News Release: Update from the Garden Route District Business, Economic and Tourism Sector:  business as “unusual’ and business continuity

News Release

For immediate release

18 May 2020

Update from the Garden Route District Business, Economic and Tourism Sector:  business as “unusual’ and business continuity

In anticipation of the need for rapid action to recover the regional economy from the COVID-19 crisis, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) established the Business, Economic and Tourism Cluster within the recently activated District Command Centre (DCC).  As part of the work undertaken within the Business, Economic and Tourism Cluster, the GRDM in partnership with the 7 b-Municipalities, Western Cape Government, South Cape Economic Partnership (SCEP), WESGRO, Business Chambers in the region and other important stakeholders, established a sub-cluster called the Business Continuity workstream – one of the three identified workstreams of the broader cluster.

The overall purpose of the Business Continuity workstream is to develop a recovery strategy for the district, addressing issues of business rescue, support and building of business resilience. To this end, work was done to map and analyse the economic sectors in the region according to the risk level and ability to recover. From this key areas that require robust interventions and projects to ensure continuity were identified. A draft Garden Route Business Continuity Strategy document, collated and compiled by the workstream, which is facilitated by SCEP was tabled in early May, and shared with the stakeholders and role players.

This plan was also informed by the results of the COVID-19 business survey for the district, as well as by inputs from sector experts and key stakeholders. The plan proposes solutions which will be implemented in the short, medium, and long term. The main objectives, at present, are to implement solutions and strategies that will ensure that the Garden Route is able to build a stronger, more robust and resilient economy into the future.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown affected the whole economy across all sectors, some sectors will be able to ‘ride the wave’ and rebound sooner, but others will most probably be affected over a longer period. This depends on restrictions affecting them locally and internationally. Based on the analysis done on all the sectors as well as recommendations made by the workstream, special emphasis and measures will be further investigated and implemented in the near future into tourism & hospitality; construction services and to a lesser extent, agricultural sectors.

Sector experts and relevant support organisations/development agencies, are currently creating advisory hubs who will create an approach specific to the Garden Route. Lessons from others around the globe will be incorporated into the approach. Business sectors will be incorporated into existing forums in the region to ensure that all voices area heard and continuous support and programmes are inclusive.