Cape Town - Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has announced that under level 3 lockdown some parts of the tourism sector will open up, providing a much-needed boost for the economy and for tour operators who have been without income since the end of March.
Among the activities which will be permitted from June 1 are hunting, game drives and hiking.
"When the risk-adjusted approach was introduced tourism was placed at alert level 2 and largely at level 1, this is because our sector is largely interactive hence our focus has been on both de-risking the sector and putting health protocols that can give comfort of safety not only to government but to our clients, including domestic tourist," Kubayi-Ngubane said on Saturday.
"As we open up the sector, we are therefore confident that measures have been put in place to protect our employees, suppliers, tourists and all those who are involved with the sector. Where there are weaknesses as the department we have committed to work towards finding solutions together with our partners."
Permitted tourism sector activities:
* Restaurants for delivery or collection of food.
* Hunting and gaming activities
* Car rental services
* Professional services like tourist guides, tour operators, travel agents, tourism information officers are allowed to come back to operations.
* Professional services including training of nature guides and other related services that are able to ensure safe distance.
* Public and private game farms have been opened for self-drive excursions
* Hiking - as long as it is done in compliance with existing guidelines and not in groups
* Accommodation for people performing permitted services
These establishments will no longer require a letter from the minister to operate but are required to ensure that they keep records for inspections by the department.
Restaurants with liquor licences are allowed to sell alcohol only for takeout and delivery, the minister said.
She also announced relief measures for tour guides, most of whom are freelancers or independent contractors and therefore not covered by the Covid-19 relief measures previously announced by the tourism ministry.
Kubayi-Ngubane said her department has set aside R30 million which will provide financial relief over a period of two to three months.
The beneficiaries of this scheme will include:
* Tour guides who are registered with the registrar in terms of the Tourism Act, and
* Tour guides who are not employed by any company, and those that have not formed their own companies which means that they are freelancers or independent contractors without job security.
"As they also prepare themselves for the sector reopening, they too would require to adhere to the necessary protocol for containment of the spread of the virus. In this regard, we shall also be making further provisions to ensure that they also receive personal protective equipment (PPE). We trust that this support, will go some way in providing relief to the tourist guides," the minister said.