More support needed to keep SMMEs in tourism sector alive - researcher

'Our work has shown that tourism is one of the hardest-hit sectors, and we have done an analysis of existing rescue plans to sectors, specifically the Tourism Relief Fund,' said Institute for Economic Justice researcher Zimbali Mncube.

Members of of the tourism, food and alcohol, and hospitality industries protested in Sandton as part of the #ServeUsPlease movement. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

Author: Tebogo Mokwena

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While it could be argued that the South African tourism and hospitality sector has been hardest hit by the COVID-19 lockdown, what is even more devastating is the help it has received from the state, according to a researcher. As a result, the sector was hanging by a thread, said Institute for Economic Justice researcher Zimbali Mncube.

He told Vutivi News that if support was not ramped up, it was likely that most SMMEs in the sector would not survive. Mncube co-authored a policy brief titled: “Vulnerabilities for South Africa’s COVID-19 Third Wave”, which was released last week.

“Our work has shown that tourism is one of the hardest-hit sectors, and we have done an analysis of existing rescue plans to sectors, specifically the Tourism Relief Fund,” he said.

“When the fund was introduced, each business was supposed to receive R50,000, and many businesses were crying, asking when this fund would be released. The fact that only 4000 businesses are supported through the fund is shocking.”

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