are they created some very innovative ways of hard to ensure that the funding goes to the right people and that the funds will be recovered once these businesses have recovered and I think that that’s something we need to look into as a country, you know I think we’ve had. 

One of the lessons for example that I think we’ve learned through this pandemic is the ability of government and the private sector to come together and work together and create something speedy solutions to resolve other crises and we’ve seen that during the pandemic. I mean given that there was all of the corruption and those kinds of things.  

I think that there are lessons we have learned and I think there’s there’s sort of a blueprint that we can follow to ensure that we come up with some creative solutions to the problems that businesses are experiencing. You know a lot of the relief funding that was available at not available anymore -you know because the lockdown levels of been lifted.

So how do these small businesses now track and navigate this through this period? I think that if we are serious as a country about supporting small businesses, especially in the tourism industry remember this industry has been the worst effects by the pandemic, and when I speak about tourism I’m talking about the events industry I’m talking about the business events Industry, particularly conferences, meetings, exhibitions, live events, we’ve seen sports events that have been happening over the last few weeks the rugby the cricket that’s been happening.  

I think if we start resolving this issue for small businesses, especially in the industry it will have a ripple effect on the rest of our economy because tourism does not only just affect a small part of the economy it affects a massive part of the economy a lot of industries depend on the tourism industry and so if we can sort this problem out with the tourism industry I think it would stimulate the rest of our economy.  

So what we are asking the industry to do, is to support this campaign, to call for a tourism recovery fund. On our platforms, we have a poll that we launched yesterday, where we need you to tell us whether something like this is really something we can look at and I’m also looking forward to people that I against the fund. I want to understand why – what are your reasons maybe we haven’t thought about this thing carefully and we want to get this right. You know our call out there is to industry players to government, to people in authority, we want to hear from me want to hear your views and see how we can come together to revive this industry because I think that if we don’t do this now and we need to do this quickly.

If we don’t do this now it’s gonna be a missed opportunity, especially for the small businesses in the industry. 

I think that if the UMWTO for example is projecting that the industry is only gonna reach levels of twenty nineteen in twenty twenty-four. That’s quite a while for the industry to recover and therefore be saying that we need some creative solutions to help the industry navigate this period We are calling on you to comment on all platforms to engage with us and to see how we can all work together and to resolve this crisis that the industry, especially small businesses are grateful currently.  

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