DURBAN – The hospitality industry will arguably be the economic sector hardest hit by Covid-19 across the globe. And in Africa, touted as the last frontier for significant future development in the arena, strong partnerships will have to be forged between the public and private sectors in order to fast-track recovery.
According to Mark Havercroft, Regional Director for Africa of international hotel group Minor Hotels recovery is achievable.
“The African continent has, in many ways, emerged as the last frontier for development and expansion in the hospitality industry, along with many other economic sectors. For those brands that have already entered this market, this may prove to be their saving grace when it comes to the gradual reopening of the hospitality industry post-Covid-19, and embedding that recovery within other economies on the continent,” said Havercroft.
In an industry that accounts for 10% of the global GDP, the World Economic Forum has predicted that some 50 million travel and tourism jobs will be lost globally. Compounding the situation is the fact that the industry is only likely to get a shot at recovery after the outbreak is over, and could require an additional year on top of that for stability to return.
To counteract the catastrophe, and plan for an effective resuscitation process, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation has called on governments to prioritise the entire tourism sector in future recovery efforts, requesting nations to fast-track essential financial and political support for recovery.
As the country moved to alert level three of the lockdown from, the public is now allowed to engage in hunting and gaming activities. Visits to public and private game farms for self-drive excursions are also allowed under level 3. These activities will resume, provided Covid-19 health, safety and social distancing measures are in place 1 June.
In addition, plans for recovery measures and incentives must be structured so they can be implemented in coordination with international organisations, and tourism must be included in all broader plans and actions for recovery in affected economies, the UNWTO urges.
“There is no doubt the shocks to our industry have and will continue to be severe, but confidence will return and the future of the hospitality industry in Africa will be on the rise once again,” concluded Havercroft.
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