Coronavirus scourge hits Vaal Tourism

Vaal is taking the immediate economic knock of the coronavirus pandemic as the number of tourists streaming into South Africa takes a drastic drop. The number of Chinese visiting Mzansi has taken as a nosedive. Vaal Observer could not establish exact statistics involved.  China a coronavirus epicenter has been slapped with a number of flight bans as nations battle to reduce infections. Revelations were made this Sunday that South Africa has already lost more than R200 million in tourism revenue since the pandemic erupted.

Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane confirmed during a Tourism leadership forum held in Sandton north of Johannesburg

Kubayi-Ngubane said on the African continent, cases have been reported in Senegal, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia. By the time the Minister made the revelations, only seven cases had been confirmed but has now risen to 51.

“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 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 will work with all stakeholders to implement measures that will 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 will 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.

The seven were part of a group of 10, who recently returned to South Africa from a skiing holiday in Milan, north of Italy, where they reportedly contacted the virus.

The Department of Health has embarked on a rigorous campaign of tracing every person the seven individuals have been in contact with since returning to South Africa just over a week ago.

Some of the identified patients had shown symptoms, while others had not. However, they have all been placed on self-quarantine at home or have been admitted in hospital.

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