Cape tourism sector expected to shed over 90 000 jobs

A report published by Cape Town Tourism paints a grim picture of the industry’s future.

The tourism sector is expected to shed close to 100 000 jobs in Cape Town alone in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

The industry has taken a massive knock in the past few months, with travel severely restricted across the globe in efforts to curb the rapid spread of the pandemic.


A report by Cape Town Tourism (CTT) paints a horrific picture for the sector, prediction job losses for around 90 000 people in the next six months.

This was established via a study which surveyed various sections of the industry, including accommodation providers, tour and transport operators, as well as restaurant owners and travel agents.

CTT chief executive Enver Duminy says it was important to get a clear picture and understand the current landscape.

“According to the latest available figures from Statistics SA, tourism value added to the South African economy was roughly R118.4bn, tourism value added to Cape Town’s economy in 2018 was roughly R18.1bn. In the same year, according to the same source, the tourism sector in South Africa directly supported almost 740 000 jobs and just more than 113 000 jobs in Cape Town.

“These numbers illustrate how vital this sector is to our economy. This is why it is important for us to understand where our members and other industry stakeholders need the most help so that we can ensure that we provide them with the support they need in order to survive.”

Enver Duminiy, Cape Town Tourism


According to the report, more than half of businesses do not have a recovery plan, while some have made use of relief options available to them.

Over a third of the respondents surveyed say they can only pay out a fraction of employees’ salaries, with 31% placing staff on unpaid leave. A further 18% say they have resorted to retrenching workers.

The grim outlook on jobs in the sector is backed up by Tourism Business Council of SA, who also conducted a similar survey, which revealed that some 600 000 workers in the industry have applied for the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

The council’s chief executive Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said;

“What’s even more concerning is that these are jobs that would be hard to recover and we are pushing the government at least to open domestic flights, so there is some stimulation in the economy,” he is quoted by IOL.

Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, Tourism Business Council of SA