President Cyril Ramaphosa's further easing of Covid-19 regulations was welcomed by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) as a positive step toward the sector's recovery to pre-pandemic status.
The tourism industry has been actively lobbying for a suspension of the pre-departure PCR Covid-19 test requirement for foreign visitors entering South Africa.
The announcement of modifications to international visitor travel rules goes a long way toward calming the ailing tourism industry.
Fully vaccinated international visitors to South Africa will no longer be required to submit a negative PCR test upon entrance as of Wednesday, March 23, 2022.
Those who have not been vaccinated must still submit a PCR test that is no more than 72 hours old.
South Africa was a pioneer in holding high-profile exhibitions and conferences prior to the Covid-19 epidemic, owing to the country's infrastructure and well-known city sites.
The tourism industry is ready to reclaim this position, and the government's decision to allow meetings, conferences, and exhibitions (Mice events) to operate at a higher capacity per site will help.
Sports tourism limitations will be lifted, which will be embraced by the industry, too. This will ensure that stadiums are fully operational and that much-needed money from travel and hospitality is generated.
“We are delighted by these changes. The opening of sports and other outdoor events will go a long way towards boosting tourism. People can once again travel around the country to support their favourite sports teams and attend outdoor entertainment events,” said TBCSA CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa.
The tourism industry will continue to collaborate with the government to ensure that front line employees get vaccinated in order to successfully achieve high vaccination rates.
The tourism sector will also continue to follow the Department of Health's proposed regulations to replace the State of Disaster after April 16, as these will have an impact on the sector's activities.