A ‘sledgehammer to crack a nut’ is an apt description for the current lockdown regime, a clumsy use of disproportionate force to overcome Covid-19, in the process creating massive long-term collateral damage to livelihoods. Yet there are ways out of this increasingly costly mess, if only the government stepped out of the collective’s policy echo chamber.
South Africa’s game lodge and viewing industry has been badly hit by the Covid-19 lockdown, with the prohibition on foreign and domestic leisure travel. Can something be done to save this industry – a vital part of the country’s tourism trade – and return it to contributing to the economy?
Wesgro – the Western Cape’s agency to promote economic growth – has helped to compile a report with the Game Lodge Industry Group on what can be done to save it right now: the safe and considered reopening of domestic tourism. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the tourism sector directly accounted for 2.8% of South Africa’s gross domestic product, or some R139-billion in 2018.
“Many of the lodges in South Africa face imminent closure due to COVID-19 restrictions,” reads the report. “The immediate and safe opening of domestic leisure tourism could…