South Africa Coronavirus Disaster - Effect on Marine Diving Industry

Effect on Marine & Scuba Diving Industry- South Africa Coronavirus Crisis

The coronavirus has impacted major sectors of economies worldwide. The marine diving industry which relies on the tourism and industrial sector is one of the impacted sectors currently facing the crisis amidst the lockdown. It is quite uncertain to bet on future prospects but here are some insights on the current situation affecting the marine diving market.

The impact of coronavirus can be severely observed in the international sphere as no country is untouched from the wave of this pandemic. Since the industrial operations and activities are temporarily put on hold and the tourism industry is impacted due to travel restrictions, the marine diving industry tends to suffer from the drastic impacts of coronavirus. South Africa is considered as a hotspot of scuba diving as it features picturesque locations and tropical waters favourable for responsible tourism. In the tourism-driven economy of South Africa where the marine activities account for major revenues, this might result in the worsening conditions for the marine diving ecosystem.

Challenges in Commercial Marine Diving Sphere

The Industrial activities have slowed down worldwide and organizations are now advising the temporary halt on non-essential commercial activities. Due to the restrictions amid lockdown, it is quite impossible for industries to keep their activities up and running as it mostly relies on multiple channels to facilitate the operations. It has impacted the commercial marine driving sphere as offshore oil and gas industries are also operating on a limited sphere that has disrupted construction work on their sites. Since the majority of diving work is usually undertaken on a contractual basis, the shortage of professionals is one of the reasons contributing to the challenges in the lockdown. This has resulted in a shortage of demand in the supply of marine diving equipment in the oil and gas industry sector.

Worse Impact on Scuba Diving Season in 2020

Scuba diving is usually done in the season of April-May every year as it is the most suitable time for sea-based sports and activities. As the weather condition is quite favorable for tourists, South Africa observes enormous growth in the number of travellers visiting from countries abroad. This is the best time for revenue generation for marine diving activities which brings in a lot of revenue for the tourism sector. The industry has seen the worst impact till now on the tourism season in 2020.

Nationwide Lockdown Impacting the Trade & Tourism

South Africa has taken an enormous step to curb down the numbers of coronavirus cases in the country. As the government has initiated a nationwide lockdown of 21 days ending on April 16, the trade activities have come to halt. In terms of referring to the marine diving ecosystem, the country has implemented a ban on tourism activities directly impacting the marine diving business in a drastic manner. As there are restrictions imposed on international tourism and a ban on international flights, it is sure that the marine diving hubs of the country won‘t be able to revive in the coming months amid the coronavirus fears. The tourism department of the South African govt has also directed towards the potential losses that would be caused due to the interruption of tourism activities.

Growing Cancellations: Revenue Loss For Marine Diving Businesses

The consumers who have pre-booked the diving activities and resorts are now seeking refunds as the crisis is getting deeper day by day. The DEMA (Diving Equipments & Marketing Agency) has also released guidelines and updates for the diving businesses impacted by a coronavirus, they are advised to keep in touch with the consumers through various methods. Some of the scuba diving operators have given assurance to consumers to shift the booking dates and some of them have to refund the booking amount due to international travel restrictions. These scenarios are driving deep losses for the marine diving businesses in one or the other way.

Challenges in Ensuring COVID-19 Measures

As per the initial recommendations to tackle the COVID-19 measures, the industry looked towards sanitizing the diving equipment which was being shared by a different group of people. Since there is a challenge in terms of equipment stocks for the diving operators, it was quite tough to follow stringent measures to sanitize all the industrial equipment. This has become a tough path for diving businesses to tackle the COVID-19 Measures. As these businesses mostly run on limited inventory, it would also be challenging to order new equipment as most of the imports are currently on hold.

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Industry Ahead: Possible Scenarios

As the business is currently shut down in most of the regions, the marine diving operators can use this crucial time for maintenance and servicing of their equipment so that they are prepared to begin once the industry gets back to its pace. In South Africa, since there is an uncertainty on future prospects, it is being seen that the business owners are trying to figure out their sustainability plans amidst the situation of crisis. While some will rely on the cash reserves or many will be forced to shut down businesses, it would be crucial to keep an eye on the economic and industrial scenarios as per the situations arising. As per the insights, revenue dips, and low profitability will remain in the ecosystem for a few months after the revival of the economy in the country. In terms of talking about the industrial sphere, the halt of operations in offshore construction sites and logistics disruption is causing a serious impact on the supply chain and revenue.

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