The Covid-19 pandemic has grounded air travel in South Africa and many other countries, hurting tourism. File photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA )
The Covid-19 pandemic has grounded air travel in South Africa and many other countries, hurting tourism. File photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA )

LISTEN: Tourism minister, Ramaphosa discuss opening sector on level 3

By Travel Reporter Time of article published May 23, 2020

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While making a guest appearance on Cape Talk's Weekend Breakfast with Africa Melane, Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane revealed that she had met with President Cyril Ramphosa this week.

Although Kubayi-Ngubane did not go into detail what was discussed, she did, however, say that it was a fruitful meeting. 

She said that her department had discussed with Ramphosa Covid-19 protocols for the tourism sector and allow ways to put it back into operation. The sector also presented to the president what their frustrations are, what the challenges are, and jobs that are about to be lost in the tourism sector.

Kubayi-Ngubane noted that even big tourism companies are now not able to provide support to SMEs. The sector also proposed what would be needed to be done, including accommodation, the need for travelling, inter-provincial movement and restaurant operations.

Listen to the interview here:

As far as job losses are concerned, she said that they estimated if tourist operators are not up and running by September, they would have lost between 500 000 and 600 000 jobs. "It's quite frightening. That's why our concern is to say 'let's see what we can do together to circumvent that'", she added.

When asked if the sector would open in level 3, Kubayi-Ngubane said in the coming weeks, she would be sharing the way forward. "One of the concerns that was raised in the meeting is if the economy opens too much faster, there's an issue of transport. 

"If all sectors come into full operation, it means the trains will go back to being packed, the buses will be packed. Social distancing will be an impossibility.... These were some of our concerns in allowing all sectors back into operation fully," answered Kubayi-Ngubane.

She also mentioned that as the tourism sector, it is a people's sector that relies on people's interaction. 

For those who are applying for government relief, Kubayi-Ngubane reminded listeners that her department would need proof of income, business registration details and be tax compliant.

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