What the vaccine roll-out means for the South African tourism sector
With the Western Cape commencing its Covid-19 vaccine roll-out on Wednesday, February 17, travel experts share what it means for South Africans and the tourism sector.
South Africa received its first delivery of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine at OR Tambo International Airport in Gauteng late on Tuesday.
The experts weigh in
Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy said the vaccine roll-out "marks a milestone in our road towards recovery".
"As Cape Town Tourism, we see this inoculation as a sign of a better, and hopefully a brighter future for us in South Africa.
“Let's take this moment to reflect on a year that has been one of the worst for all of us across the tourism sector.
“We look towards a future where the Covid-19 vaccination will bring back a lot of travel confidence of our tourists from all over the world.
"As Cape Town Tourism, we remain encouraged and will continue to work hard in not only making sure that we grow demand, but also to support our members and the industry through a very difficult time," he said.
Jennifer Morris, the owner of Travel Savvy, believes the current Covid-19 situation won't change overnight. She called the situation for South African travellers "tricky" at the moment.
"Most destinations have banned South Africans entry into their countries because of the new SA Covid-19 variant.
“Simultaneously, while our borders are open, many other countries will not allow their citizens to travel to South Africa because of the new strain of the virus.
“For these situations to be resolved, the vaccine roll-out across the globe will need to be quite advanced before we can expect to see restrictions lifted.
"There will need to be a substantial decrease in the infection rate in South Africa, and the citizens of other countries will need to see significant decreases in their infection numbers before the vaccines will be deemed to be effective, and restrictions begin to lift.
"For the moment, this means very few travel opportunities for South Africans beyond our own borders, and more months of uncertainty and hardship for the travel industry," she explained.