Cape Town - The South Africa’s tourism industry
says it is hopeful that government will
allow an earlier phased reopening of
international tourism to the country
– as soon as September.
The recovery strategy has been presented to the government and is guided by the government’s risk-adjustment strategy, as well as the preparation that the tourism industry has put in place to ensure safety and stringent health-focused protocols to guide and assist stakeholders within the travel and tourism value-chain - including staff, travellers and guests.
The Tourism Business Council of SA (TBCSA) is expected to brief Parliament this week.
TBCSA chief executive Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said: “South Africa is following a risk-adjusted strategy based on levels of lockdown, not dates. These levels are defined according to relevant epidemiologic facts - parts of the travel and tourism sector have been earmarked for return in levels 2 and 1, depending on their risk profile and the spread of Covid-19 in South Africa. However, we have already seen the inclusion of business travel in level 3 and we are confident that we are in a position to reopen inbound markets in a safe and health-focused manner - at least in September.”
He said from an inbound international tourism perspective, the TBCSA is putting acute emphasis on the importance of tourism to South Africa in the fourth quarter and the value of the forward book.
“The summer high season runs from September to March and represents 60% of the annual business for tourism.
“The nature of international inbound tourism is such that we have long lead times between booking and travel,” Tshivhengwa said.
Inbound tourism employs over 375000 people in South Africa and contributes 8.7% of the country’s exports. It is estimated that more than 40000 jobs have already been lost within the tourism sector. There are also significant knock-on effects on other parts of the economy, as a result of not having international tourism and travel open.
Car rentals are one of the travel services that have been reopened already, however other parts of the market - such as communities and conservation - have been hard hit by the lockdown.