Tourism industry react to Ramaphosa's new restrictions ahead of peak travel season

File image: The tourism industry will adhere to Covid-19 regulations to prevent harsher lockdown restrictions.

File image: The tourism industry will adhere to Covid-19 regulations to prevent harsher lockdown restrictions.

Published Dec 15, 2020


During Monday night's address to the nation, President Cyril Ramaphosa shared new restrictions due to the rise of infections throughout the country.

While he did not shut down travel completely, he did make some amendments to the current level 1 restriction.

The travel and tourism sector has since reacted to his new restrictions.

Otto de Vries, the chief executive of the Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA) said the organisation reiterated its commitment to industry’s compliance with stringent health and hygiene protocols.

“We need now the full compliance of the health and hygiene protocols that have been put in place by the sector, no compromise

“It’s up to us to ensure we don’t go back to where we were before and that means proper implementation of the comprehensive protocols that have been devised specifically for our sector and managing the compliance of our customers, guests and travellers. It really is that simple. It’s in our hands," he said.

Flight Centre Travel Group South Africa managing director Andrew Stark said the government had taken a balanced approach to keep the economy going and allowing people to travel while at the same time focusing on saving lives.

"If we think back to where we’ve been before, until now the government has used the blunt instrument of a hard and severe lockdown. As South Africans, we’ve been through tougher times. We currently remain in level 1, and we still have the flexibility to travel and get outside and move. We just have limited choice as as to what we can do in most destinations: be it the curfew, be it alcohol sales, be it restaurants, be it beach accessibility.

"We need to remember that we’ve all got a responsibility to act responsibly and stay in our immediate bubbles. It is a time to celebrate, but if we don’t pull together South Africans, it could be a disastrous Christmas and a disastrous start to 2021. I think all South Africans want a better start to 2021 compared to the late start we experienced in 2020 in February this year," he said.

Stark said people should travel responsibly.

Sales and Marketing director at Fancourt, Peter Dros said he appreciated the government’s consideration of the tourism industry in issuing the new restrictions.

"The fact that travel hasn’t come to a complete standstill allows us to keep our doors open and our staff employed. We are complying fully with health and safety protocols and ensuring that our staff, members and guests are doing the same. We took the decision to postpone some planned events, limited restaurant numbers and are practising social distancing at all times.

“We understand that the heightened restrictions have been put in place to keep people safe – and we appreciate that government has kept the tourism industry and tourism jobs in mind when making these decisions," he said.

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Cyril Ramaphosa