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Glum Vaal tourism anticipates lockdown relaxation

Pieter Labuschagne, one of the veterans in the Vaal tourism sector
Pieter Labuschagne, one of the veterans in the Vaal tourism sector

VANDERBJILPARK – DURING its heyday, not so long ago, Tapimanzi Adventures was synonymous with loud, fun-filled activities and a favourite with clientele ranging from families and companies.

Nowadays, the mood is sombre at this facility situated on the scenic banks of the Vaal River between Vanderbijlpark and Vereeniging.

It is a reflection of the escalating coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic bedeviling the country.

The tourism industry has been among the sectors worst hit by the lockdown imposed by the government to curb the spread of the virus.

It was imposed at the end of March.

The negative impact is not peculiar to Tapimanzi.

Pieter Labuschagne, the veteran in the Vaal tourism sector, echoed the sentiments in an exclusive interview with Vaal Today, www.vaaltoday.co.za.

“In the past, we have always had big companies as clients, some who booked early,” said Labuschagne, owner of Vaal Adventures.

“We were forced to cancel their reservations due to the pandemic, forcing us to close earlier than the start of the lockdown,” he added.

Labuschagne said the impact of the outbreak and the lockdown was beyond economic but was also psychological.

“I have some of my guides living here with me and from being in the habit of moving around it became frustrating to just sit at home and not knowing when we shall reopen,” he added.

He added, “I carried all the guides throughout the lockdown without any financial aid.”

The operator is placing hopes on recovery on the easing of restrictions.

He is eager to make up for lost time.

“This means when we reopen, we should penetrate the market a lot harder. We hope and pray that the lockdown restrictions can be lifted a bit more to see schools and companies back in full swing,” he said in the interview.

Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa, announced that South Africa’s lockdown regulations would be relaxed to allow a number of businesses to reopen.

As part of the relaxations, sit down meals will be allowed at restaurants, conferences and meetings for business purposes will be permitted while cinemas, theatres and casinos would resume operations, all under strict adherence to lockdown regulations.

– CAJ News