covid-19 and tourism

Covid-19 and tourism- An SMME’S thoughts

How is Covid-19 affecting tourism SMME’s in South Africa. What effect is the full lock down having on the smaller tourism players? Many tourism stakeholders are in shock and are scrambling to survive in the wake of the Covid-19 virus.

There is a mood of deep concern among industry players. There is also one of rallying around supporting one another with many group chats and emails sharing encouragement. Today, I was alerted to the possibility of creating a tourism support network into the healthcare system. This would involve collaboration between hotels, transport and catering suppliers. 

I understand from tourism authorities and large hotel chain management that we are looking not so much at recovery but rather towards re-configuration. The belief is that inbound tourism needs to look deeply at customer needs and reverse engineer offerings that suit demand. This is especially important when considering that the global competition is going to be strong.

The understanding is that recovery will be led by local consumption, with corporate travel probably leading the way. Personally, as a small SMME I am reliant on clients to pay their monthly retainers for my marketing services. As a result of my clients not being paid, the problem flows downstream and they, in turn, are not able to pay me.

Of particular concern, is that some of South Africa’s inbound giants are withholding payments to suppliers for guests who have already travelled, and in fact are back in their home country. These same corporations are asking my clients to also not charge cancellation fees – making this a double loss for suppliers into the tourism value chain.

This too will pass, but how long can we sustain ourselves until then? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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