South Africa tourism month tourist

Tourism businesses urgently need financial support. Image via Adobe Stock

Hung out to dry: Calls for TERS support to SA’s tourism businesses

Restrictions under Level 4 Lockdown regulations are having a severe impact on South Africa’s aviation, hospitality and tourism sectors.

South Africa tourism month tourist

Tourism businesses urgently need financial support. Image via Adobe Stock

With restaurants, hotels, casinos, cinemas and airlines, such as British Airways, Kulula and LIFT Airlines, not being able to trade at all or to trade feasibly under the revised lockdown regulations, there is an urgent need for financial assistance to the affected businesses.


Businesses in the tourism, hospitality and aviation sectors have been severely impacted by the renewed restrictions which are currently in place.  The absence of international visitors to the country, as well as the new restrictions on locals, is again placing many businesses on the brink of collapse.

Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO of The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), has said that government needs to implement financial aid for the sector to prevent further collapse.

“We don’t have an international tourist market currently due to the pandemic, and now under the harsher lockdown, domestic tourism is being curtailed,” Tshivhengwa said.


The rising number of COVID-19 infections across the country forced the government to impose stricter lockdown measures effective 28 June, in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.     

When announcing the updated lockdown measures on Sunday 27 June, President Cyril Ramaphosa made no mention of financial support for businesses affected by the 14-day lockdown.

There is still a degree of uncertainty regarding whether the current Level 4 restrictions will be extended beyond 11 July since previous lockdown adjustments have often been extended beyond the initial periods announced — causing severe economic impacts for the affected businesses.

“COVID-19 alert Level 4 lockdown restrictions are currently in place and the industry is under even more strain and continues to be one of the hardest hit,” says Tshivhengwa.


Gauteng is now the epicentre of COVID-19 infections in the country, with hospitals in the province barely being able to cope with the rising number of admissions.  The recently implemented lockdown restrictions ban all non-essential travel and prohibit movement into and out of Gauteng from all other provinces in South Africa.  

According to Moneyweb, Gauteng accounts for more than half of South Africa’s domestic tourism market.  The ban on movement to and from the province is impacting the entire country, forcing major hotel and airline companies to suspend their operations for several weeks.

“Leisure travel is restricted out of Gauteng, which accounts for more than half of the country’s domestic tourist market. That is why some hotel groups like Sun International have been forced to close casinos and hotels such as the Sun City resort,” Tshivhengwa said. 


The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) is urging the government to reinstate the COVID-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) for the embattled tourism and hospitality industry that has once again been hit by the lockdown measures.

“We can’t wait. A decision needs to be made now to avoid further job losses and heartache for our workers – many of whom are already on half-pay and are battling to make ends meet,” says Tshivhengwa.

“Some businesses have effectively not operated since March last year. If they are still going, they need support and we will continue to lobby on this,” he adds.