Cape Town - Tourism Minister Mmamoloko
Kubayi-Ngubane’s regulations to
restart the tourism sector have been
heavily criticised by industry bodies.
Kubayi-Ngubane on Friday announced new measures to assist the sector, but there was some confusion on the interpretation of the gazetted tourism regulations that were issued on Friday by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and a press briefing subsequently held by Kubayi-Ngubane.
Lobby group SA Is Travel Ready (SAITR) said there were no laws prohibiting intra-provincial travel, so long as citizens were staying in accommodation venues that were accredited and licensed.
SAITR said: “While the regulations themselves do not allow for inter-provincial domestic leisure travel, as indicated by the Tourism Minister, the gazetted regulations allow travel for leisure (for anything that is allowed under level 3), such as golf, hiking, going to a casino or a restaurant, visiting game reserves. The regulations also allow ‘formally accredited and licensed accommodation’ to operate.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa said there would be a further easing of restrictions on certain economic activities, including “accredited and licensed accommodation” with the exception of home sharing accommodation like AirBnB. Ramaphosa confirmed at the time that “commercially licensed accommodation” would be allowed under level 3 with “strict health protocols in place”.
SAITR said: “Accommodation is in support of this statement to save jobs and livelihoods through enabling more businesses to trade. Tourism regulations issued on Friday do outline specific economic exclusions, including short-term home-sharing, letting, leasing, rental for leisure purposes, and for now, domestic passenger air travel for leisure purposes. There are no exclusions outlined for intra-provincial domestic leisure overnight stays in accredited and licensed accommodation.”
DA provincial spokesperson for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Deidré Baartman said: “While we welcome the further safe reopening of restaurants and other food outlets for seated dining, the market for these services in the context of tourism is still severely reduced. A visitor to our province from Port Elizabeth, less than a two-hour flight away, cannot cross the border and enjoy the offerings of Western Cape wine farms, tourist sites, hotels, or other revenue-generating aspects of the province's economy. All of these attractions represent thousands of jobs.”