JOHANNESBURG, March 10 (Xinhua) -- South Africa's tourism has been hit heavily by the novel coronavirus and new countermeasures should be taken, the country's Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said in a meeting on Monday.
"Our industry is undergoing a severe crisis. The outbreak has already affected the tourism industry very negatively," she said at a meeting with tourism stakeholders.
"Tourism supply chains involve everything from agriculture and fishing to banking and insurance. The longer these restrictions continue, the hardest hit part of the value chain will be the core industries which include accommodation, food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment, transportation and travel services," the minister added.
Tourist cancellations have come from China and many European countries over the past month, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, told Xinhua.
"We are still tallying up the numbers," Tshivhengwa said. "There's a negative impact. Cancellations have now gotten worse, some are reporting between 30 to 50 percent."
He said job losses were inevitable amid the coronavirus outbreak and that "we need to find a way of operating while the virus is yet to be contained."
Kubayi-Ngubane said they would work with the National Treasury to mitigate job and businesses losses.
"We will work with all stakeholders to implement certain measures that will assist to bring relief to affected businesses and individuals," Kubayi-Ngubane said.