Hotel and lodge owners have lambasted insurance companies for routinely turning down claims for loss of business due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many in the Tourism and Hospitality sector say claims for relief that they consider to be legitimate, are being declined. They say this is despite them meeting the relevant criteria for such pay-outs.
According to Tourism Recovery South Africa – more than one million jobs in the sector are in jeopardy and more than 600 000 are currently facing retrenchment.
William van der Riet who owns the Cathedral Peak Hotel, in the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensburg mountain says without his insurance payout, many jobs will be lost.
“Insurance companies are refusing to pay even though we qualify in every aspect of the claim. We should be getting relief from the insurance company. They have not come to the party, our business is now closed for over 3 months and there is no sign of it re-opening. Businesses have overheads, it’s not a bottomless pit, and money has run out. We have 200 staff relying on us; UIF has not come through for June. Our staff is stressed, we are stressing, and it’s a very tough situation.”
Many hotels, lodges and B&B’s in the country are on the brink of closure. The extended lockdown, now into its fifth month, has been hard on the travel and Tourism sector.
The restrictions on interprovincial travel have dented recovery plans. This has been exacerbated by the continued closure of the country’s borders as a result of the deadly coronavirus that’s already claimed more than 10 000 lives in South Africa. It’s meant no revenue for the sector from international travellers.
Earlier, Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced that leisure travel is allowed within provinces.