IATA Proposes Three Interventions To Rebuild South Africa’s Tourism Industry & Create Jobs
Johannesburg - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the South African government to step up its support for the air transport industry amid the COVID-19 crisis to facilitate the recovery of industries supported by aviation such as travel and tourism and unlock the job opportunities and other economic benefits they provide.
Key priorities to support and sustain the recovery of South Africa’s air transport and tourism sectors include:
- Financial Support and Relief to the air transport industry: South Africa’s entire airline industry requires support and financial relief if it is to fulfil its role as an economic enabler and job creator. Government has several levers at its disposal to assist all carriers and service providers, both public and privately-owned. Besides cash or financial guarantees, they include reductions, waivers and discounts on user charges and taxes on air travel and aviation and wage subsidies.
- Adopting an inter-operable digital platform for COVID-19 testing and vaccination certificates: As passenger numbers increase in the recovery, digitally managing travel health credentials will be essential to avoid queuing and crowding at airports. IATA Travel Pass and the African Union’s Trusted Travel Pass are both tools that can help governments efficiently and conveniently verify traveler health credentials.
- Increasing intra-Africa connectivity: The African Union’s Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) is intended to unlock travel and economic benefits within the continent. An IATA-commissioned econometric study found that the full implementation of SAATM across the continent would create 14,500 new jobs for South Africa and add US$283.9 million to its GDP.
IATA also urged the South African government to ensure the effective functioning of the South African International Air Services Licensing Council to enable the granting of operating licenses for new routes and increased frequencies on existing routes to South African carriers.
“The prolonged absence of a functioning South African International Air Services Licensing Council is exacerbating the crisis by preventing new routes and competition, further curtailing options for international travelers, inhibiting trade and delaying the creation of jobs,” he added.
Equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines
With low vaccination rates across Africa, the continent and its people are vulnerable and the economic recovery from COVID-19 is at risk. Moreover, with more countries lifting travel restrictions for those vaccinated, the freedom of movement will be limited until vaccines are universally available. With 13.9% of South Africa’s population fully vaccinated, the challenge is particularly acute.