At the beginning of 2020, the Corona Virus was, in my mind, just something happening overseas and mainly in China. The statistics all seemed a bit far fetched and frankly something that was happening far away and not happening to us in South Africa. Let’s have a look at the current state of hospitality recruitment in South Africa.

By the end of February, business started to seriously slow down with client after client putting hospitality recruitment on hold “for now”. Very quickly thereafter it became “indefinitely”. By the 27th March, the whole of South Africa was on stringent lockdown.

So in essence, what this meant overnight for out hospitality recruitment agency is that all South African recruitment in hospitality and tourism as will as international hospitality recruitment came to a dramatic standstill.

I would like to give some examples here of our own personal experiences:

We had just signed up an amazing new client, an international hotel company with hotels throughout the Africa and Middle East regions. Becoming a preferred supplier of theirs meant a huge amount of exciting international recruitment vacancies. All of this was immediately put hold in March
We had a candidate who had been offered a General Manager position at an up and coming restaurant group due to open several upmarket restaurant outlets in Cape Town, Johannesburg and UAE. The offer has been put on hold indefinitely as restaurants have had to close down due to the pandemic. Fortunately, in this particular case the restaurant group’s funds are international, and given the rapidly falling Rand exchange rate, they will be re-opening their doors as soon as the worst of the pandemic is over. South African owned restaurants and pubs, especially those that are small and individually owned, may unfortunately not be as lucky.
We were in the process of recruiting a Hotel General Manager for a hotel group in Zimbabwe. At the time, Zimbabwe had not recorded any Covid-19 cases whilst South Africa had. Recruitment put on hold as Zimbabwe was discouraging South Africans to enter Zimbabwe. This has now of course changed as Zimbabwe has started recording its first cases
A candidate who was about to fly to Kuwait for a job we had placed there had to cancel all travel plans until further notice
These are just some of our stories.

At time of writing, South Africa’s Co-vid stats are:


Positive Cases Identified



The impact of Covid-19 on the global tourism and hospitality sectors and suppliers and partners, including companies such as hospitality recruitment agencies, has been profound.

It is perhaps too soon to guestimate the full impact of the COVID-19 on international hospitality recruitment however, as of today, UNWTO estimates that in 2020 global international tourist arrivals could decline between 20-30%, down from an estimated growth of 3% to 4% forecast in January 2020. International tourism has ground to a breath taking (excuse the pun) halt.

Despite all of these daunting stats, there is also talk of 100% bounce back in the hospitality and tourism industries in 2021. This does give us some hope. So the theory is that global travellers whether they be business or leisure travel who have postponed their trips, will all wish to travel again as soon as the virus is under control. All of the hospitality recruitment that has been put on hold will suddenly boom as businesses gear up again. Hospitality Jobs Africa in the spirit of jump starting our economy again will be offering our hospitality recruiter clients large discounts on our usual terms and conditions… so watch this space!

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