Hotels, restaurants and other facilities must ensure that their hygiene standards are excellent. Picture: Reuters
Hotels, restaurants and other facilities must ensure that their hygiene standards are excellent. Picture: Reuters

Coronavirus: 8 things the SA tourism industry can do

By Travel reporter Time of article published Mar 16, 2020

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The Tourism Business Council South Africa (TBCSA) has commended the president of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa and his cabinet for taking the necessary steps to combat the coronavirus. 

CEO of TBCSA Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said that despite the negative impact this would have on the industry, he encourages the tourism industry to remain resilient and do its part. 

“President Cyril Ramaphosa said 'If we act together, if we act now, and if we act decisively, we will overcome it, and I could not agree with him more.'

"We send our prayers to those who have been affected by the virus, and for their sake, we must work together as an industry and as a country to fight the further spread of the virus”, said Tshivhengwa.

He said a meeting will take place with key industry players to discuss post-coronavirus interventions, go-to-market strategies to promote the country and to ensure the overall sustainability of the tourism industry in South Africa. 

He shares eight things the South African tourism industry can do:

  • Educate staff and guests on the basic nature of the virus and on hand washing, and coughing/ sneezing etiquette.
  • Be alert of anyone with symptoms and encourage and assist them to contact the hotline on 0800 029 999 or a healthcare professional immediately.
  • The Department of Health has also set up a WhatsApp number to communicate updates and to share critical, real-time information. The number is 060 012 3456.
  • Be vigilant and make sure staff are informed. If there are high numbers of international guests, especially from regions or countries affected by the outbreak, it is vital to provide guests with information on what they could do if they experience symptoms. 
  • Ensure that the correct sources are used for information, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the National Department of Health websites.
  • Hotels, restaurants and other facilities must ensure that their hygiene standards are excellent. All crockery, cutlery, glassware, sheets and towels that have been in contact with guests must be properly cleaned. This is essential if the facility caters to foreigners and people who travel internationally regularly, particularly to and from affected areas.
  • Staff dealing with the clearing, changing and washing of items that come into bodily contact with visitors must follow the handwashing protocol religiously and avoid touching their face, mouth, and nose.
  • Follow agreed protocols (SATSA) on cancellation waivers for Chinese travellers who could not travel due to their countries’ restrictions.

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