What level 3 lockdown means for the travel sector
President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed that he is considering proposals made by the tourism industry regarding the resumption of business during level 3 lockdown. Until the South African government shares new developments, the industry will remain closed for business when the country commences with level 3 lockdown on June 1.
Ramaphosa acknowledged that the tourism industry was facing challenges due to Covid-19. He said in his keynote address to South Africa on Sunday night: "We have held discussions with the tourism, hotel and restaurant industry regarding the challenges and hardships these sectors are experiencing.
"They have made several proposals, regarding the measures they intend to put in place when their sectors are opened. We are giving consideration to the proposals."
During a guest appearance on Cape Talk's Weekend Breakfast with Africa Melane over the weekend, Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane revealed that she had met with Ramphosa last week.
She said that her department had discussed with Ramphosa its Covid-19 protocols for the tourism sector as well as its frustrations, challenges, and job losses.
Ramaphosa also said that accommodation and domestic air travel, except for business travel, will be phased in on dates to be announced. However, most airlines told IOL Travel that they have no intention to fly should limited domestic flights be permitted.
FlySafair’s chief marketing officer Kirby Gordon told IOL Travel last week that it would not make financial sense to operate with limited travellers. He said no plans were in place for level 3 flying at this stage.
“From what we can gather from the regulation is that the restrictions on flying in level 3 are likely to be quite heavy, which means that it’s unlikely that they’ll facilitate a viable demand. We are still awaiting clarity on specifics from the state, but to the best of our current understanding, viable flying will be possible at level 2 at the earliest,” he said at the time.
Comair, which operates kulula.com and British Airways flights, will also not fly during level 3. The company, which is under business rescue, will only operate scheduled services by November.