South African travellers may have the opportunity to travel within the African continent should the country fast-track the reopening of its regional borders.
Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane shared the prospect of a regional travel bubble at a panel discussion at the Time Square Sun Studios in Pretoria on Friday morning.
“We are monitoring the risk of the virus spread, and we are satisfied with the current downward trend of new infections. If sustained, we can fast-track the reopening regional borders soon,” she said.
“In this way, through regional coordination with our regional partners, we could create a regional travel bubble. Africa land markets form the bedrock of tourism in South Africa. This region alone accounts for 71 percent of international arrivals. This would give a further boost to the recovery efforts of the sector,” she added.
Kubayi-Ngubane believes that regional travel will offer many benefits.
“The rise in domestic tourism together with regional travel will help us build confidence for global travellers so that when we eventually open all our borders, we will be able to attract travellers to our safe destination,” she said.
She did emphasise the importance of domestic travel on assisting the tourism industry following months of national lockdown due to the coronavirus.
“In the meantime, my message to South Africans is: let’s all get out there and explore our country and get to know the beautiful country that is South Africa. Let us do so safely.
“Let’s protect ourselves, let’s wear masks, let’s wash our hands and let’s continue to practice social distancing,” she said.