File Picture: Photographer: Armand Hough
File Picture: Photographer: Armand Hough

SANparks anticipates visitor cancellations due to fears of new Covid-19 variant

By Lehlohonolo Mashigo Time of article published Nov 29, 2021

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Johannesburg - AMID the uncertainty surrounding the new Covid-19 variant that was recently discovered in southern Africa, SANparks is preparing for international cancellations as numerous governments worldwide announce travel restrictions in and out of South Africa.

SANparks manager for Tourism Development and Marketing, Hapiloe Sello, said that these unfortunate developments called for a proactive approach to minimise the adverse impacts on clients.

"We have decided that booked clients from the countries that have introduced travel bans to South Africa will not be charged fees or penalties for amendments and postponements until they are certain about their travel plans, and will only consider cancellations and refunds as a last resort," she said.

Sello said they would only consider cancellations due to reasons other than travel bans, and bookings would continue to be subject to the standard cancellation terms and conditions.

"We want to assure our visitors, particularly local travellers, that our national parks remain open and quite likely among the safest destinations to travel to," added Sello.

The pandemic also caused the forced postponement of their flagship National Parks Week.

SANParks spokesperson Rey Thakhuli said they were working hard to follow the Covid-19 protocols for the week in.

“Last year we also postponed it from September to November, we also applied what we called a quota system limiting the number of people coming into the parks for National Park Week.” he said.

On November 26 SANparks was able to offer free access to its parks, including the Kruger National Park, Addo Elephant, Augrabies, Agulhas, Table Mountain and the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park.

SANParks acting chief executive Dumisani Dlamini said at the time that the week-long campaign encouraged citizens through the #LiveYourWild campaign to visit a national park for free and be part of a worldwide campaign.

“SANParks is striving to provide all South Africans with equal opportunities, and in line with our vision of a ‘world-class system of sustainable national parks reconnecting and inspiring society’, we want to inspire people to take pride in and enjoy their national parks while spending time in nature,” Dlamini said.

The Star

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