SA Tourism The announcement of the Omicron variant in South Africa, just days before the country’s peak tourism season last year, only served to further the misery the sector has experienced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns.
As the industry looks to recovery after a number of crises ranging from load-shedding and water shortages to crime and corruption, which has now been laid bare in the Zondo commission ’s report on SAA , South African Airways Technical and ground-handling services, rebuilding South Africa’s brand as a tourism destination will require the government and the sector to work together to address a number of issues. Invest in developing skills
The tourism and aviation sectors are vast and require a number of skills to function optimally — foreign language skills in service roles to information and communications technology skills and pilots and engineers for our aircraft. An investment in skills by both the government and the tourism sector will help to nurture and retain the key skills needed for recovery and growth.
The aviation industry, for instance, has a high number of people over the age of 40 and, with international companies recruiting from South Africa, skills and talent shortages are real. According to Boeing’s latest Pilot and Technician Outlook , Africa will require 63 000 new pilots, aircraft technicians and cabin crew over the next 20 years.
The report also indicates that, in the short term, technicians will be in high demand, stating: “As air traffic demand increases and aeroplanes are brought out of storage, technicians will play a vital role in inspecting, repairing and restoring aircraft to an airworthy state. While technicians have undertaken aeroplane storage and engine preservation efforts over the past year, the next few years will require additional labour focused on bringing airplanes out of storage and back into service.” Invest in infrastructure
The South African government has identified infrastructure spending as a key pathway to economic growth and job creation, but the Covid-19 pandemic and years of major fiscal cuts have meant that many of these projects have been put on ice. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research estimates that in 2021, South Africa experienced 1 136 hours of load-shedding so, aside from key infrastructure to support tourism such as rail, roads and airports, the government must prioritise energy security.
Two of South Africa’s biggest airports, OR Tambo in Johannesburg and Cape […]