CAPE TOWN -
The South African tourism sector could see a change in fortunes with the possible re-opening of local leisure travel in September and international travellers in January.
With over 430 000 jobs at risk, the sector’s income could take a knock of 75 percent during 2020.
“We cannot be despondent. It won’t be easy but this industry will not collapse. We must understand that this crisis creates opportunities and remains positive for the recovery of the sector,” said the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Fish Mahlalela.
“The virus is likely to flatten in September according to health experts. At this point in time, borders open for international travellers are likely to be January 2021.”
ALSO SEE: THE IMPACT ON SA TOURISM THUS FAR
With the country’s infection rate currently at 408 052, Mahlalela added that the spikes in certain provinces prevented local travel.
“What is critical is for us to try at all costs to flatten the curve. We cannot open our borders now because with the numbers rising as they are, no one will want to come to South Africa. We cannot market South Africa in its current state,” said Mahlalela.
“And locally we wouldn’t be able to have a viable tourism industry when the majority of the population wouldn’t be allowed to travel because they come from provinces with high numbers like Gauteng, KZN and the Eastern Cape,” he said.
For LIVE updates on the Coronavirus pandemic, follow us on Twitter: