PICS: Durban tourism sector protests over COVID-19 regulations

PICS: Durban tourism sector protests over COVID-19 regulations

Restaurateurs, Bed and Breakfast owners and tour guides were among tourism sector employers who took to the streets on Wednesday - calling for tourism in KwaZulu-Natal to be opened.

Shannon Lilly Photography tourism protest 4
Shannon Lilly Photography

A colourful convoy of more than 60 vehicles left Westville Swimming Pool and made its way to Point in Durban.

One of the coordinators, Julien Janssen says the demonstration was a desperate cry for help from local businesses impacted by the lockdown.

He says the sector's been working hard to ensure they can operate safely.

"We are putting into being tourism-ready, it's just being ignored completely by government. It is being spearheaded by Tourism Business Council of South Africa and South African Tourism, but it falls on deaf ears."

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Janssen says while they understand international borders can't be open - a plan should be put in place to allow leisure travel between provincial borders.

He says every part of the tourism sector has been hit hard by the travel restrictions.

"Everybody that serves in some way or the other, just look at Durban over December, for example, the lady selling hats on the beach or the airlines or the hotel groups, everybody across the value chain [is affected]"

Deon Booysens, a tourist guide says the loss over the months has been tremendous.

"The whole thing got to me when I heard that some of my colleagues had lost their cars, lost their houses."

"Some even took their own lives and that really hurt me and that is when we decided we had to do something. We have to make people aware that tourism is bleeding and tourism in South Africa is dying. We wanted to get that across to people."

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