by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH Africa’s multi-billion-rand tourism industry is a prime example of how widespread COVID-19 vaccinations can boost economic activity and job creation.
This is according to an official as statistics indicate the country’s unemployment keeps rising.
“Jabs create jobs,” said Simon Russell, management consultant and supporter of the Siyabuya movement.
“This is true in many industries, including agriculture, construction and mining, but it is possibly best illustrated by our tourism industry because more than a million jobs are at stake.”
In 2020, the tourism industry collapsed because of lockdowns here and abroad.
StatsSA has reported that the number of tourists was down by 71 percent, from 16,5 million pre-COVID to fewer than 5 million.
This has had a devastating effect on jobs in the industry.
“The tourism industry will not recover until we are regarded as a safe travel destination, and can be part of ‘travel bubbles’ with other countries or regions,” said Russell.
“That’s the link between jabs and jobs. The vaccination drive means tourism jobs, and everyone who gets vaccinated is contributing to job creation and economic recovery. Unemployment has just reached another record high, of nearly 33 percent, with yet more millions out of work.”
Russell said a successful vaccination programme was needed to fix the economy.
Siyabuya supports the vaccination drive.
“People do not always realise the importance of tourism to the South African economy, or the number of jobs at stake,” Russell said.
South Africa is rated the third most popular tourism destination in Africa, after Egypt and Morocco.
Before the pandemic, tourism sector was second only to mining in the Southern African country.
It contributed R130 billion (US$9,679 billion) to the economy, or 2,8 percent of total GDP, and employed 730 000 people directly.
Tourism provides jobs for some 1,5 million people, nearly 10 percent of all jobs in the country.
– CAJ News